Would You Like to Date My Boyfriend?

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Editor’s Note: This weekend’s encore selection by Maria Padhila was originally published June 4, 2011. Have you ever simply wanted your lover to be loved by another? — Amanda

By Maria Padhila

About four years ago, at a pagan festival, I attended a workshop given by Raven Kaldera, author of (among other books) Pagan Polyamory: Becoming a Tribe of Hearts. It was the first time I’d tried to learn anything “formally” about polyamory, and I was pretty nervous, feeling, I suppose, similar to how someone first exploring paganism might at any other workshop that weekend.

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

The nervousness dissipated quickly, and for the same reasons — just as all the witches look pretty normal, so did the small group of polyamorists: normal, funny, interesting. One of Kaldera’s tribe was talking about his feelings when one of his partners tried to meet new people.

“It can be so frustrating, seeing someone you love get turned down by someone they’re interested in,” he was saying. “You just want to shake them and say: ‘What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see how great this person is? You’re such a fool!’”

I remember this because it touched my heart. It’s the way you feel about a friend who is out in date world again, with all its dullness and uncertainties and rising hopes and casual slapdowns. But feeling this way about a lover?

Years later, I’m sitting outside my boyfriend’s apartment on a surprise spring day in mid-February. He’s talking about his plan to invite the barista at the coffee shop (local, fair, non-chain) he goes to nearly every day to an open mic he’s been attending almost every week. They’ve been flirting for months, but still.

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6 Responses to Would You Like to Date My Boyfriend?

  1. mariapadhila says:

    brinda–i’m so sorry, usually i’m more about diving in with comments–but for this month i’ve forbidden myself to go online unless it’s to do research for this medical history thing i’m writing for pay. i’m cheating!
    anyway, keep it coming; you’ll find a lot of compassionate and provocative thinkers here in the comments section (and i really miss interacting with them!).
    yep, the “known unknowns” make a big difference in comfort level. there’s a whole level of talking and testing that involves people being willing to say “I don’t want to know” or “I would feel better if I knew” or even “I just want to know that this ISN’T the case.” But in the end i’ve found it’s very similar to what happens among close friends. You don’t betray confidences, and good friends don’t expect you to talk behind your other friends’ backs.
    oh, don’t let anyone give you any trouble about the age difference! people sometimes fuss about age difference when what they’re really reacting to is an unacknowledged power difference. if the people involved don’t feel there’s a power-over going on (unless they really want that sort of thing), what’s the problem?
    as for him being married, that’s your own to figure out–but if the other person doesn’t know, and hasn’t specifically said s/he Just Don’t Want To Know, then i can say from what i’ve seen that this is likely to mess everyone up somehow. it’s all gonna get talked about sooner or later, might as well be sooner.

  2. brinda says:

    A week after i posted my comment i had an irrational wave of jealousy wash over me as i imagined my bf with, not his wife, cause ive managed to compartmentalize that in a healthy way in the name of respect for traditional family (and recognize i didnt want him messing with mine, esp during the holidays), but with an unknown other. Going back and reading isaac’s comment to maria, i realized he was effectively saying: if you’re with chris, well its a known quantity ive come to terms with because i still largely “have” you or at least know where you are (both literally and emotionally).

    Whereas the possibility of some unknown “other” is more threatening.

  3. Chris Chris says:

    @ Brinda — With luck, tomorrow’s blast from the past may inspire more to comment.
    @ Amanda — If you attend, please look me up at Black Rock City this August: I spoke with your campmate “Progress” this past NYE and he spoke highly of you :)

  4. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    brinda — i agree it’s a great article, and very candid. maybe all the juno-pluto action in the sky has most people a little too wrapped up in their own relationship situations (with or without jealousy) to relate right now?

    just thinking out loud…

  5. brinda says:

    Dear maria,

    Am so shocked that I was the only one to comment on your recent posting! Ive checked back here anxious to engage in a dialogue of shared experiences but nada!

    Perhaps you (we?) are ahead of the curve and it is still hard for others to get their head around alternative approaches to love and relationship. Keep writing! Its healthy for all of us…

  6. brinda says:

    Dear maria, i find this to be ur most authentic entry so far and very much enjoyed it. I am your age, have a very close relationship with my former husband of over 25 years in total if you count the whole relationship including raising two kids together and now being neighbors. Like you i am about one year with a wonderful lover, 15 years younger and living in another country. Like your chris and isaac they are both wonderful, creative and soulful men. My lover us married so it adds another layer of complexity. Today my 21 year old son took me to task for my potentially socially unacceptable relationship and the possibilité of hurting others and i admired him for it. I said this is my story and i stand by it, for now, and dont apologize for it. There are many ways to live and love and reading eric all these years has given me strength and courage to see that. Enjoy your loves!

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