I made reference to the fact that polyamory was something I started considering when I was 15; I thought I would explain a little.
My home life was not the best. My parents split when I was 8, but that was mostly a good thing. The adults I knew wouldn't believe me, but I was really glad that they didn't live together anymore... Mom and Dad got along much better living apart, and I was happy that there were no more screaming matches. A few years later, they both chose new partners who didn't really feel that I fit into the picture. My parents individually chose to deal with those partners. Maybe it was low self-esteem, I'm not entirely sure. All I knew was that I became the lowest priority in both households. At my mom's it was mostly having my needs ignored for an alcoholic who would disappear for weeks at a time, then later taking care of my siblings as a second parent whenever I was around and he wasn't. At my dad's there was occasionally outright hostility from my stepmother in addition to being ignored much of the time.
As a result of not feeling like my house was a home, spending time at my mother's where it was also not home, spending time at the homes of friends and family whenever possible, and the emotional strain it put on me, I exhibited some signs of traumatic stress. Namely, that I felt like I was a different person when I was in each of these places, and that I was actually living multiple lives. There were times in my teen years when I carried on more than one less-than-serious relationship at a time... I didn't feel like I was being unfaithful, because I felt like I was a different person living more than one timeline. There are still occasionally memories which pop up and cause me to realize that while my brain remembers it as a singular event, it was really occurring simultaneously with other events that happened in different locations.
Most of the time, it wasn't really an issue. I had more boyfriends than anyone knew about, but most of them were also not serious. Until, of course, they were. Shortly before I turned 15, I met a boy and fell in love. Shortly after my birthday, I met another boy and fell in love again. This time, Boy #1 and I had a correspondence via mail, and Boy #2 and I went to school together. They fulfilled very different roles for me; #1 was creative, emotional, and needed a certain amount of nurturing which I was able to provide. #2 was quite different; logical, intelligent (in fact, one of only two people I've met who have been on the same level as me intellectually), and the strong caretaker I also needed emotionally. I loved these differences, and appreciated the fact that they provided very different things for me. I realized that I wanted all of those aspects in my life, and wondered at the fact that more people didn't. I wanted it to be okay to have two boyfriends, but I just *knew* that it never would be.
So the guilt ate away at me. I was a whore, a slut, a liar and cheater who didn't deserve love in any form... as far as my brain was concerned. I eventually came clean to both of them, after breaking up with Boy #2 since he came into my life second. #1 didn't really care, and I found out later that he had been carrying on a relationship with another girl for the first couple of months we were "dating." Which maybe should have bothered me, especially since he lied about it, but I didn't care. In fact, I was happy that he had someone to take care of him while I wasn't around. He also ended up having a relationship with my best friend, which also didn't bother me.
(I wrote the previous in January, was interrupted, and put the post on hold. Knowing that I had this monster post to get back into has kept me from the blog since, but I finally decided to suck it up and continue.)
Eventually, Boy #1 moved away and I found out that he had been lying about some other things. I resumed my relationship with boy #2, but the guilt from my past actions still weighed on me and grew into a giant brain dragon. I became convinced that I was a terrible person (my mom helped some with that, actually, but that's another story for another time.) and eventually broke up with him because I was convinced that I would hurt him...
Yeah, well it made sense when I was 16 and crazy.
Later, when I was 17 and crazy, I had another poly prelude type experience. Boy #1 had returned to the area, and we tried having a relationship again. I was also sort of having a relationship with his best friend. They both knew about it; they lived together. The funny thing was, there were jealousy issues, but it wasn't how you'd think. Boy #1 was actually jealous that I was taking up some of Best Friend's time, not that I was dating someone else. That situation was one of the happiest of my teen years, but it ended on a bad note when Boy #1 said I couldn't come over anymore, and Best Friend was too passive to do anything about it.
It was shortly after that fiasco that I met First Husband. He knew about my somewhat unusual relationship history, and accepted it. In fact, it kind of turned him on. There were a couple of periods where I carried on emotional and somewhat physical relationships with others while we were together. He knew something of the emotional content, and thought that it wasn't really any different than having a best friend of the same gender, but I lied (well, lied by omission) about the physical aspects.
A few years later, we ran into Best Friend where he was working. First Husband had actually known him before I had met either of them, and we each rekindled our friendships... which led to a lot more story, and I feel that the next chapter deserves its own blog post. When I feel up to the task, that is.