I realized the other day that delving into this polyamorous lifestyle has expanded my world and made me feel more complete in a few ways. I think it’s true for a lot of people that even when they have different interests than their partner, they still rely on that partner when going on new adventures and we might hesitate to stray into interests that are really far from theirs.
Take Ben and I for example. He is a computer scientist and a musician. His hobby time is taken up with Dungeons and Dragons, programming and band practice. I on the other hand, don’t have the patience for D&D or the skills for music. I like reading, blogging, and yoga.
It seems like we’re very different, and we are. However, these hobbies have been with us since before we started dating. Ben was in a band when we met, and has always tinkered with whatever tech he can get his hands on. Likewise, I’ve always been a reader and enjoyed yoga. Since being together we haven’t strayed away from these core hobbies in a big way.
We’ve explored some hobbies together. There’s a mutual love of food, a desire to travel, tv shows and events we’ve fallen in love with together. However, there are always things I might enjoy that I know Ben would hate and things he’d like to explore that I have no interest in. That doesn’t mean we want to explore those things alone. In some cases that’s meant just sticking with what we know and sticking with each other.
Until now… with Maggie and Tom in our lives, we all have more opportunities to pursue new hobbies without having to do so alone. In my life right now that’s demolition derbies for example: In the last two years, we started going to more and more derbies to watch both Maggie and Tom have fun destroying some cars. While Ben really enjoys watching the events, I’m fascinated by the cars and with every heat I watch I’ve wanted to be a part of it. I wouldn’t have dared though – without Tom, I have no way to build a car, for one. I have no knowledge and would be totally lost without a partner in crime. It’s my relationship with Tom that has allowed me to start learning more about all things derby in a way I never would have before.
Meanwhile, Ben and Maggie have found all kinds of craft beer festivals to enjoy. Neither Tom or I drink beer (we barely drink at all) so these events hold no interest for us. Maggie and Ben’s relationship has given them a partnership where they can explore those interests without dragging uninterested spouses.
I never felt incomplete or unhappy in my relationship with Ben. There are still things that we love to do together and everything we built in the last seven years still holds significant value. We both could have lived happy lives continuing to find and explore things we enjoyed together.
As it happens, polyamory has given us the opportunity to broaden those horizons and live more true to ourselves, not just ourselves as partners to each other.
Not to mention, having activities and hobbies we enjoy with each partner helps differentiate each relationship so that it develops to be unique and independent of the others. While the four of us enjoy our “pod dates” for activities we’re all excited about (usually food or go-carting related), we also enjoy having our own time with each other.
It’s important to us that each of our relationships is allowed to develop naturally and that in each of our relationships we are focused on each other, not just each other as someone else’s.
Having hobbies and activities that are unique to each couple helps with this natural development of the relationships and with the sense of each relationship being independent.
Honestly I believe when we settle in with someone for the long term – whether that’s getting married or just moving in together and planning a forever kind of life – we start attaching our identity to each other.
We become “his wife” or “her husband” or “their partner”. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this but it does affect how we make decisions about hobbies and interests. Will our other half be interested? Will they want to go to that event? Will they enjoy this?
We do it to ourselves even without a partner – we get an idea of ourselves and who we are in our head and then start ignoring things that don’t fit that box without really thinking about it – but that’s another post.
With three partners I can’t totally attach half my identity or decision making to what I imagine they’ll think of an event or activity so instead I start recognizing my own interest first and then figuring out if I might have company – who would be most interested? Who could support me best for this interest?
Focusing on my own interest and following my own inclinations rather than filtering them through a partner’s interests has changed how I think about my time and what I enjoy – for the better! It’s made my identity more independent without making my life more lonely.
How about you? What hobbies do you enjoy with your partner?