The hardest poly

Photo by Ai Nhan on Unsplash

Ashtar Deza
by Ashtar Deza
1 min read


  • Blog


  • Polyamory
  • Therapy
  • Trauma

It’s been several years, but I remember this moment vividly. My heart shriveling in my chest, the emotions strong enough to physically hurt.

It was my first full foray into poly. A closed quad, over long distance. We worked so, so hard at it. Sometimes it really was wonderful, but just as often it was so incredibly painful.

The four of us were in a vacation home, our first “family vacation” as we called it then. Our foursome was drawn according to very classical lines: two couples, essentially doing partner exchange.

I loved my metamour dearly, called him my brother in fact. However, he wasn’t ready to get sexual with me present in the room. I respected that. So, when the other three told me they’d like to do a threesome, I consented. I wanted to be generous, I wanted to enable them.

I had no idea.

I really hadn’t properly imagined what it would feel like to be outside a locked door, hearing the sounds of sex and passion from the other side, and to know you’re not welcome. That you’re excluded in that moment.

I broke down and cried, but tried to keep quiet to not spoil the moment. I put on my shoes and went for a long walk by myself.

Later in therapy, I learned about the concept of a generous gift. Something given freely, with no string attached. Such a gift brings joy to both the giver and the receiver. Any gift that isn’t generous will invariably lead to anger and resentment. It will have a tacit expectation of reciprocation.

That day, I gave more than I had to give. I didn’t set boundaries, I didn’t put my own mask on first. I had so much to learn.

The memory came back to me yesterday, and I wanted to give past Ash a big hug. Those experiences shaped who I am today, but I’ve grown since then.

Poly is amazing, and sometimes it requires hard work. But I’ll never again let it be this hard.

Enjoying my writing? Leave me a message on Mastodon!