Today, there was a post about metamours on a local Facebook polyamory group I’m a member of. I saw the post in the morning and spent all day thinking about metamours. I have had a pretty wide range of metamours, when I think about it. X’s girlfriend knew about me, but we’ve never interacted, because we lived in different cities. Fun fact: I’ve actually not seen him in person in 14 years. B’s wife knew about me, but didn’t want to hear about me. She was very much “don’t ask, don’t tell” in her philosophy. I suspect that a lot of this had to do with her unhappiness in their marriage, which ended in January this year. Then there was W. She embodies everything that makes a metamour a nightmare. She was manipulative, insulting, passive aggressive, and outright lied. She interfered in my relationship with F and she interfered in my relationship with other people. She continues to get involved in our divorce and my kids keep coming home asking me questions about things she says to them. I keep hearing the horrible things she is saying about me to friends. She is a perfect example of what I never want to be as a metamour.
Then there was D’s wife. She exemplifies everything I ever want to be as a metamour. She welcomed me into her life before I even started dating D. It was nothing for us to hang out before D came home from a date or for us to go for dinner together with her boyfriend or to go for brunch just the three of us. She is the woman who gave up her spot in the bed so D and I could spend the night together, spontaneously, when I crashed a gathering they were at. She is the woman who heard from someone else that I had said something that she wasn’t OK with, so she came directly to me with her concerns. She is the model of metamour that I follow. No judgement, no drama, great communication, support, and acceptance.
A’s wife is very good friends with D’s wife. I have no doubt they talk about me and that D’s wife plays a role in A’s wife’s acceptance of me in his life. I have only really met her the once, the same night that D’s wife gave me her spot in the bed. At that time, my relationship with A wasn’t really a relationship yet, and it was new. We’re 9 months in now, and I haven’t seen her since. We’ve had a few texts back and forth, but our relationship exists mostly in likes and the occasional comment on Facebook. I’m sure she knows a lot about me, filtered through A, like I know a lot about her, all filtered through A. I find it hard sometimes that I don’t have more of a friendship with her. I really appreciate having my own relationship with my metamours. I have a natural tendency to think the worst. So when A has to cancel or limits our time together, my initial reaction is always to blame her. I always talk myself out of such ridiculousness, because I don’t really know her, so I don’t really know what’s going on in her life, and blaming without understanding of facts is stupid. The fact is, even if she was dictating everything, it doesn’t matter. This is where I think that many people would tell me I was in a hierarchical relationship. Perhaps I am and I’m delusional. The reality is, A is madly in love with his wife. They have 20+ years of history together, some of it wonderful, some of it heartbreaking, but they are each other’s best friends. They have a family together, they have their routines, and they have their life. I’m not part of their life. I’m part of HIS life. He told me, in that brief period of time we were friends between our first date and our first fuck, that if she ever said she had a problem with his girlfriend, he would end the relationship. That stuck with me, and while I know he would miss me, I also know where I place in his life, and I know that I’m not as important in his life as he is in mine.
Because of this, I am the metamour I am for her. I’m not sure she’s even aware she has a metamour, or at least that there is a term for the relationship we have by virtue of sharing the same man romantically. My position is to be understanding and accommodating and make things easier for all of this to work. So, when A’s wife was having a hard time one weekend and really needed to spend time with him, I was understanding and forgiving when he cancelled a date. When we set up weekly dates so that he could keep his weekend dates with his wife and family, I agreed. It’s why when I try to make plans for us, I ask him to run it by her first, or ask him if she would be OK with me booking us to do an activity. It’s why I accommodate changes in our plan. It’s why I try to not ask for more than A can give (I’m not always perfect at this) and try to keep things casual and fun when we’re in between dates. It’s just my part of making things easy for us to be together. In the end, it’s about respecting the person I’m dating, his priorities, his obligations, and the other people who are important in his life. More than that though, it’s about respecting his needs and desires in our relationship and working with him to create the relationship we want together.
When I met L’s other girlfriend, I knew immediately that we were going to be friends. We just clicked. I’ve been a source of support for her, welcomed her into my life with open arms, and I haven’t been disappointed. She is really good for L and complements me well. She’s young, but has had a life of someone twice her age. She’s strong and independent and watching her make choices for herself to be happy is amazing. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age, she’s still figuring things out and she’s doing a great job of it. I’ve fallen into a bit of a mentoring role, mostly because I am older and have been through a lot of the things she is going through, but mostly, I think she’s going to end up being more like family. I can thank D’s wife over and over for showing me how to be supportive and accepting and welcoming of L’s girlfriend into my life. L is so good at communicating things that he really facilitates his girlfriends being friends. He loves us both, is committed to us both, and is creating a world with us where we all work.
I guess my point with this is that I think that if we are developing relationships that we allow to evolve on their own, without expectations or pressure, we should also do that with the relationships with our partner’s partners. I think there are too many expectations in the metamour relationships in polyamory. I think it’s good to respect your metamours for their decisions and their comfort levels. What makes you happier and more comfortable may not be doable with them. Attempt to understand them and be the metamour you would like to have.
There’s going to be an inevitable time when I have a conflict with a metamour in the future. I hope when it happens, I remember my own advice, to try and understand them and work with them.