One year, Karen and I took a five day cruise for vacation. It was great! Being able to unwind, a very lax agenda, room service, romantic meals by moonlight, just a fantastic experience. When we returned, Dawn was happy to see me and, after letting me go on about what I great time I had, she said she had something she wanted to talk about, and (using the tool Draft Email that is elsewhere in this book), she shared with me she didn’t like it that she and I never went away on cruises. And that I didn’t treat our relationship equal to the way I treated my relationship with Karen. And she was right…but that was the way it should be. See, I used to think that I should treat all my partners equally. But in truth, at least for us, polyamory isn’t equal and we are happiest when we don’t try to make it equal. Instead, it just needs to be fair.
The cruise I mentioned above is a great example of this. I did take Karen on a five day cruise and I don’t take Dawn on cruises like that. But, Dawn and I travel at least fifteen times a year for three day weekends, presenting classes and workshops in different locations around North America. And we enjoy the heck out of doing that – so much so that these ‘working trips’ all feel like a mini-vacations to us. So, although dawn and I could take a 5 day cruise, it would be at the cost of us doing something that we really enjoy.
Each situation and relationship is different. Although we might have an initial reaction to try to fight for equal, instead we try to figure out what we actually want, regardless of what someone else is experiencing. We realize that if sometimes we are arguing that ‘since he got ice cream, I want ice cream too!’, but when we step back and ask do we actually want ice cream we realize we actually prefer cake, or pie, or going on cruises. We ask ourselves is our only motivation because someone else got (it).
In the case of Dan and Dawn and Karen, fair is I take time to cultivate our two person relationship with both Karen and Dan, and Dawn and Dan. The shape that takes in general is different. When we take time away for a few days the activity – be it a cruise, camping, presenting, exploring coffee shops, live action role play games, or staying at home and binging on some TV show – needs to reflect what we as that coupling enjoy.