I read a question post in one of the many poly groups I’m in on Facebook, asking for advice on how to get along with a metamour, especially one that you don’t have much in common with. I left a short answer because I felt like I was rambling, but I came to think more about it and here’s what I came up with:

I don’t know about without a lot of commonalities – I tend to find that people tend to be attracted to people that usually share some characteristics/interests. I find that the best way to try to make nice with metamours, even if you’ll never be friends per se is to try to find those commonalities and to be able to communicate about your partner in common.

I have had a couple relationships/friendships/interestships that outlasted my relationship with our partner in common (and in the two cases I can think of off the top of my head – also their relationship with the partner in common, though not always through break-up).

I feel blessed for the former metamours I have in my Facebook (and sometimes real) life:

1. The one who posts pictures of them and their kids, so I can see how their life has been even though I lost touch with them years ago;
2. The one who posts thought provoking articles and fabulous pictures (she is a truly talented photographer) and her partner who I occasionally nerd out with (and secretly have a tiny crush on *shush*);
3. The one who, along with my mother (and my partner, of course), is helping me plan my handfasting. He will be officiating at it. He is one of the very few people outside of my immediate family I would trust with my life.


The Past…

Normally, I love to know people’s backgrounds. Where they came from helps me figure out why they are who they are. I don’t often ask questions, but usually let things come out organically, only asking questions to supplement that.

My partner Trydaen is, well, fairly closed up about his past – not that I think that it is an on purpose, to spite me thing. It seems to me that he doesn’t find it terribly relevant to the present – which is almost exactly opposite of how I see the past, but I can understand it fairly well. I’ve found that the more time I spend with him, the more little tidbits come out about his childhood through his 20s – including about his marriage.

He was technically married (but separated) when I met him and several years later when we started to date, but I never met her – I know nothing about her, short of the little bit I have gleaned from stories/context from him. It seems that she was not relevant anymore to his relationships at that point in time, so why bother? This has bothered me more and more over time – this was clearly someone he cared about enough to say yes to marriage when she proposed it and spent a large chunk of time with. Why? What happened there to sour him to notion of ever doing it again? It clearly didn’t sour her – she was remarried six months after the divorce was finalized.

But I have never known how to ask about that. How do I treat it? As I would, with all the curiosity I have? Cautiously? I don’t actually know whether it is a sore spot for him or whether it is simply no longer relevant, so no longer worth speaking about?

So I am trying. And I am proud of myself for that. When we were watching an episode of Bones a few weeks ago and (spoiler alert) Booth and Bones get married and Bones’ dad gives her away (after a speech from her about how it is just to make him happy and not a symbol of the passing of bride from father to husband) I got up the courage to ask whether his ex-wife had been given away by her father. He didn’t remember – didn’t think she had, but didn’t remember.

So that’s one thing. But what other questions can I ask to get to the why?