First and foremost: who are we?
I am Carmen, and my husband is Ben.
Maggie is my best friend turned girlfriend, and Tom is her husband.
Tom and I are dating, as are Maggie and Ben.
Confused yet, so were we!
Polyamory is, at its core, the belief that we can love and choose to have meaningful, romantic relationships with more than one person. It is broad and inclusive.
Individuals subscribing to this unifying idea may still choose to shape their relationships differently. Many people who subscribe to polyamory reject any sort of limitation. They choose to maintain as many relationships as they are personally able to commit to and do not allow the existence of any one relationship to limit the existence or scope of the others.
That’s not quite how we have chosen to express our belief in polyamory.
We call ourselves a “pod”. We are two married couples with five relationships between us: the two marriages, myself and Tom, Maggie and Ben, plus Maggie and I. We are all committed to these five relationships and are not interested in developing any more romantic connections outside of our pod.
We firmly and fiercely believe in our ability to love more than just one person, and in the value of supporting our spouses and each other in all of our relationships.
This is what polyamory means to us. We are a family and we support each other and each others relationships. No one relationships is valued over the others – instead, we recognize that everyone’s needs are met more fully when we work together. For example, when Maggie is sick she might find Ben’s company more comforting that Tom’s simply because Tom is more practical whereas Ben is softer in how he looks after Maggie. Given that she didn’t ask to be sick, I make sure Ben and I are available and don’t hold Ben all to myself just because he’s my husband.
In return, Tom and Maggie have both been flexible when Ben or I were craving the company of one of them despite everyone having other plans.
Furthermore we all fulfill different roles within the house. The same as you can ask any monogamous couple who does more cooking and who does more planning, we are all working together to make our household function smoothly.
So there’s a little bit about my family and what polyamory means for us.
Stay tuned for more of our crazy adventures!
When you work for yourself, chances are there aren’t a lot of opportunities for promotion. Or there are, but they look a lot different than your traditional corporate promotion and they don’t always serve as the most accurate markers of success and development.
For example, there are some limited opportunities for promotion with my teaching company in that some teachers are invited to take on non-teaching rolls with the company. It’s a great way to add a little extra work and experience when you get these additional roles , however they may not satisfy the ladder climbing itch the way a traditional promotion does.
That’s why I want to take a second to talk about the value of Goals. Goals give us something concrete to work towards, encourage us to plan for accomplishment and to always have a plan we are paying attention to. Reaching a goal gives us a moment when we can pause and celebrate our success.
Did you want to connect with a certain number of new clients this month – and successfully do so? Share that news with your partners or family and let them congratulate you.
Did you want to grow your social network reach by a certain number of followers and have you met that goal? Take a moment to thank those who follow you with a little #humblebrag post!
These goals help you stay focused and give your work purpose and meaning in the context of your life.
Accomplishing goals also provides the opportunity to set bigger and more ambitious goals. Much like being given a bigger role in a traditional company, feeling that bigger goals are possible for you satisfies a sort of constant growth and promotion desire. For example, if my first goal is to reach 100 followers on instagram by the end of the month and come the end of the month I have 125 followers, perhaps my next goal will be to reach 250 in a month. Seeing success will allow me to make data-based decisions about my capabilities and see my capabilities grow through my data.
Without goals we are working solely to make money and pay bills. Ultimately this is unavoidably important but it isn’t enough to motivate us. I want to pay my bills comfortably as much as the next person but working from home and not knowing why I’m doing it other than to continue existing becomes lonely, tedious and isolating.
We crave purpose, meaning and accomplishment and we can infuse our gig-to-gig life with these elements when we set and aggressively pursue goals that mean something to us!
What are your goals? How do you measure success?
So I’ve talked about setting my mind to losing weight then gaining it instead. Now let’s talk about the first challenge of weight loss:
I get on the treadmill and after 5 minutes I’m day dreaming about the moment I can put my butt back down on the couch.
I turn on my fave fitness app and feel my body struggle to complete all the moves.
But my mind is on my side. I know that the only way to get stronger is to do the things I struggle with until I don’t struggle anymore.
I’ve learned this after years of struggling. You can’t wish it away.
What does persistence mean?
Doing things that are uncomfortable
Like staying on the treadmill and continuing the workout when I’m embarrassed of how much I struggle.
Eating new foods.
Trying new activities.
Doing things again, and again, and again...
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could eat well and be active for a day, or like… a week… and poof, that hard work would be rewarded with the bodies we were trying to build.
I wish. But it doesn’t happen like that. You’ll have to keep working even when you feel like there’s no results.
As they say, Trust the process.
Insisting on Support, Ignoring Temptation
I love when my husband makes delicious homemade bacon cheeseburgers, or my partners take me to a favourite restaurant on date night… but these things don’t support my goals and I’m still really bad when there’s temptation in front of me.
I wanted my fitness journey to be something I could do all on my own without asking anything from anyone else. But that’s just not feasible when I’m in three relationships. I have to let the people I’m with be a part of this, invite them to make healthy choices and enjoy healthy meals with me.
Or sometimes it means asking them to get out of my hair for an hour so I can work out.
Here it is, only the beginning of posting honestly about the journey I’m on.
What are your biggest setbacks for your goals?
1. Almost as reliably as people ask if my tattoos hurt, they ask if my hair is real.
Yep. Grew it myself.
2. I’m more confident.
There isn’t a lot of room for self doubt (and it’s hard to sneak passed anyone) when you have the brightest hair in the room.
3. I clash with a bunch of my clothes.
I put on my favourite bright red hoodie and cried a little. Good thing I always liked black.
4. I’m stubborn about it.
I always said it’s just hair and if I came across a job or something where it wasn’t appropriate, I could just change it to something more neutral. But I’m a little more attached than that so if someone doesn’t like my hair, they don’t like me.
5. It takes work.
Expensive products that are time consuming to use. Not to mention the time I spend cleaning the shower after I use it. I go to the hairdresser to get it coloured but I use a pigmented conditioner to maintain the vibrancy in between salon visits. With bright hair like this there’s no time to be lazy or it gets looking kind of sad. I don’t need the whole world seeing it on my head when I’m lazy!
6. It’s like a no-effort accessory
At least after all that work and money it makes me look ready to go with very little effort – take it down and brush it, and I’m good to go.
7. It’s really fun to style.
Plus when I do more than take it down and brush it, I have a lot of fun putting it in new styles to show off the colours.
8. I’m easy to find in a crowd.
Yeah, like I said… kind of hard to sneak passed anyone.
9. Do not try this at home.
Blue shower. Blue floors. Blue walls. Blue hands. Blue face… just leave applying you’re bright fantasy colours to the professional. A little maintenance like a pigmented conditioner is do-able but creating this look all on your own is not – especially not if you need bleach.
10. Trust your hair dresser
I never asked for blue hair. One day my hairdresser suggested that it would look nice with the purple and pink I already had and I totally trust her so here we are!
The first time I remember stepping on the scale and wanting to make the number smaller I weighed 140 pounds.
Today, I’m at the beginning of yet another new fitness program, planning meals and workouts with the most sincere hope I’ll be taking inches off my waist. Oh yeah, and I’m 200 pounds… how did I step on the scale, decide to lose weight and wake up six years later and 60 pounds heavier?
Well a lot happened in those six years. A lot of excuses about what was possible when trying to lose weight and live a healthy life. But also a lot of really valuable living.
I finished a joint major and got in to a graduate program. Two of those years I spent researching incarceration and finding myself in that grad program before deciding to move foreword with other projects.
I married Ben.
The growth I have experienced in the last six years is far greater than the growth I see on the scale.
But there was comfort eating, a few extra meals out with friends, and a whole lot of snacks.
None the less, it’s time to rewrite these pounds. It’s time to begin a chapter where the weight actually does come off.
So join me on this blog where, among other things, I will share my journey to a healthier lifestyle.
P.S. there’s an amazing community of people on this journey on instagram, follow my little corner of it at @fitish.kitten
Drop a comment and tell me: How much does fitness play a role in your life? Are you on your own fitness or weight loss journey, or perhaps you are focusing on other areas of your life. I want to hear all about it.
The very first question I get when I reveal to people that my husband and I are dating another married couple is….”How on earth does something like that develop!?”
It’s a fair question, I mean when you’re married you aren’t exactly supposed to be thinking that someone else is attractive and how you might like to have a chance at dating them.
So how do 4 married people all break that rule together?
Well there’s the story we use when we don’t really want to explain: We are all very good friends and have been for years. The friendship was so close and we were all so supportive of each other that feelings it was something beyond friendship developed naturally and we’ve all consciously decided we would allow that to happen.
It’s not untrue at all, it just leaves out the actual moment when things changed. Well, the two moments.
First of all my best friend and I got wine drunk watching Game of Thrones and ended up very distracted by each other. Even while heavily intoxicated we were having an open conversation with both of our husbands (who were present for the Game of Thrones viewing, of course) about the quickly developing interest my friend and I had in each other. They were both very okay with what was happening even though it didn’t involve them. They both knew that both of us were bisexual and accepted that having feelings for and attraction to each other didn’t change anything about the marriages.
Now, my friend and her husband had talked about having a more open relationship. It is difficult to pin point a name – open, non-monogamous, monogamish, polyamorous…. there’s many names and formats for relationships that include more than two people.
My husband and I had not really talked about actively engaging in anything like this. In passing of course we had chatted about it. I would come home and say “Hey my friend —- has this cool relationship where they see more than one person on these terms. Have you ever wanted anything like that or thought about having us and something more?” The conclusion was always the same: He was open to something like that at some point but the time was never now. There was always enough love between us and we made each other so happy. We had more growing to do together before we wanted to seriously consider adding someone else in any arrangement.
Then, a few weeks after the Game of Thrones my husband tried to send a sexy message to me requesting I send something sexy back but, as happens from time to time with our phones, he missed my name and sent it to my best friend.
Of course we tease him about how that’s a great excuse for when you send your wife’s best friend a sexy message out of nowhere one Tuesday morning.
She immediately messaged me and asked what I thought – should she tease him? Ignore it as a mistake? Or fulfill the request just to see what he would even do?
He also messaged me right away to make sure I knew what had happened.
I was busy getting ready and told both of them to have fun with their conversation and that they should send to each other whatever they felt comfortable with. I trusted both of them and really just needed to get ready for work.
As they started to enjoy flirting and teasing each other my best friend texted me to say if her and my husband were getting to connect, I should send her husband a message. I did – to say that I was on my way to work but I had a little time to chat. We got to work on getting to know each other more than anything else but Tuesday wasn’t over yet.
After work my husband called and asked what I wanted to do about the days developments and getting caught up. I told him to bring KFC home and we could chat about where we were at and where we wanted it to go.
Once we decided that we were both interested in continuing the flirtation and taking our friendship in to something more we called our friends and went to their house.
We sat around the campfire redesigning our own marriages, and how we related to each other. We formalized my best friend and I’s habit of hooking up in to a relationship we both acknowledged out loud, and agreed that we would also start seeing each others husbands.
A few weeks later we settled on the terms dating, boyfriend and girlfriend. We have been so happy together that sometimes it amazes even us.
And that’s the long answer to “How on earth does something like that develop!?”