“The way he’s touching you is the exact same way he’s touching someone else!” She said firmly, as she drove us out of the city. “The things he says to you, he says to someone else.  Are you gonna tell me that you’re really okay with that?”

I looked at her as straightforwardly as I could (after all, she was driving and had to keep her eyes on the road) and said, “Why wouldn’t I be? I know about it, and I can’t be there myself.  He has other relationships, just as I do.”

Poly isn’t for everyone. This seems to have become a running theme for me as I’ve opened up to my closest friends about my romantic choices, my polyamorous lifestyle.  How do I explain so that my friends can not only accept but also understand?  I love more than one. Each loves me.  And each has other relationships, other loves.   But no, each isn’t in the same way nor to the same degree.

And no, I don’t think that either of my loves says the exact same words, in the same way, to me as he says to someone else. I don’t do it.  Well, let me rephrase… I tell each of them that I love him, and I do.  But there are as many different ways in which to love as there are people to be loved. Again, there are varying degrees of affection and intensity for each relationship.

I’ll let each of them put in his own two cents if he so wishes. I’m not about to put words into anyone’s mouth. But here’s the situation from my viewpoint…

I have one boyfriend who lives about 500 miles away from me. We try to see each other, when possible, about once a quarter, and we trade off who travels. My turn is coming up in the Fall, early Winter.  Most of our relationship is via text or, occasionally, Skype. We don’t even text every single day anymore. (Well, okay, it’s still ALMOST every day.) And it’s not long, drawn-out sonnets or speeches or anything.  It’s a joke here, a reminisce there, a miss-you or a love-you-babe. A blog post, a pic…  We chat. We laugh. We discuss.  I love him for the strong connection that we’ve had from the first time we met.  For the friendship that we’ve developed, the trust I’ve slowly given him, the teasing fun we have online. His openness, his care for people in his life, his wisdom, his humor… I enjoy the HELL out of spending quality time with him when I can.

I love him, but let’s face it! 500 MILES APART!  The relationship isn’t going develop any further than it has.  Our lives just don’t permit it. I’m glad he has his wife and polywife and all his FWB’s.  I don’t worry about him. I don’t worry about whether or not I’m giving him enough attention. He has… 15? other women to get attention from. (Yes, I’m exaggerating. No one needs to know the true numbers)  He doesn’t need from me any more than I can give.  And vice versa.

I have another boyfriend who is 20 minutes away, who I see as often as I can.  I drive to him, he drives to me.  Our connection began as just a spark that quickly ignited into more.  It has grown over the months.  He’s exciting in ways that I won’t describe here. He’s gotten to know me quite well. We have alot in common. We agree in our opinions on quite a bit. And our life experiences… I’ve been where he is. I know what he’s going through and I empathize. I’m there for him the way my bff was there for me. I think that’s part of why this has happened so quickly for us. He and I seem to be on equal footing, though there are some areas in which he leads, just as there are areas in which I lead.

But again, we have lives apart from one another.  I have my kids, my work, my dance classes, my performances, my other boyfriend, my friends.  He has his work, his parental duties, his other girlfriends, his hobbies and interests, his house maintenance, his friends… the list goes on.  Though this relationship has the potential to become more, it can’t happen all at once.  We both have people other than ourselves to consider.

And there are things that I know he needs that I can’t provide for him.  This lifestyle gives him the freedom to find it with someone else who CAN fill those needs and still come back to me.  I’m not his everything, and I’m okay with it. Because, with this lifestyle, I don’t have to be.

Bottom line is this. It doesn’t matter what either man say or does when he’s with someone else, so long as he’s honest about his feelings for me.  And about his feelings for others.  That’s all I ask.  I don’t ask either of them to love me. I just feel blessed because they do.  And if that changes, then I want to know, so that I can adjust. One thing they both know is that I don’t like uneven relationships.  I don’t think I’m wired for that.

But I’ve found that I’m happy being poly. I’m happy having 2 men who both are my friends, my lovers, and my loves.  Life’s too short to exclude love. Why should I?

Here’s another thing. I can’t even say whether or not any man could ever be my everything, because I don’t know what that is for me anymore.  And, with my history, I think I have too many issues to be ready for any one person to fill such a role.  (Though nowadays, I often wonder if that’s changed.)  When I do know, well, that’s when they’ll also know.