"Six Things I Learned When I Catered My Partners’ Wedding"
Earlier today I mentioned that group marriages are an uncommon form of polyamory. (Technically they don't exist — polygamy is illegal — but I mean life-bonded groups that are marriages in all but law.) Then just as I was writing that, this happy triad marriage story popped up on The Good Men Project:
6 Things I Learned When I Catered My Partners’ Wedding
When my partners got married – to each other – I learned a lot about the people around us.
...We’re a polyamorous relationship and have been for more than three years. Recently, two of the three of us decided that the time was right to get married.
I was not one of the two.
It was an easy decision, but not a light one.... Whatever reasons two people have for committing to one another, it should be done with thought, discussion, and consideration, not because of external pressures or expectations.
I brought the cupcakes.
We began to tell people; by arrangement, I did most of the telling before the ceremony, we all did afterwards. Friends, co-workers, parents, chosen family. I came away with some insights that frankly, I didn’t expect.
1. There was an automatic assumption by many that the marriage of two meant the ending of three. This wasn’t a big surprise from more casual acquaintances, although some of the people who questioned the status of our relationship know us very well.
I think this speaks to the general lack of understanding about polyamorous relationships. No big surprise. There’s not much open conversation about them... and what there is seems to focused on sex, time-sharing, and validating the feelings of the people who say, “I could never do that.” So the idea that marriage, which is still very much about “two”, could allow for a “three”, is confounding. The relationship between the three of us did not change, only the legal status of two of the people....
2. There was an unexpected amount of concern for the “third”. And for this we were truly grateful.
On the flip side of number one, which assumed no room for a third, were the questions, “Are you okay with this?”, “Is JJ good with this?”, “How do you feel about this?” ...There was genuine concern among our friends that the “third” was okay with this decision.... We were all touched that people wanted to check-in.
3. People are still surprised when you don’t want to get married, even though they knew this, but especially when you fought for marriage equality. One of the side effects of the right to marry is pressure on gay couples to exercise that right....
4. Parents ask the most unusual questions. One parent doesn’t get it and wants to know what “take care of each other” means. We expected a lot of objections and questions, but not, “What do you mean, ‘they’ll take care of you’?”, and “What do you mean ‘build a future’?”, things that seem pretty self-explanatory.
One parent sent congratulations and flowers, two bouquets. He was very happy for his child, their marriage, and thank goodness he loves their spouse.
One parent, the ultra-religious one, asked if we were still all going to live in the house, if we were changing bedrooms (what parent asks about bedroom anything!), if there was a name-change or if they were hyphenating, and then got them a lovely card, handwriting a sentiment that showed she got it.
5. Congratulations (and parties) come from very unexpected places. Like co-workers you get on with, but you aren’t sure if they get the “poly” thing.
They’ve always been nice, but we’re in the South, and for many Southern Politeness goes bone deep. So it’s all the sweeter when suddenly, unexpectedly, your partner tell you that his coworkers threw him a “Congratulations! You got married!” party…. Allies are everywhere, sometimes in unexpected forms, if you give them a chance.
6. Cupcakes make everything better. Want to make a potentially uncomfortable situation better? Bring cupcakes.
All the better if they are in John Deere green for him, capital-P-Purple for her, and there are cookie-and-frosting sandwiches, too. We did not know how the ceremony would go. It was among a small group of friends, so that was in our favor, but you never know. Seeing it in action, with 1/3 of the relationship on the outside for the majority of the ceremony (I handed them their rings and we had a few minutes hugged together), you don’t know how people will react. When the “third” comes loaded down with frosted treats he made, it’s pretty clear he’s good with this....
Read the whole tale (October 6, 2015).