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Stuff [Jul. 12th, 2012|08:10 pm]

I think I may have done the impossible. I may have come up with a relationship problem no one's ever had before. Or if not that, at least one I've never seen discussed.

Last summer, I hung out with alicorn24 for a while. We flirted a bit, and I was forced to admit she was awesome, but we lived on different continents and neither of us was really that interested in a long-distance relationship.

Over the autumn, she converted to polyamory (is converted the wrong word? It sounds like there should be a baptism involved) and started a long-term relationship with her ex-ex-boyfriend. Since entering into a long-distance relationship would no longer exclude her from the admittedly more fun short-distance relationships, she lost most of her objections. For my part, as I got closer to graduation I realized there wasn't much chance of me starting a serious relationship in Ireland in the few months I had left there. So when we met again over the winter, we decided to become maybe kinda sorta boyfriend and girlfriend. Since then we have dropped both the "maybe" and the "kinda", and the "sorta" doesn't seem long for this world either. She has yet to give me any reason to regret the passing of any of those adjectives even the slightest bit.

Except I'm still not a hundred percent comfortable with this polyamory thing (maybe because I haven't been baptized yet?)

It's not that I can't see the obvious advantages. There's not only the advantage of generally being able to date more than one person at once. It's also that there are specific extraordinarily beautiful and intelligent and fascinating women in my extended online social circle, and they're almost all polyamorous. Most of them wouldn't want to date a monogamous person. Many of them probably would have lower standards for Boyfriend #3 or #4 than for their Sole Eternal Life Partner, standards that I might be able to just barely squeeze in underneath. And weird as it sounds, alicorn24 is sufficiently central in enough social networks (the real type, not the Facebook type) that she could probably set me up with people whom I would never meet or talk to on my own.

The disadvantage is that at my back I always hear Time's incredibly annoying winged chariot hurrying near, yelling at me to get a move-on. "You're twenty seven!", shouts the apparently anthropomorphic chariot. "Your father was married at your age, and having children by the time he was thirty! You need to be thinking long-term!".

Barring an unfortunate accident to alicorn24's ex-ex-boyfriend dudley_doright which I have no intention of causing even though I will totally have the means and motive and opportunity, there's no marriage potential there. Even if some of the beautiful intelligent fascinating polyamorous girls I know want to date me, they too already have "primary" partners who are not me with whom they plan to settle down. And having a girlfriend on the side makes me pretty much undateable to non-polys, aka 99% of the population of everywhere.

It's actually even worse than this. I searched OKCupid for polyamorous women. There were a few who looked nice. There were many more who had bright green mohawks and piercings through every part of their bodies and described themselves as "omnisexual genderqueer polyamorous Amazon kinksters", or some equivalent combination of adjectives. I wish these people the best of luck in smashing the patriarchy or whatever it is they do, but I am pretty sure I don't want to limit my dating pool to them.

My preference ordering is "find poly long-term partner and continue dating alicorn24" > "find mono long-term partner and stay friends with alicorn24" > "stay together with alicorn24 but lack long-term partner" > "be a horrible person and dump alicorn24 in order to more conveniently find mono partner, but fail". But (1) seems wildly optimistic, (2) seems unlikely to happen without first risking (4), and (3), as fun as it is at the moment, seems inadequate over the long-term. And then there are my parents, who I worry may be okay with this arrangement only because they totally misunderstood it when I explained it to them.

Is this actually a genuinely new relationship problem, or are there gigabytes of advice columns and bulletin board threads discussing this very issue?

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