February 28th was Metamours’ Day, which for some was a jolly celebration of posting selfies with metas; making, buying, and sending presents; and generally connecting over this unique relationship in the polyamory community.
This new holiday, backed by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, also brought up feelings of difficulty for some as they navigated the others. There was discussion about being a partner and a meta at the same time. There was also talk about the pressures to get along with your partners’ partners. Others discussed being in looser styles of relationships where they may not know all of their metamours.
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the word “partner” and what it means. Here’s an article on queerness that touches on some of the things I’ve been reading and talking about lately as a means of processing. There have been times I’ve used the word “partner” and it sort of backfires; my personal and social history with it seems to ensure it has a weight for me that my personal relationships don’t always meet, and so I’ve used the word and felt immediately that it was wrong but I couldn’t necessarily articulate why. As much I hate to be a woman in her 40s using the phrases “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” they are “light” enough for my expectations of an early relationship in a way I can’t get partner to feel like. (They also feel very childish to me and highly erasive of non-binary people, though the article above talks about “theyfriend” and I have someone in my life who uses “datemate.”)
But that means I’m also not as inclined to reach out, especially in new relationships, and form metamour relationships as I used to be, and part of that makes me sad because I enjoy the very special dynamic of having people in the world you are connected to in this sort of socially-unapproved but highly connective way. I like planning surprises and taking group selfies and generally being TeamPartner with people. My 2017 birthday was spent with a meta instead of a partner. I sometimes mourn the loss of meta relationships at the end of partner relationships; I’m literally wearing a shirt right now that says “World’s Greatest Whatevermore,” which is an in-joke I created with a former metamour when I was having those feelings of loss over that severed connection.
So I hear you, people who did not enjoy this day or had conflicted feelings about it. Those feelings are valid.
I do love this beautiful idea, don’t get me wrong. I think metamour relationships should be celebrated–and discussed, good and bad. I love that this holiday got people engaging in myriad ways, bringing good feelings to the surface but also creating a way for others to vent frustrations and acknowledge that metamours, like partners, are not all one way. Each dyad needs to be taken alone and can’t be blanket-compared to others.
On this day, the day after Metamours’ Day, maybe take time to meta-think about these meta-relationships. Embrace the good, set healthy boundaries with the difficult, or celebrate your autonomy.
Now, can we talk about the people who want to make December 3rd Polyamory Day (12/3) and how strange it is to center–and separate–triads like that? Maybe next time.
-The Polyamorous Librarian
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