No one tells you what’s supposed to happen to your polycule when one of them assaults you. Do you tell them what happened? Are you supposed to? Suddenly, there’s a decision to be made and something you have to convince your partners of. You question whether or not you can trust the people you’ve chosen to bond with. Rejection and invalidation loom. The darkest thought remains– do you keep it a secret?
My ex-husband and I were gender fluid, pansexual, and polyamorous. There was room for partners we had individually, but mostly, we dated people together. Fluid, queer polycules spread across the map with us at the center. Even when we had solo relationships, we were best friends with our metas. When we split up, we had to individually decide what to tell our partners. We had a girlfriend we’d just visited. Did I want her to have an opinion on it? Did I expect her to “take my side?” Did I even have the right?
A nod to Easton and Hady, I’ve always strived to be an “Ethical Slut”– a cardinal rule of the title being that you do not interfere with relationships that are not yours. Was anything bad enough to break that rule? When you leave a polyamorous relationship, do you have the right to ask your other partners to cut off contact? What is unethical vs your moral responsibility? When it comes to abuse in polyamorous relationships, there is no guidebook.
When it comes to abuse in polyamorous relationships, there is no guidebook.
I didn’t tell anyone outside of my therapist and sister about the abuse at first. I was worried it was wrong to try and influence other people’s opinions of my ex-partner. At the time, I felt my former partner wasn’t fully responsible for their actions, which stemmed from a full psychological break, so I thought “airing the dirty laundry” wouldn’t be right.
Two months prior, I’d lost another relationship to violence. My ex and I were dating a couple who came to blows on a cross country roadtrip. Initially, I was prepared to continue to date both of them separately as their beef wasn’t my business. However, another act of violence soon came to pass and I decided to cut off contact with the guilty party. No one asked me to, but I did. Violence is a deal breaker for me.
Violence is a deal breaker for me.
After a time, I realized what happened to me was wrong and I had a right to share my story. I had a right to my grief and a right to seek counsel and comfort from my partners. I decided I had a claim to my truth, but did I have the courage to tell it? Not always. Did I have the energy? Absolutely not.
How does one react to the people they love interacting with their abuser online? Some people continue to follow both of us. The partner I confided in about the abuse recently commented, “You’re hot,” on my abuser’s page. I wonder if we lost contact because of the distance or if they had changed their stance on my trauma. I took a step back and realized there was nothing left of the polycule I had a year ago. I won’t say I didn’t have a part in that separation, but how much of it was me or the revelation of my abuse, I couldn’t tell you.
How does one react to the people they love interacting with their abuser online?
Not every situation warranted a conversation, even though I ultimately deemed it my right. I didn’t have the heart to yank people away from what they knew so I took a step back instead. Maybe they gracefully let me drift off, or maybe they wanted me to leave. I still don’t know. At the end of it all, I had to honor my boundaries and choose myself even if that meant having to let go of certain friendships and partners. They are still people I love, even from afar. I still don’t know if I made the right decision, but maybe you can read this and make a better one, although I hope you never have to.
At the end of it all, I had to honor my boundaries and choose myself even if that meant having to let go of certain friendships and partners.
About the Author
Taye is a pangender polyamorus van dwelling hippie. They’ve been traveling around the country since 2018 writing, falling in love, shaking ass, and listening to where the wind is telling them to go. A proud self started entrepreneur, she’s on the phone working arguably too much, but when he’s not, there’s adventures that are full of love for every living thing, adventures trying to put love back into the world. You can support him through any payment platform by typing in babytayebae, or by buying their book on Amazon, Jupiter Return.
Follow on IG: @Babytayebae |