Polyamory Geometry – Metamours

At least in theory, monogamy is simple.  You have one partner, you are sexually, and perhaps intimately, exclusive with them.  You come up with agreements as to what that means, you defer to this relationship if any other interests should come along.  And you are good to go.

poly_heart

How many have the key to your heart?

Polyamory in contrast is complex.  There are multiple partners with different desires, dreams and ideas.  There need to be agreements about how new partners get added.  You will need to have safe sex discussions.  There are often crowded schedules to be coordinated.   There is also embracing the inherent inequities in poly.  There are hierarchies or configurations or interrelations which need to be negotiated.

piggy back kissing

Fundamentally more complicated

Some of the most poorly charted territories (because they are all quite different from each other) are relationships between metamours (partners of partners).  These are often people who have not chosen directly to be involved, perhaps a strange old friend of your new friend.  But these people can potentially have a significant impact on your life.  If a metamour goes into crisis, you can expect your lover to support them, potentially trashing the carefully laid plans you have.  If a metamour moves to Italy, your lover might want to visit them there, taking them far from you.  If a metamour wins the Nobel prize, your personal life could become much more public than you were thinking it was going to be.

husbands-girlfriend There are of course positive metamour effects as well.  If your partner has selected well (and they did choose you after all) it is possible a metamour can support you when your partner is being hard to understand or acting like a jerk.  If you are lucky, a clever metamour can call your partner out when they are being ill behaved towards you.  And if you are really lucky, metamours can become important intimates in your life.  I first met Shal as my lover’s lover and he has become one of my closest friends, long after the romance that brought us together has faded away.

kitchen table polyThis post was inspired by the above comic, which nicely defines two terms.  Especially for people who are new to polyamory or have partners at significant distance there is often the practice of “parallel poly”, where metamours have very little interaction with each other and may not even have met.

But what most experienced poly people are looking for is what Tikva calls “kitchen table poly.”  The idea that even if you don’t have a direct romantic relationship with your partner’s partner, they are still important to them and thus like family to you.

And these generalizations are exactly that.  You could easily have an experienced pair of metamours who don’t spend time together and operate “in parallel”.  Or you could have a couple or more folks who share lovers who are quick to find each other and become friends or even romantic partners.  One long time lover of mines partner practices HONCing – the Happiness Of Not Connecting.  We have nothing to do with each other and when we are in the same town we avoid each other.

i heart my metamour

bumper sticker available at http://Www.cafepress.com/polyandmore

Rita Mae Brown said “An army of lovers can not fail.” And while i don’t like military metaphors generally, i get the sentiment here.  If you want to get past your jealousy, one powerful way to do it is to hang out with ruffled hair and a fuzzy bathrobe at the breakfast table with someone who deeply agrees with you about how wonderful your lover is.

For more poly comics go to Kimchicuddles.com

Other posts on polyamory and honest seduction:

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

6 responses to “Polyamory Geometry – Metamours”

  1. Kathy says :

    I love this!

  2. Smit Kit says :

    I loved this article so much. It was a lovely piece. I also wanted to say thank you for including my “I ♡ my metamour” bumper sticker. I did want to link back to the source in case anyone wants to check out it or more metamour items for sale at my shop. http://Www.cafepress.com/polyandmore

  3. dbmamaz says :

    also good for those of us who’ve been mostly out of the poly scene for decades – these terms did not exist back in the 80s, i’m pretty sure.

    I was at an event once which turned out to be swingers event, tho the guy I was traveling with and I had not realized it. The man who hosted us said they called people like us “utopian non-monogamists” or something like that. We hated being grouped with swingers, though. our group held up ‘group marriage’ as the ideal, and did use the term polyamory.

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