And Here I Thought My Life Was Complicated

by Dr Les Kertay on October 19, 2014

IMG_0985“And here I thought my life was complicated.”

So pronounced one of my colleagues, in town for a business meeting, when we went to dinner.

You know that moment when you’re being seated at a restaurant for dinner, and you have to decide who is going to sit where? Who will have the side of the booth facing the windows, and who will face the door? Or maybe you’ll be bold and both sit on the same side so you can have a more intimate, romantic meal?

Well, we had such a moment, involving a bit of rearranging so that, for this meal I would be between Maddie and Flaun, across from my two colleagues. The momentary awkwardness was a decide-on-the-fly choice about who would sit in the middle. It had, as it usually does, all the sweet, klutzy charm of any such moment, except that it was about arranging three people instead of two.

We do that a lot. Like when the three of us are walking down the street holding hands, or sitting together on a bench, or in a waiting room.

Wait. Wha??

Yep, as of July I live in a triad rather than a couple.

divider1Wait. Wha???

So you mean you’re having an affair?? No. What we are having is the antithesis of an affair. Affairs are common, and actually easier, including for the people around those having it. Affairs thrive on secrecy, so they are easier for society to ignore. By contrast, polyamorous relationships – who knew there was a name for it? – thrive only in open, nearly constant communication. It’s radical mutual consent or nothing.

Oh, ok, so you’ve decided to be in an “open relationship,” so you’re still together but you can also date other people. That’s a little weird I guess, but I suppose if you want to do that … Nope. Open relationships, where there is a primary couple who also see other people from time to time, perhaps casually and perhaps more seriously, are one form of polyamory – what I’ve heard one colleague call a “monogamish” relationship – but that’s not it either.

So you’re swinging?? You’re getting some two-on-one action on the weekends! <attempted fist bump> No, not that either. Not transient, not casual. Not a problem, just not what we’re doing.

But I thought you were wildly in love with and happily married to Maddie. I was. I am. I will be. I also happen to be in love with Flaun, and she and Maddie are in love. We are unusual even in polyamorous circles, being a circle rather than a “V.” And we plan to celebrate our union, as three.

So maybe I better explain.

divider1

Maddie and I have been happily – even blissfully – married for going on 18 years. We’ve been through a lot together, including disruptions and moving and financial struggles and losing our baby Gabriel. Through those years we’ve constantly learned more about each other, constantly worked on our passion for one another and, frankly, we have an awesome life.

One of the things I’ve always known about Maddie is that she’s bisexual, by which I mean simply that she is attracted to qualities in people, and gender doesn’t matter much in terms of her sexual attraction. We’d always been monogamous with one another, and her bisexuality was in the background, but it was never a secret.

What was a surprise is that both Maddie and I, through very unexpected and unlikely circumstances, fell in love with the same woman. It turns out that, in retrospect, Maddie fell in love with her almost a year before I met Flaun, but none of us really knew – not Flaun, not me, not even Maddie knew exactly. Certainly no one expected anything to happen between us, no one even wanted it; but when I met Flaun and it felt like lightning hit me for the 2nd time in my life, we all started talking, and the impossible became merely improbable and then, eventually and through some hard decisions and conversations, became just what is.

We made a decision to bring our homes and our families together, and against the odds yet again, here we are. We don’t hide, in our personal life. We kiss each other in public, we hold hands, we have dates. Maddie and Flaun share the shop, and a passion for quilting and fabric art, they help me with my work, and we all share our lives.

It’s just like being a couple. Only completely different.

divider1

Why write about it so publicly? Partly because that’s just who I am and how I’ve always lived. Partly in the hope that by being open I can make the world an easier and better place for everyone who is somehow “different.” And partly to get ahead of the presumptions that I’ve seen others make who “figure out” what they are “sure” is happening.

Like that there must be something “missing” in our lives that we “think” this will fill.
Or that Maddie and Flaun are having a fling and poor Les is left out in the cold.
Or maybe it’s Maddie who’s being dragged into something so that I can be lecherous.
Or maybe that Flaun is trying to steal me away, or steal Maddie away.

The list goes on. I see it in people’s eyes, read it in their polite but pointed notes.

So I just wanted to say, out loud where you can read it, this simple yet complex truth. Maddie and I are in love, and Maddie and Flaun are in love, and Flaun and I are in love. We share equally in our lives, emotionally and socially and sexually and to the extent that a law built for twos can allow three to share, legally.

divider1

If the curiosity that reigns around us is any indication, we’re not the only ones who’ve thought about a broader view of marriage. It brings up thoughts about power, and jealousy, and all the things you’d expect. Only cubed. So maybe you’ll agree with me that it’s worth writing about.

It’s complicated, yes. And really, really simple.

If you want to know more of the story, ask. You should know, though, that if you ask I’m very likely to answer.

If you want to read Maddie’s story, check it out here.

Dr. Les Kertay, Awakened Moments

 

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