When You Have to Press Reset on Your Poly Life

Have you ever “cleared the dugout,” as they say in baseball? Or “pushed the reset button,” as they say in video games? There’s a pimp term for the same thing, but I’m not going to say it here, ha ha.

In polyamory, it’s a watershed moment—something that causes a total revamp of everything and everyone in your heart’s directions and daily actions or patterns. It could be a tragedy that causes the romantic reset. It could be a revelation about everyone you’re with that causes the reset. It could be a drastic desire to do things differently moving forward that causes the reset of intimate energy.

Nobody knows exactly when and why it might come, but trust me, sometimes in polyamory THERE COMES A TIME when you kinda sorta somewhat wish you could abandon everyone, escape it all and just run away—from everyone you’re with and everyone you’re not with! Fuck it all, I’m moving to Zanzibar!

Not all of us have the privilege or potential to just up and move away to some exotic locale, but the point remains. Are things too comfortable? Is someone taking you for granted? Times two or three? Is there a major crisis that you just can’t see your way out of except with a drastic exit? Is there a STI scare that makes you want to pause?

There could be a variety of good and bad and ugly reasons that make you want to stop seeing everyone you’re seeing, and take a five minute (aka five-week) breather from your current roster. It’s happened to me a few times in my poly paradise life.

The first time, I was in my twenties and having a ball. There were a few lovers who I was enjoying, and one I was living with. We were trying to get on the same page about what was allowed in our poly relationship. She allowed me to date other people, but HER rule was: You can only see them once, and that’s it! I thought, how is that fair? The first time is when I MIGHT discover that we have chemistry worth pursuing. How will I further explore this chemistry if I’m not even allowed to?

She didn’t really care to answer my question. She only cared to control my emotional patterns of pleasure. I remember thinking it wasn’t going to work out, but I kept trying to make it work. I was cool with her being with other partners for more than one session, even encouraging her to hook up with her long-term crush since high school who was also crushing on her. And they did a few times! Once I even walked in on them enjoying some oral action in the apartment I rented with her! So yeah, I was cool with polyamory, but she was NOT.

And it kept going like this until the day that one of my OTHER male friends found out that I was poly, and thought poly meant free-for-all. He crassly asked, “Can I have a piece?” as if I was her owner. I kept saying, “Don’t ask me first. Ask HER first, because SHE owns her body, NOT ME! Ask me second because I’m with her, and you are mutual friends.” But alas, it was not meant to be. He fucked it up, and she kept denying me the same freedom that I was giving her… and it ALL JUST CRASHED.

I just said PEACE to that whole social circle of friends—frenemies at the time—because they were NOT on the same page or wavelength as me when it came to polyamory at all. I moved into a new apartment, and said adios to the entire social group. There were nine people in the group who were exploring non-monogamy and polyamory at the time, and I left all of their presences.

I did it differently then, and I still do it differently. It was one of the smartest choices I have ever made with my heart. One of them continued to cheat on every woman he touched, and the other one was revealed to not be able to handle polyamory. My ex-lover? She got married… to ANOTHER man who I introduced her to! So it worked out for everyone.

But I had to make my move, and not be afraid to say, “This is NOT working for my heart or my dreams!” You know when you know.

Have you ever had to press the poly reset button?

Addi Stewart

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