[Dan] We were asked by someone who is becoming part of an existing poly relationship ….on how they can be a good meta (metamour) to the other people in that relationship.
[dawn] It was a really good question and the reason he asked was because we were there and teaching about poly tools. So we taught, the class was actually called eight poly tools, but we brought our eight poly tools, part one in part two. So, they kind of got a combination of about 16 tools. We can’t stop at eight, we just keep talking.
[Dan] His question was…. he was, in this particular case…. and we’ll make it a little more generic than his particular case,….. but we’re talking about that particular case. He was a masochist in a relationship that had a sadist in a relationship with a non sm person. I’ll just put vanilla.
[dawn] So the sadist and the vanilla were already in a relationship.
[Dan] So the masochist comes in and he says, look, here’s my concern. I can fulfill a need for the sadist that the vanilla person can’t fulfill and I don’t want to step on their toes. I don’t want to cause problems in their relationship. So how do I be a good partner to the vanilla person even though I am not directly their partner, but how do I be a good steward of the relationship
[dawn] …..and that can actually be a little difficult to answer because some people will say, oh, reach out and try to make friends and, maybe try to be a part of …..kind of like you, me and Karen, I guess,…. and that we’re a triangle or a v .. we are more of a v …..but we hang out together and stuff sometimes. But I also had to let this guy know that sometimes the meta doesn’t want to do things with the other metta. So he can reach out if he wants to. He can reach out to this, this, vanilla meta, and see if they want to do anything. So that ‘vanilla’ more comfortable with him around and learns that they don’t have to be jealous or envious or worried about anything. He can do that. But if the other person doesn’t respond, that’s okay.
[Dan] And that’s one of the things that I suggested at that point and I continued to suggest is that you reach out, open the lines of communication without any expectation that they’ll respond to it. As you mentioned when we’re teaching that class, Karen reached out to you and said, let’s go do pedicures. That’s not your thing. Right? So you responded by saying, no thanks.
[dawn] I mean, I’m an introvert that doesn’t always like to do things with people.
[Dan] It’s not that you were rejecting her or not wanting to interact with her. It was that that particular activity is not interesting to you and it may well be that this meta, this other person, doesn’t really have any desire or need to interact with you. Your responsibility… in my view… is just to open lines of communication. It’s okay to say, Hey, do you want to go out and get a beer? Do you want to go have coffee, sometimes? Do you want to hang out or not do that. Just open lines of communication. I would, at a minimum, say, here’s my email address, here’s my phone number. In case you need to get ahold of me for whatever reason. By building that opportunity for conversations, if something comes up down the road, you’ll have the opportunity…. you’ve already started opening the door to that communication.
[dawn] Right, but don’t take it personally, if they don’t grab you up and hug you and say, Oh my God, you’re the third we’ve always wanted…. or something like that. I’d love to go do this with you and love to go do that with you ……because it doesn’t always happen. So don’t take it personally. It’s not always about you. It could just be that some people are introverts like me, I don’t do a lot of things with people
[Dan] Or don’t take it personally, if the response is like, leave me the fuck alone. I’m not really comfortable with you being part of my life so, so don’t talk to me. My primary example that I use is the relationship that I have with Kat and her husband, Nate. It’s not my responsibility to check in with Nate and say, “how you doing buddy? Is Everything okay? Is it okay that I’m dating your wife? Are feeling jealousy, feeling envious?” I have an open communication with him and we talk comic book geek stuff, but primarily every once in awhile I will check in with Kat to say, “hey is Nate still cool with me?”
[dawn] I do the same thing with big D and his wife. I’ll ask big D if his wife still okay with everything. And he says yes and that’s all I do.
[Dan] Cause I don’t feel it’s necessarily my responsibility to manage the relationship that Nate is having with Kat in regards to me. That is Kat’s responsibility. Now if Kat says, “you know what? Nathan feels a little bit weird about the whatever thing”. I respond by saying, “should I reach out to him?” I mean, I got no problem doing that part, doing my part to be…. because I am…, I acknowledge ….and here’s something that, lately I’ve been listening to people saying how they don’t perceive that their polyamory has anything….has any kind of a group dynamic, right? But I do perceive that my relationship with Kat is an impact to Nate. It’s also because Nate, who for all intents purposes is the father of the two children he’s raising with Kat. They live in a house together. They have a longterm life together. If at one point he says, “you know what, I don’t want you dating Dan anymore. It’s bad for our entire family.” Well, that’s a pretty significant sort of thing. So there is a relationship there. I don’t have to manage it, but for me, the way I handle it this, I reach out and I said, hey, if you ever want to talk. ..Here I am. And I go out of my way to say, “hey Kat, things still cool?”
[Dan] I totally get that. Totally agree. And the other thing that popped into my head that I do that I wish I’d mentioned during the class because it didn’t pop into my head then, was that, I also treat big D’s wife with some respect. Respect for the relationship that they already have and things like that. They do have a longterm relationship with the kids and the house and the dogs and the grandkids and that type of stuff. So I give some respect in that relationship that they’ve already developed. And I try not to tread on toes. So far…..t’s worked out for five years. And me and his wife actually like each other and can go do things. Not that we do a lot, I just don’t…do people.