As I approach the three-year anniversary of my relationship with Monk, and the eight-year anniversary of my relationship with Max, I'm quite happy about how smoothly my poly love life is functioning. After 15 years of practice, it's nice to be getting it (mostly) right. But I don't take all the credit—that has to go to the people I'm doing poly with. There's a key to successfully conducting multiple love relationships: You all have to root for each other.
It seems so obvious when I say it, yet I know some people think different partners must be competitive with each other, or at least that it's an every-man-for-himself situation. But in my poly universe, Monk really wants my relationship with Max to be happy and good. Max's other partner Puck smiles when she sees Max and I being all kissy-face with each other. And I regularly remark to Monk—and everyone else—how awesome his wife Tammy is, and how glad I am he has her. And we don't just say the words—we all make sure we're acting in ways that support our lovers' lovers.
That may sound unbelievably altruistic to you, but there's some of what I call "enlightened self-interest" on everyone's part. You see, there's a whole list of things that I get from my relationship with Max that I don't get from Monk. Monk knows that, and he doesn't want Max's job. The fact that I'm getting certain needs met by Max is part of what allows my relationship with Monk to flourish. Subtract Max from the equation, and a well-balanced system gets unstable.
Does that mean that in an alternate universe I couldn't have a primary relationship with Monk? Not necessarily. If, God forbid, Tammy and Max died tomorrow, Monk and I could eventually shift into a relationship where we lived together, mingled finances, gave each other powers of attorney—sexy things like that. But legal logistics aside, I think that would entail a rocky period in which we'd have to reevaluate what we had to give, and what we could expect, from each other. I suspect there'd be a lot of, "But Max always..." or "But Tammy never..." And while Monk and I love each other, I have seen other loving poly relationships run aground on transitions like this. Our relationship might not survive.
Plus, when everybody's happy, there's more good energy for everyone. It's true that when you're struggling in one relationship, your other partners can be a place to get support. But Monk is my lover, not my nurse, and it would leave me little energy for my time with him if my relationship with Max was in permanent crisis.
But it's not all pragmatic. There's a poly-speak word, compersion, which means taking pleasure in your loved one's happiness with someone else; it's the opposite of jealousy. It means I love both Max and Monk, and want them to have anything in the world they need to be happy—including other people to love.
THURSDAY 4/19RAIN CITY JACKS
Sometimes, late at night, don't you like to pretend that you're some big-shot corporate executive who's been polluting the water supplies of small towns with hexavalent chromium? And that Erin Brockovich slips in through your unlocked door, comes into your room, and sues your ass until it's flushed and warm? Anyway, she's the keynote speaker at this luncheon. Everett Events Center, 200 Hewitt Ave, Everett, 461-4450, noon, $100 donation requested.
FRIDAY 4/20MEN-ONLY NIGHT AT THE WET SPOT
Socialize, flirt, and do BDSM with the boys. All orientations welcome. Wet Spot, 1630 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746, email@example.com, 10 pm—3 am, $15, members only, male ID required.EROS EVENTS: FISTING AND FEMALE EJACULATION
An intimate demonstration/workshop by a lovely threesome, followed by a swing party. Single men must request to be added to the waiting list; couples and single women can just show up. Redmond Ranch, 425-868-8169, www.redmond-ranch.com, 7 pm, new people must arrive by 8 pm, $50 for couples/$25 for single women.
SUNDAY 4/22MALE-DOMINANT/FEMALE-SUBMISSIVE PARTY
A play-party for couples or groups in the male-dominant/female-submissive mode. Fetish or evening attire is encouraged but not required. This is not a singles event: Please bring a date. Wet Spot, 1630 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746, firstname.lastname@example.org, 6 pm—midnight, $10, members only.
TUESDAY 4/24SEX-TECH INFO NIGHT
Join host Regina Lynn, the weekly Sex Drive columnist at wired.com and author of The Sexual Revolution 2.0, for a discussion of high-tech sexual satisfaction, including a customizable oral-sex simulator, the latest in sexy iPod accessories, and what happens when aerospace engineers shift their attention from planes to pleasure. Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, free.