Today, my husband and I have been married twenty years.
Now, unlike a lot of married couples, we never were monogamous. It’s part of the reason why I choke when people ask how to transition from a monogamous relationship to a poly one. Buggered if I know a thing about it.
So, things should have been wonderful, smooth sailing for we, the couple who had everything on board and saw eye to eye about such things, right?
Everyone that knows us can stop laughing hysterically now.
The reality is that we were kids when we married – just twenty and twenty-one years old. We spent the next two decades trying to work out a lot of really serious stuff. We misunderstood how each other thought, where certain values came from, what was the motivation for each others’ incredibly irritating behaviors.
This is not to paint a picture of a bad marriage, though. Those things did happen. And like in many relationships, it nearly drove us to dissolve the partnership.
Except for a big honking basic – and one that caused us not to want to dissolve it at all. Love? Naw. Love’s great and yes, I love The Prince a great deal. But no, love wasn’t it.
We’re actually really good partners.
Once we got over some rather childish communication issues, we got back to what got us together in the first place. It took longer than grownups should have taken to learn to be open with each other, to say no when we didn’t want to do something, and to realize that given that we’re the damnedest mixture of traditional and outré, that we were going to have to do a lot of Relationship Rulebook Writing on our own.
Strange as it may seem, even though we were poly, we still had a hard time chucking a lot of the joined at the hip stuff a lot of married couples think they have to have to be a good marriage. Our marriage is a lot more about two independent people choosing to be together than social constructs.
And there’s where poly marriages can be difficult. There’s no real roadmap. We have certain ideas about what marriages and relationships should look like. Once you step off that map, you have a considerably less clear idea about what to look for when checking on the health of a relationship.
Here’s my personal checklist for my own life these days:
- Are we telling each other the truth?
This really should be a no-brainer for any relationship. What we’ve found interesting between ourselves is that both of us have a terrible habit of wanting to be kind and accommodating, only to find we’re saying yes to stuff we’re not cool with. Life’s gotten a lot nicer now that we stopped that nonsense.
- Are we having fun regularly? Do we laugh together?
Yes, fun in a relationship is really important. REALLY important. I put it up there with earning a living and making sure that the kids get proper meals. When you stop laughing together, things have gone really wrong.
- Do we give each other courage in the bad times?
This is a hard one. When everyone is stressed out and upset, it’s easy to turn in on yourself. I think a mutual commitment to help each other keep spirits up during difficulties is an important part of long-term commitments.
- Do we have things we create together?
This is possibly a personal quirk, but I prefer relationships where we’re creating something together every now and thing.
- Are we supportive of individual projects?
We have our own projects, too. Being supportive of the individual as well as the group relationship efforts is important.
So, in closing, Happy 20th anniversary to The Prince. I’m glad I chose to be with you, and am glad that I chose to continue to do so. I love you.
 Not that parts did not get very bad, indeed.
 Liking to be accommodating isn’t always a relationship plus, believe it or not.