When I tell people I'm polyamorous, one of the responses I sometimes get is: "How can two men share one woman?" I don't much like the way that sounds, like I'm a Flexcar or the TV remote. Max and Monk don't share me—I share myself with both of them. (Not at the same time, however. We're not a triad.) But let me have them tell you about it themselves.
How would you describe your relationship with me?
Max: Long-term committed partner. Primary. My true love. The person with whom I make long-term plans—retirement, joint property, travel, visiting relatives.
Monk: I'm your secondary partner, which in our case means we don't live together and we only see each other a few times a week. However, our relationship has evolved beyond just dating into a deep, long-term thing.
What have you learned about how to cope with jealousy since being in a relationship with me?
Max: I had a secondary partner before you did, so I got to watch you being supportive and positive while that was happening. I really couldn't sustain any jealousy when I had such a good role model to emulate.
Monk: I'm not going replace Max as your primary partner, and I'm not going to try to. When I've felt jealous of him, I jokingly have to remind myself, "Max outranks me on this one..." and step back from the matter.
What advice about jealousy would you offer someone who's beginning a poly-relationship?
Monk: Like it or not, when you date someone, you also have a relationship with their partner(s) as well. The question is, what kind of relationship? I like and respect Max, which has made things much easier. I like that we don't view each other as adversaries, or as someone that we must put up with for the sake of domestic tranquility. Treat your partner's other partners like you'd want to be treated if the roles were reversed.
Max: Expect bumps in the road. The idealized "we never have trouble" image people present probably isn't real. What's important is how you deal with the problems, not whether you have any. If you need to offer reassurance to a jealous partner, make it tangible, not just verbal, like extra time or more emphasis on communication. Know who you are and what you want, and be prepared to share that with your partners.
What do you think is the biggest mistake someone can make in dealing with jealousy?
Monk: Jealousy can flare up suddenly and overwhelm you in a moment, and folks tend to make rash decisions in that moment. It's okay to feel jealousy, but not okay to act out in the throes of it. Remind yourself, "This too shall pass." Take a breather and step away from the situation. Give yourself time to regain clarity as to what's really the issue and what's just emotional fireworks.
Max: It's a mistake to believe that love is a zero-sum game. It's not—there's plenty of love to go around. It's not win/lose. Of course, there's only so much time to go around. Other mistakes: being unwilling to revise your stance in the face of new information or more thought. Or letting go of what's important to you to satisfy your partner or to assuage their feelings of jealousy or insecurity. That's a mistake, too.
Do you think it's harder for two men to have a common partner than, say, two women or a man and a woman?
Max: No, I don't think it's true at all. I've had jealousy crop up in my relationships with women and men. Having said that, the more different the relationships are, the less threatening they seem to be, so partners of different genders might be less scary. Still, there's a lot of variability and I'd be reluctant to generalize.
Monk: Tough call. In the past, I would have said that yes, two men, being more territorial and possessive than women, would not share a partner's attention as well as two women might. Now? I don't feel like that's the case. The natures of the relationships are different, but there are unique and "reserved only for me" aspects to each of them.
BASEBALL CAP NIGHT AT RAIN CITY JACKS
WOMEN-ONLY NIGHT AT THE WET SPOT
Socialize, flirt, and do BDSM with the girls. All orientations welcome. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, building E, 270-9746 or firstname.lastname@example.org, 9 pm–3 am, $15, members only, female ID required.
Calling all eproctophiliacs! Get your fart on at the second annual Haller Lake Community Chili Cook-Off, with all-you-can-eat chili samples, a pie-eating contest, and live music. Haller Lake Community Club, 12579 Densmore Ave N, noon–4 pm, $5.
Want to get in touch with your inner canine? Check this workshop for humans who like to role-play being dogs. Puppies and owners of all genders/orientations welcome. Cuff Complex, 2–4 pm, by donation. Proceeds benefit Dandelion Dog Rescue.
POLYAMORY 101: NEGOTIATING RELATIONSHIPS
An open and honest discussion about polyamory in all its forms, with Allena Gabosch, executive director of Seattle's Sex-Positive Community Center. Get poly tips and learn Allena's 20 "Relationship Agreements." Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, $30.
SUNDAY 7/9 & MONDAY 7/10
"DO YOU TAKE IT IN..."
The Wet Spots are bringing their sexy songs, including "Do You Take It In..." to—where else?—the Wet Spot, for two nights only. Opening act: burlesque dancers the Von Foxies. The Wet Spot, 270-9746, doors at 6:30, show at 7 pm, $16 adv at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5579, $20 at the door.