How We Became Polyamorous

Before you read about how my husband and I came to be polyamorous, I recommend reading this post where I laid the groundwork for understanding this topic completely. In order to discuss polyamory, we first have to get on the same page about love, romance, intimacy, friendship, relationships, sexuality, and monogamy. Having a semantical misunderstanding about any of these concepts makes communication on the subject of polyamory virtually impossible.
After reading that post, you may want to go on to read about why I almost left Lytenian, my husband, in the summer of 2015.
And now, let me go back to the beginning . . .

We Met Online, 2,500 Miles Distant From One Another

Lytenian and I met on OKCupid. We had both answered over eight hundred match questions and we mutually had a 92% match rating at the time we met online, November 2009. Our first skype call lasted twelve hours! We literally talked until he had to leave for work the following morning.

Lytenian and I in 2010 in Walnut Creek (at home).
I flew out from Buffalo (New York State, U.S.A.) to visit him in Walnut Creek (California State, U.S.A.) for the first time January 2010. I stayed for three weeks which included my twenty-first birthday. April 2010 I flew back and moved in. June 2010 we had a personal hand-fasting ceremony – we married. I made a raw vegan pie in the shape of the words "I do" and surprised him with it.
April 2011 we moved from Walnut Creek to my home city, Buffalo. In that first year together we had embraced raw foods and veganism together. We had made friends together, traveled together, and stayed very much in love. We had never fought or argued at the time that we moved. There had been tense times, but never more than a few harsh words before we were already talking kindly and apologizing. Moving in with my parents seemed like a good idea at first, but as I wrote about in the aforementioned post ( about almost leaving Lytenian), he never found steady work again, and I built up increasing resentment about supporting him financially.

Lytenian and I in 2012, near Boston (on a trip).
In the winter of 2012 I received a letter from a girl on OKCupid. I was amazed to discover that she wasn't just cute and smart – she was also local. After several long letters we agreed to meet at a nearby vegan restaurant. She brought her boyfriend. That is, one of her boyfriends. She had two.
I was very, very curious about this. I'd heard of open relationships. I'd even tried having an open relationship with my third love (in 2007-2008), but it turned out that he couldn't handle the jealousy, and I wasn't good at handling it either. Besides, an open relationship was still commitment to one person. It just meant you could have sexual encounters on the side.
But this girl was doing something different. She had two relationships, not just two sexual partners. I liked her so much that after we finished eating we went for a walk. That was enjoyable too, so I invited her back to our apartment. I introduced her to my husband, Lytenian. The four of us talked late into the evening. When it was getting close to midnight she expressed that she was tired. Her boyfriend had already fallen asleep, and he was her driver. We shrugged and kept talking the majority of the night.
This amazing girl, one year younger than myself, told me all about the etiquette of "polyamory." I'd heard of polyamory before, but I didn't really know what it was, or if it was any different than polygamy. I'd heard of people having multiple wives. After all, that's in the bible. But I never thought about people doing it today – much less in America! And much less the other way around – two men with one woman!
She explained to me that she had a separate bedroom from her boyfriends, and that that was important. After all, what if one of them brought home a new girlfriend? She wouldn't want to have to sacrifice her space to give them privacy. She explained to me about making sure that her partners talked directly to each other so that she wasn't a go-between for them. She told me about having dates reserved each week for each of them, as well as time for all three of them to hang out together, and days for friends or for herself. Her social knowledge – polyamory included – was extensive.
"What do you think about this?" I asked Lytenian.
"I think we've both always been polyamorous, we just didn't have a term for it yet," he said.
And just like that, we both declared ourselves polyamorous. I've always been amazed that Lytenian has never shown a shred of jealousy, even when I gave a guy a hand job on an airplane in our first year together. (I felt stupid for having done this. It was not connecting, thrilling or delightful.) Lytenian always just wanted to know that I was safe.

Lytenian & Raederle, 2013, on Kaua'i island (on a five-month trip).
I don't know if the said girl (who introduced me to polyamory) is comfortable with being named, so I'm not naming her, but she remains my friend to this day. In April 2013 she invited me to come to a four-day polyamory gathering. Lytenian and I agreed, even though it was very hard for us to come up with the money. (Remember my book "Living Big & Traveling Far on $8,000 a Year or Less!"? Yeah. I was living on less then!) The gathering was spread over two mansions and housed fifty people.
The girl brought her two boyfriends. I brought Lytenian. The second day at the gathering I did some yoga with a friendly blue-eyed guy while most everyone else was out hiking. He then suggested we get in the hot tub together. We did. Nude is the norm at the said gathering, and when I saw him naked, I was impressed. I also enjoyed his knowledge of psychology, polyamory, relationships, and people in general. I fell for him. We slept together that night.
We made plans for that summer, but I ended up ditching the plans to visit him in favor of following a (literal) dream that told me I had to go to Kaua'i island the summer of 2013. My relationship with the guy didn't last, but it was a learning experience. Lytenian handled it all very well and was very sad for me when it ended. He held me while I cried. He was a bit stunned himself. He liked the guy too.
May and June of 2013, on Kaua'i island, we stayed with a triad – two women and one man. I had actually discovered them originally through a polyamory website, and they invited me to their farm. It was interesting to see polyamory in action first-hand. But the novelty quickly wore off. They were just people, like most people. They had their strong points and weak points like everyone else.
Later I realized that the intention of the dream that took us to the island was to save my relationship with Lytenian. It worked. My resentment dwindled to nothing while we were there. He was in better health from all the exercise, sun, fresh air and incredible vibes. Quality water also helped. (We bought a reverse osmosis system as soon as we got back to Buffalo – we were so done with drinking poor quality water!) The island experience brought us mutually to a strong space of faith in the universe. I've written about that at length at many times, in many places, so I won't get into that here. One place you can read more about that is here: Curing Chronic Constipation.

Raederle and Lytenian, 2014, in a park in Buffalo NY having a renewal-of-vows ceremony.
I had a couple different brief lovers in the summer of 2014. I learned that it wasn't someone's age, shape, relationship status or how good they were in bed that mattered to me. Those things varied, but the consistent frustration remained the same: Not enough deep connection.
It is hard to compete with the depth of connection I share with Lytenian. We've done mind-reading meditations where we pulled images from each other's mind. He's helped me face severe health challenges, and I've done the same for him. We've done many forms of consciousness alchemy together – hypnosis, neuro linguistic programming, reading The Mastery of Love, watching Teal Swan, moving meditations, co-counseling and more. He read aloud to me books by Terry Pratchett. I read aloud to him Conversations with God.

Lytenian and Raederle, 2015, during our five-week permaculture internship in Maryland.
By the end of the summer of 2015, I'd given up on polyamory. Nobody was going to be good enough to be worth adding to my life. Not while I still had Lytenian. And with all the resentment I'd harbored about supporting him financially, I thought perhaps I'd just try the single life for a while. And if you have not already read about that, you can click here to do so now.
If you enjoy reading about my life, then you'll enjoy my detailed, novel-style, online diary which you can get exclusive access to as one of my patrons on patreon: www.patreon.com/Raederle. As a patron, you'll see photos, recipes, personal journal entries, and daily realizations from me that aren't available anywhere else.
When reading, the most incredible things I've ever learned came from stories. Stories are more memorable. They create images and time-lines in our minds. They give us all the background information that lead up to a great moment, a great realization, a great break-through.
In reality, we only truly grasp ("grok") something through personal experience. We can not add to our experience through reading dry data. But we really can and do add to our experience with stories. The more detailed, authentic, and dynamic the story, the more there is for us to learn from it. The more it resonates with us and touches us, the more we retain what we've learned.
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