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[personal profile] hollymath
Both the questions I've been asked so far -- How did you get in to being poly? and When did you decide to move to Uk? -- have the same (short-version) answer:

In general? LiveJournal. And specifically? Andrew.

He was poly when I "met" him on LJ, and while I don't quite remember how I found him (he probably does, he's much better at things like that than me) I remember he was one of a few LJ friends I had at the time who were openly poly -- open on LJ, anyway.

This was a new and fascinating idea to me: although I'd first encountered poly as a concept in Robert Heinlein books I'd read five years or so earlier, I was surprised to learn this was a thing people I knew (for some values of "know") were actually doing. And I was terribly interested in it, as were one or two of my real-life friends, so I remember us asking Andrew the kinds of questions probably every poly person is used to from people who've never heard of it. Which he answered very patiently.

My friends were explicitly asking in a kind of "I could never do this but I'm curious" way, whereas I shared the curiosity but also thought this seemed really sensible and I wished I could try it.

I assumed I couldn't because at this point I was only a month or two out from my first love having handed me my first heartbreak, so I considered myself entirely justified in believing no one could find me attractive, much less multiple people who were all fine with there being more than one of them. It seemed totally outlandish.

But pretty soon I was basically in love and Andrew definitely was. Even before we met.

I was suffering my first bout of depression and about to fail out of college because of it, though I didn't realize either of those things yet. So I was writing a lot in my LJ and staying up til all hours and not going to class or doing any of the reading or writing I was supposed to. I basically forgot how to read for pleasure but I couldn't stop writing and somehow the outpourings of my heart, which I can't even bear to go back and look at (they're all here on DW now) made Andrew fall in love with me.

And he was up all hours too, and the time difference sorta helped with this of course. We chatted on AIM (that's how long ago this was!) and on the phone, and in LJ comments. He sent me a mix CD -- all the way from England! He'd written "The Food of Love" on it, and I listened to it all the time (I think some of the reason I've been unfairly hard on some of that music since, some of his favorites, was because I so strongly associated it with my depression as well as with the new relationship, which seems unfair but I guess that's life).

So he already had a girlfriend but she lived in Texas (most of the women who like him are American, he told me at some point) so it was a long-distance relationship too. I feel like I got to practice a kind of easy starter poly where I could be abstractly okay with this without having to deal with anything that might have been actually difficult like seeing him kiss someone else or know he was spending the night with them or whatever. I was pretty sure I'd be fine with those things, I felt fine, but I was also aware that my feelings hadn't really been tested and that sometimes things that make sense can still produce emotions that don't.

And ironically, it took me ages to find out because that relationship ended fairly soon after I met Andrew and since then he hasn't had any more! I think he still considers himself poly, he's certainly been fine with me being, but hasn't found anybody else he's interested in...which kind of makes sense now that we know he's autistic and struggles a lot to meet and get close to people (I think it's less that only Americans fancy him, as he told me, and more than he suited the text-based ways of getting to know people that were common in those days of LJ and mailing lists, and that most of the people there were Americans just because of population statistics in the anglophone Internet).

So that's how I got into poly, and got Andrew out of it (when the other relationship ended, I reckon that he wouldn't have been looking for new ones anyway and it was only because I was already there that I got grandfathered in)! Except of course not: poly people are poly however many people they are or aren't dating. He's certainly been supportive of the several relationships I've had, a friend-with-benefits or two, a few times I got my hopes up too early, and even a one-night stand.

As for how I got to the UK, neither of us could get to the other's country on our own, on a work or study visa, so we realized eventually that we'd have to break up or get married. Sounds awfully unromantic, doesn't it?

I think I was the one who'd more seriously miss my family and home, but Andrew lived in the country with public transport and health care and whike it was an intimidating, expensive, stressful, demeaning nightmare to immigrate to it was at least possible, whereas it'd have been impossible for me to get him to the U.S. And that's why I'm
here.

The second part of that when did you decide to move to the UK question is "Have things gone as you expected (since nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition nor the nearness of Fascism)?"

And I'd have to say yeah, I did expect I was moving to a "better" country. I first visited in 2004, while the Iraq War was in full swing and we (or, more accurately, the Diebold voting machines) were about to re-elect President Dubya. When people heard my accent and asked if I was Canadian, I said I wished I were.

It's still better, despite them both doing a race to the bottom in recent years. My access to health care, to public transport, to support for living while partially sighted may seem a joke to any Brit who knows what they're like but they really are the envy of my family.

My quality of life here is much higher than it would be in the U.S., even though I'm an immigrant here. I have to suffer the bureaucratic discrimination that successive governments have set up for non-EU immigrants, which they invent while thinking of hordes of black people and Muslims, but I still benefit from white privilege and the privilege bestowed by being an English speaker with either no discernable foreign accent or at least one of the socially acceptable ones (in other words, whether I sound American or English these days seems to be a matter of individual opinion). A certain kind of Brit loves to tell me about how much they hate American cultural, economic and linguistic imperialism, but no matter how much they hate Starbucks or the word "awesome," they're not going to beat me senseless or vote to leave the EU because of me as some would if i spoke English with, say, an Eastern European accent.
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