Hi. I’m Aggie*
If you’re reading this blog archive (published 2012-15), you’re probably trying to read between the lines, to figure out how relevant my perspective is to your life and your world. Here’s some context you might find helpful.
For this blog, perhaps the most important bit of context is that I’ve been polyamorous since about 2001, or all my life, depending on how you count.
Also, I’m a middle-aged straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied, tech savvy, mentally and physically healthy, active, college-educated, neurotypical, divorced, atheist woman. I’m child-free by choice. I’m very sex positive but not especially kinky. I’m a longtime self-employed professional, fully self-supporting. I’m not rich, but I do OK. So in the social pecking order I’m a somewhat average mix of privilege and disadvantage, I guess. At least in the context of the U.S.
I’m highly social and extroverted. I have many close friends, a wide-ranging network of colleagues and acquaintances, and mostly strong and positive connections with my immediate and extended family. From time to time I have romantic/sexual partners – sometimes a few concurrently, sometimes none, sometimes one. Regardless of my intimate relationship status, I consider myself solo poly. It’s an identity as well as a practice, for me.
I’ve worked hard for many years to consciously craft a life, career, and relationships that suit me.
I value my interdependence as much as my independence. So even when I’m in a committed intimate relationship, I still consider myself a free agent because I am always making my own choices, for better or worse. With the approval of my feline overlords, of course.
I grew up on the east coast, which explains my occasional snarkiness. I now live in a picturesque small western city populated mostly by white professionals, college students, and triathletes. I’m not crazy about the dearth of diversity and sarcasm here, but everyplace has tradeoffs.
Like any point of view, I realize this self-description is both a window and a set of blinders. All of my self-applied labels carry some baggage. I’ll try to be clear about that, with myself and with you. Feel free to call me on my inevitable crap. Just be civil about it.
When reading this blog, keep in mind that your mileage will certainly vary.
- Aggie Sez is a pen name I used when I was writing this blog, to separate out the search traffic from my other writing work. Actually, I’m journalist and author Amy Gahran. But Aggie has become a nickname, I answer to either.
I liked that you pointed out in the interview that some of the problems — like your partner inviting you into his/her world without returning interest in your world — can happen in monogamous dating and is not unique to polyamory. I adore Cunning Minx’s work in Poly Weekly, but some of her comments this time felt like she blamed couples for all polyamory ills*, and I appreciated that you both returned focus to the fact that good relationships are everyone’s responsibilities. Overall, I enjoyed this interview and hope that it does achieve the goal of increasing the awareness.
* Since the discussion was about how couples who are primary partners get dealing with non-primary partners wrong, that is not too surprising.
Thanks, Week bi Week
I can understand your reaction, that talking about couple privilege and the problems caused by it may sound like Minx or I was saying couples are to blame for these problems.
As I think we tried to emphasize in the podcast, couple privilege is a societal issue — which (like many societal issues) ends up causing a lot of problems and enabling a lot of bad behavior.
Personally I think all adults (including poly primary couples) are responsible for their own behavior and should be aware of how their behavior and choices affect others — or at least be willing to hear about it from the affected people. That includes being aware of the privilege you have (or lack), and how you intentionally or inadvertently exercise it (or counter it). That’s never a comfortable process for anyone, but it’s important. If it’s directed at a class of people that happens to include you, it can feel like you’re being blamed. That’s totally understandable. But it’s important to differentiate accountability and involvement (even unintentional involvement) from blaming.
IMHO, of course. YMMV 🙂
I just found your blog yesterday and began reading a few entries. Thank you for writing.
Your point about being better at being your own primary has struck a chord with me. For years I have heard things along the lines of ” Loving yourself before you can be loved by others ” and it always sounded so third person and very self centered. However the thought of being ones own primary sounds grounded and natural in my mind. A highly conscious relationship with ones self is something that is easy to erode and neglect when in the confines of a relationship with others. Its not to say that one should be selfish or wholly focused on self care, but people who move through life with a strong sense of purpose and integrity are much more attractive- to me anyway.
So with that in mind, I plan to cultivate a stronger primary relationship with self as I put forth my heart in my complimentary relationships.
With one simple concept you have found a devoted reader. I will return to your blog often and with enthusiasm.
I’m glad the “being my own primary” concept is helpful for you! I didn’t come up with the phrase, but it suits me. Enjoy!
I also am thrilled with your/the concept of being my own primary, though my own feline overlords consider me their secondary (after each other, I assume) and I consider my children my (non-sexual) primaries in that I make major life decisions with them forefront in my mind.
thanks aggiesez for being. wish that you were in houston, then i could learn face to face. similarly i wish that you were going to pbf in bastrop. my regards, ed fast
LOL, thanks. I very rarely get to Texas, it’s true. Enjoy!
I was just at a poly event tonight where we broke off in discussion groups and mine happened to be called “Solo Poly” — someone mentioned your site and I thought I’d drop by. I look forward to checking it out!
Hello there! I’m not sure of the best way to contact you so I thought I would write you here. This is Kitty from Loving Without Boundaries (polytalkbykitty.wordpress.com). I recently had a single poly reader ask me a question that I would like to dedicate a future blog post to. Being that I am a married poly person, I wondered if you would be interested in collaborating with me to answer her question. I thought I could answer from my perspective, and you could answer from yours, and then I would link back to your blog for further reading on being a solo poly person. Here is the question my reader asked:
Do you feel as though your ‘status’ as a married person gives you a greater stability from which to explore polyamory? I am single, & have so far found it to be quite challenging, though still attractive, in terms of reliability & inclusion into established relationships.
Thanks for your time either way.
I’ve got some major stuff going on right now, so here’s the short answer: I think that it’s magical thinking to assume that having an established and apparently committed intimate relationship or partner provides any guarantee of safety and reliability. The vast majority of relationships, of any configuration, are NOT safe and reliable. If that were true, monogamous people would never feel insecure, jealous, lonely, or unfulfilled. Personally I’ve found that cultivating personal autonomy and resilience is the most reliable way to feel happy and secure most of the time. And this helps me to make better decisions about who I do, and don’t, share my vulnerability with. I think expecting a relationship with someone else to give you a stable emotional/logistical base before exploring polyamory (or just exploring life) puts the cart before the horse — and presents a far greater risk of codependence, and of treating people like roles.
This is wonderful. Thank you so much! You are a fantastic and well articulated writer!
I think my readers will enjoy this post. I’ll keep you updated.
The post with your contribution is live:
[…] Veaux wrote an excellent post called A Proposed Secondary’s Bill of Rights, and Aggie wrote another great post called Non-primary partners tell: How to treat us […]
[…] AggieSez is a female solo polyamorist who self-describes herself as “a 40-something straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied, tech savvy, mentally and physically healthy, active, college-educated, neurotypical, divorced, atheist woman. I’m child-free by choice. I’m very sex positive but not especially kinky. I’m a longtime self-employed professional, fully self-supporting. I’m not rich, but I do OK.” Except as to the child-free descriptor, she could be describing me. But Aggie, with a decade of polyamorous relationships has had more experience than I in attempting to navigate this terrain. […]
Hi, stumbled on your blog by accident, you sound fairly fierce but very interesting (and I am often described in that way!) so I’m going to follow this blog and see how you work; my own blog is very different, but I am dedicated to exloring Polyamory, so blog-reading is part of my research.
My favourite writer on WordPress is RadicalPoly, and this article in particular: http://radicalpoly.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/poly-feminism-thoughts-on-womens-sexual-liberation/
I too am forty-something (48 actually), and self-sufficient in many ways, to the frustration of all the men who’d like to partner with me- I think I am going to adopt your saying ‘I am better at being my own primary’ 🙂
Best wishes from Australia, gabrielle
I knew I was in the right place when I saw that you describe yourself as a “free agent” in the masthead. I’ve been happily, proudly–defiantly, even–referring to myself as same, including during my recently-ended eight-year cohabiting monogamous relationship. I’ve never heard anyone else use the term to describe their romantic relationship status. But it’s the best and most concise approximator for how I view myself. Even when I was partnered. I have been anti-marriage for years, and child-free. This site is like a breath of fresh air. It’s amazing how much and how fast a human being can grow at the advanced age of 36.
I’ve always had a passion of becoming solo-poly, but currently have no idea how to get started. So I was wondering if there’s any details and requirements on exploring solo polyamory?
There are no “requirements,” just commonalities for people who practice solo polyamory:
– The willingness and ability to engage in more than one intimate relationship at a time, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved, with the possibility that more than one concurrent intimate relationship might achieve some level of commitment or depth. (That is, polyamory, not conventional casual dating).
– A willingness to accept and accommodate your partners’ other intimate relationships.
– Prioritizing personal autonomy, your own and that of others, inside and outside of intimate relationships. Making your own decisions about who/how to date, your own living arrangements, finances, major life choices, etc. Most solo poly people find avoiding living with or marrying intimate partners crucial to this goal.
– Your relationships don’t garner social couple privilege. I wouldn’t say this is a goal or a requirement, but just a consequence of choosing to not couple up in a way that appears to meet social norms. In general, cohabiting with intimate partners tends to confer social couple privilege whether you want tit or not, even if you’re not monogamous.
Best place to currently learn more about solo polyamory: the solo poly FB group: http://facebook.com/groups/solopoly
Thanks for th information and also thanks for idea about FB Group you told me about🙂
And by the way…what is “conventional casual dating “?