The time has come to take my new love through a passage that all polyamorous people go through eventually. It’s similar to the talk monogamous girlfriends have with their boyfriends about ex girlfriends. With the poly, we don’t particularly care if someone is an ex so long as things ended amicably. In fact, an ex who was a good partner is the safest addition to the family. The former partner knows them, knows what to expect, and hopefully won’t make the same mistakes that lost them again. The problem is people who one does not know well enough and are covered with red flags.
When one is polyamorous, one’s network goes beyond those who one is directly shagging. There are those who are shagging people you are shagging, and those among them you may also shag someday. When you’re dating someone poly, you aren’t just dating them but whoever they’re dating, even if you don’t or won’t shag them. You’re a tribe.
We had a situation recently, where a guy I was thinking of messing around with took a liking to a friend of mine. Since there was more chemistry there, I gave her first crack. He is religious, but he answered the right questions correctly. No hint of xenophobia, but just questioning whether or not he wants to stay with the community and improve that system from within or if he wants to strike out into the world identified as a secular person, just very into Jewish mysticism.
Since he’s waffling and putting my sister through confusion, there’s no way I’m touching that. I see what he is doing to her, maybe of no fault of his own since it’s okay to have doubts about things and to think before making decisions based on emotions that might change, but still. Dating orthodox people, even very personally liberated ones, there is always this competition with the community. My experiences have taught me not to overestimate my value in comparison.
Diva has also seen a few religious guys. It always ends up the same. Any fantasies or hopes we entertained of rescuing them were always dashed. Some of them are such sweet people that they make you think that you can save them or coax them out into the world. We’ve all seen and heard of people who’ve left the religious community. Thing is, those who left in Israel did so on their own. If someone leaves on their own and then starts a relationship, that can go well. Nobody I’ve ever heard of is inspired by their relationship to leave the community or be a “deviant” within it and do whatever they need to do regardless, in Israel. It happens in the U.S. but not here.
So now it’s the new guy’s turn to learn what Diva has learned as a feminine Gay man, Shai learned in his first marriage, and I learned from being the exotic tourist destination.
…but sooner or later, all newbies have to be introduced to the concept of the circle of trust: that one can’t just bring any and everyone into their tribe. I am technically bisexual, but the reason I can’t date most women here is that too many of them have too many issues with men. I can’t date anyone who expects me to be totally monogamous. I can’t just run around screwing everybody I want to because some types of personalities get ideas that would bring drama. I can’t date homophobes. I can’t date xenophobes.
Bonus, being the king of an ile, I have to make sure anyone I date respects my rank and duties. Sometimes I will need to be mentor, advisor, or enforcer. I can’t date anyone who constantly does my head in and distracts me from my work either.
I do not belong only to myself.
Once someone is with me, they no longer only belong to themselves either. Whoever they bring into the circle has to be safe to it. They have to be okay with non Jews, with same sex relationships, with BDSM, with Paganism, and truly with polyamory.
Awhile back, one of the young men in a young circle who has mostly known each other since high school came to me with an issue. One of the young ladies in his tribe had started seeing someone who he didn’t like. The guy seemed cool with the situation, but he sensed there was some discomfort because he started monopolizing her time, energy, and attention. My young friend thought that for the first time in his life, he was experiencing jealousy because he reflected the guy’s discomfort and it grew into a dislike.
I told him, and it was true, that this isn’t jealousy. This is protectiveness. Men are supposed to feel protective of the people they are shagging. They’re supposed to be a bit territorial. Would someone accuse a woman of being jealous or possessive if she felt uncomfortable around someone else coming along, befriending a child they babysit regularly, and always trying to separate the child from the group? Even if they didn’t have any other particularly nasty intentions, the fact of wanting to monopolize a person who comes from a group situation is a bit disturbing in itself. Usually though, there is some nasty intention.
This is not to say that monogamists are wrong, just that they have millions of others around who believe as they do and want the same thing they do. That someone tries to pluck someone out of a polyamorous grouping with the intention of making them exclusive is just…weird. It happens though. It happens because polyamorous people tend to be a certain kind of interesting.
Poly people are for the most part, capable of loving multiple people deeply, in a nurturing, protective, invested way. It’s nothing new, and has a long history from harems to chivalry to villages to military life. Between the lines, I’ll bet St. Nicholas was poly. He saved many young ladies from prostitution and no doubt, some decided to keep their donated dowry and bless the man who saved them in return.
A certain kind of benevolence that reaches out and makes good where it can needs to be there. This is not to say that polyamorous people are less selfish. They just tend to be less sexually self centered, but same as the monogamous, only if they are given some boundaries.
Though the shagging someone else is not the threat that needs protecting from in a poly situation, there is the threat that someone would attempt to deprive the others in the group of someone’s attention, or that they would bring in needless drama and pain. I don’t care if someone has sex with him. I care if someone harms him. I care if someone plans to put him in a cage to starve him. I care if someone wants to exploit him or damage him. I care if someone might use their connection with him to exploit or damage anyone else close to us.
…and if he is going to be a relatively permanent presence, I care if he has kids with someone else and one or more of those kids is a witch, but I’m not allowed to teach them any witchcraft no matter what suffering happens to them because of a lack of knowledge. If they see things when they are alone at night, and I can’t teach them how to make monster spray and protective symbols. If there is a bad person around who nobody will speak against, and I am not allowed to teach them unmasking or how to get them caught. If they are getting bullied in school and I am not allowed to teach them how to undo the bullies…
If I’m gaining a sister, that’s a good thing. If I’m gaining a poser or not even a poser but a toxic headache with unlivable conditions, this is not a good thing. So we’re going to have the talk about who is safe and who is not safe, and what kind of questions to ask before anyone gets attached.
Wish me luck.