It’s been almost a year since my son was in a fairly serious car accident, and was taken via Life Flight to a hospital in Seattle in an attempt to save one of his kidneys.
Special Man Friend and I had been dating for almost eight months at that point. We knew we loved each other. We had said the words. But I was holding back. Scared. I had almost talked myself into ending the relationship. Despite knowing that I loved this man, it just felt so hard. I did not know what good poly looked like, and I was afraid. I was new to non-monogamy, and Man Friend (let’s just call him SMF) and Meta (his wife) had some specific and limited experience, but Meta and I were still cautiously circling each other, trying to figure out how to relate to each other as two women who shared a significant partner. Because of these two things, I worried that the relationship I had with my guy would not have the chance to progress and that I had hit a ceiling as his “date-night girlfriend”; that the relationship he had within his marriage was the REAL relationship, and that I was just an accessory to his real life. A distraction. A hobby.
The night of the accident was an absolute turning point in our relationship. I texted SMF on the way to the hospital, and within a few minutes, he and Meta had offered to meet me there. No, I said, I thought that my son was doing okay and I would let them know if I needed anything. Within a couple of hours, things became complicated with my child, and the decision was made to transport him to Seattle. I had nothing with me except my purse as I had come directly from work at another hospital, and was wearing surgical scrubs. I was panicked. My guy came to check on us. He sat in the parking lot with me as I cried, before the transport team arrived. Without hesitation, he said to me, “I will come.”
Within an hour, my son and I were in the air flying toward Washington, and my sweetheart had called his boss, packed a bag for himself, gone to my house to pack a bag for me, filled up his car, and was on the road to Seattle. He came. He stayed. He held my hand and bought me coffee. He sat with my son. And after a few days, when my son was angry and hurting, this man, who I now love with all my heart, sent me away to try and sleep, and he walked the halls and talked with my child. I was not a hobby then, and I am not a hobby now.
I am his real life.
I know that having him away from home and with me for that period of time was a sacrifice for my Metamour, and at the time, I felt humbled and grateful, even guilty, that she supported him in supporting me. I felt like I was taking something away from her by claiming those hours, those days, for myself. I felt like I was overstepping my “place” as the girlfriend.
A year later, and my perspective has widened a little. We don’t exist in a vacuum. We can’t. We all live and love within a network where each of us affects and is affected by the others. We give what we can, and we take what we need. Each of us. And hopefully, our little poly universe shifts and changes to meet the needs of each individual, and in the end, there are the resources available to go around when they are needed.
One of the things that appeals to me about polyamory, is the idea of this extended poly network, or as one of my people calls it, “our little poly constellation”. I admit, this phrase makes me giggle a little, as it sounds just a little romantic and idealized. I am a relative newcomer to the concept of an interdependent, loving, and vested group of people who genuinely want good things for each other, but I am slowly relaxing into the thought that maybe, this just might work.