This weekend marked the end of my 40th birthday celebrations. I had a party on Saturday night, and about 30 friends attended. It’s funny, because a few friends I’ve had forever, but the demographic of my circle has changed significantly since my 39th birthday, and definitely for the better. There were people at my party that included roommates I had in my last year of high school and first year of college, people I went to grad school with and work with, people I met in moms’ groups when I was on maternity leave, a friend from when I lived in Europe, and then my now expanding group of poly and poly-friendly friends. And A, of course he was there!
What was unique was that we all sat in a giant circle in my backyard and chatted. Everyone part of the same conversation. It was so cool. No one splintered into groups of friends who knew each other, we all just jived. It was so great. There was much laughter and much joking and it was a really really fun time.
My good friend who lives a four hour plane ride away came out for the party. As is with all my best friends, we haven’t seen each other for years, have kept in contact on social media and the occasional private message, and the minute I picked her up at the airport, it was like we had never been apart. It was so cool to see her just insert herself right into my groups as if she always belonged there. In particular, she and A got along famously. It was the first time that I introduced A to many of my friends. Unlike monogamous relationships, our time together is at a premium, so we rarely socialize with other people because it takes away from our alone time together. What this means is that we’ve developed our close relationship in the near absence of any interaction as a couple with our friends. It’s an interesting phenomenon, actually, and one I hadn’t really thought of until this moment. But what I really loved about it, is that A required no “babysitting”. I spent 14 years with F, and he hated when I hosted parties or dinners, hated meeting people, and I had to spend a lot of time at his side to make sure he was OK. It wasn’t at all shocking to me that A jumped right into the situation and socialized like a pro and made friends with everyone there, easily and simply. I didn’t once think of checking on how he was doing and I didn’t need to. It was awesome. I think I might have to take him to more things, if he ever has more time to give, because I certainly don’t want to give up my alone time with him, but he is definitely a high-quality date, even with his clothes on.
It meant a lot to me that my friend and A got along so well. I just told her I was poly about two months ago, and she’s been remarkably supportive from the first response. But they laughed and joked and teased me the whole night and had a great time. It’s amazing to me when two people I care about so deeply get along so well. The next day, she and I laughed and shared stories and it was like she belongs here. It felt like home.
At the end of the night of the party the remaining people sat around the fire in my backyard chatting. There was a lot of joking and a lot of drinking. But we sat there talking, and laughing, and being ridiculous as we do, and I reached over and grabbed A’s hand. We sat and held hands and talked with all the other people there. I realized how good and normal that felt. I also realized we’d never just sat there holding hands and talking to other people before. It was such a normal, comfortable thing to do.
I think that that is where we are. We are a normal couple, within the context of our ridiculously abnormal lives, that are comfortable. I guess five months later, we should be. Comfortable is good.