Though sheís new to poly lifestyles and still adjusting to the terminology, one might call Heidelís living arrangement a poly-fidelitous closed triad, though she prefers to just call it her pride. Prior to discovering poly lingo, thatís what she called her family: a pride of lions. Heidelís pride consists of one other beautiful woman, one gorgeous man, three sons, two stepsons, a step-baby on the way, one very, very old pitbull named Jones, two snakes, a bunch of lizards and toads, and one ham-eating Eastern box turtle named Gary. Heidel writes from Central California.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

New Year, Old Love

I started 2007 madly in love with a man and a woman. Our relationship began one sweltering June night the year before when I pulled up in front of the Lion and Lionessí house, road weary from a weekís drive across the country. We were friends, we thought, the living arrangement temporary. Until that night in early October when our feelings came pouring out in a drunken, loving heap in front of us all. And though it scared the hell out of us, the three of us embraced it for what it was and waited to see where it would lead us.

All through that warm autumn, and into the cool California winter, our new love burned. We were as weird as everyone thinks a poly triad would be (or should be) Ė if we werenít flitting around town showing each other off, we were snuggling in bed and steaming up the bedroom windows. New Years Eve we held each other and swayed to Camper Van Beethovenís guitar and fiddle in the Mission District in San Francisco. I wrapped my arms around Lioness and rubbed my pink cheeks into her thick mane, and strangers told us we girls were a beautiful couple. Lion kept his hands on us both. By Valentineís Day we were exchanging rings, eating lobster beneath candlelight and chasing each other around the house in lingerie.

A year later, the NRE has faded some; ďmarriedĒ life has settled in. Lioness conceived that Valentineís Day and delivered a healthy Scorpio boy around Thanksgiving. The Lion took a good job offer in May, which has since whisked him away to the northern end of the state five days out of the week. And this fall, I took the opportunity to take a day off of work each week to pursue my elusive college degree. Our weekends together now are less about steam and lingerie and sexiness than they are about diapers and laundry and homework. But there is no less love. And for that I am grateful.

For our one year anniversary, Lioness and I surprised Lion in his lonely hotel room upstate, and we flitted around the hippy mountain town Lion currently called home. Lioness took us out to eat at a French bistro where a woman in an organza dress played love songs on an upright piano and the filet mignon was cooked to perfection. Shortly after Lioness flew away to visit family and left Lion and I alone for the first time. He came home early that week and we honeymooned in our quiet house, just the two of us, truly exploring each other for the first time in our 15 years of friendship. When Lioness came back to us, we were ecstatic to see her. Lion and I had confirmed our commitment to each other in her absence. And our commitment to each other made our commitment to her that much stronger.

But the year wasnít all champagne and roses. I fumbled through more than one relationship faux pas, and wondered at times if I was doing the right thing. If all the work Ė the talking, the tears, the fear Ė was worth the love. I was a terminal lover, someone destined to divorce once married, so I thought, and as much fun as I was having, I wondered would this love last? It took a child to change my mind. A child conceived by all of us, born with all of us nearby, to make me realize that Iíd made a commitment I couldnít easily discard. Iíd found a love stronger than Iíd realized, in a place Iíd never thought to look.

And for that love, Iíve made many changes this year. Those changes have been a catalyst for something surprising: an intimate, creeping, deeply embedded happiness I never thought Iíd experience. As hard it was to find such happiness, finding it was the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how to keep it, how to maintain it. To that end, Iíve created a list. Iíll call it my New Yearís Resolution list. So, as the year grows thin and the new prepares to replace the old, I hereby resolve...

To express love to each of my spouses every day. A good night kiss. A caress. A helping hand. A declaration.

To communicate constructively whenever I feel. Angry. Jealous. Upset. Hurt. Dismayed. Proud. Loving. Overjoyed.

To not get offended when others feel. Angry. Jealous. Upset. Hurt. When these emotions belong to others, they donít necessarily need to belong to me.

To share my life, and never to hide it from my loves. My joys. My sorrows. My triumphs. My failures. My hopes. My fears.

To not dwell in sorrow. To brush off my failures. To conquer my fears. And to ask for help from my loves when I can not do so alone.

To celebrate my joys. Every day.

To celebrate my loves, my spouses, my children. Every day.

To write love letters. One a week. One a day. To read them over the phone. To slip them into a pocket here. An open hand there. To whisper them into an ear. To shout them to the moon.

To gaze into my lovesí eyes. To kiss long and deep. To feel my heart open when Iím near my loves. And to leave that heart open, no matter how thrillingly scary it is to do so.

To dream about my loves on the nights I sleep alone.

To never take pillow talk for granted on the nights Iím not.

To give out foot rubs and neck rubs without being asked.

To cherish every moment I have to myself. To pay attention to myself. To spoil myself in what quiet time I can find. And I resolve to always, always cherish every moment I am not alone.

Heidel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Heidel ; December 30, 2007

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