Early in the summer I wrote a post about struggling to find acceptance in the poly/swinger community. At the time I wrote it, the Libertine was coming to terms with his divorce, and I was sitting in a place where I knew the Mister and I had some major work to do if we were going to stay married. The Libertine was freshly ostracized from the poly community he had worked so hard to become a part of, both online and in person. I had never been invited into such a group, but I was branching out with my online presence and becoming more brave with my words and opinions.
What happened was, as the Libertine was cut off from a group of people, I was invited into it. This was hard for me. Here was a group that had similar ideas to mine, that thought about relationships in similar ways, and that was as open about sex and love as I was. I was pleased to see my words accepted and my opinions asked for. At the same time, it was bittersweet, as the Libertine and his beautiful way with words were simply abandoned by this group, as though he had never existed.
I'm not saying that the Libertine was blameless in this. Going through what he went through was extremely difficult, both emotionally and socially. He was removed from a podcast to avoid speaking of drama, even though breakups happen in poly relationships all the time. People he thought were friends chose sides after each of his breakups, just as happens in mono breakups. The difference was, in the poly community everybody knows everybody else, so the sides were chosen along much bigger lines. I believe that even now, months later, his ex-wife and several of his ex-girlfriends are in close contact frequently.
At the beginning of August we attended a party. There is a lot to the story that I'm not going to get into, but it boils down to this: before the party we agreed on a boundary and some expectations, and I neglected both. I created a situation where there was an argument, which we took outside. I was the one who behaved badly and was wrong.
But the people at the party, the people who had invited me into their group and had let the Libertine go, they blamed him. They asked me if I wanted him to leave. I was flabbergasted. He hadn't done anything wrong. He was angry with me for ignoring boundaries and expectations I had agreed upon before we even arrived. When he got angry, he simply went outside so as not to create drama during the gathering. I am the one who followed, calling his name, making people aware that things were not okay.
Since that night, the hosts of the party and the leaders of this group of people have made it clear that they accept me, but not the Libertine. There hasn't even been a breakup, but sides were drawn. It frustrates me because both of these men have made comments about how the Libertine treated me badly that night and I deserve better. And no matter how much I explain to them that I treated him badly, they won't listen.
So here I am, feeling judged and unaccepted once again by the poly/swinger community. The Libertine and I are deeply committed to each other. He is moving in with my husband and me. But it feels as though as long as we are together, I'm not welcome within this group of people. It sucks, because I found them funny and easy to talk to, and I liked having friends that I could bounce ideas at without an ounce of hesitation or judgement. But now that's gone.
Maybe the community really doesn't want to be more unified. Maybe it thrives on drama and judgmental bullshit more than I realized. If that's the case, I'm sad for them. But I'll go on being happy with my boys, even if we have to do it without poly/swinger friends around us. If that's not the case, then hopefully we can all get along again one day soon.