My partner is going to marry his long-term girlfriend, and it bums me out

I just started my first poly relationship with this guy. When we first started talking he told me straight up that he was poly and that he planned on proposing to his girlfriend of two years. It didn't bother me because I was just looking for fun and not anything serious. It's been two months, and I'm not saying I'm in love with him, but I'm kinda sad that I wont get to marry him. He's literally the perfect person and I'm sad I didn't get to him first. What do I do?

Polyamory holds that "love is not a zero-sum game," meaning that if someone gets something, it does not mean that other people can't have that. Like, if I eat a cookie, then you don't get the cookie (zero-sum). But if I am listening to a song, you can also stand near me and hear the same song, and neither of us has a diminished experience of the song.

That's how polyamory works. Including polyamorous marriage and polyamorous weddings. So the framing of "who got to him first" doesn't make sense - he's a song, not a cookie. Who knows whether in two years, you two will feel ready to commit, to live together, to share lives, to blend families, and to hold a big lavish party celebrating that? 

Talk to your partner to get a feel for what engagement and marriage means for him and his other relationships - you're having fears and feelings based on your internal understanding of what relationships look like and what marriage means. You gotta get the real lay of the land rather than relying on your assumptions - that's why polyamory is all about open communication!

How do I handle wanting to marry both of my partners?

how do you handle having two partners and wanting to marry both of them?

If you’re in America, plural marriage is still illegal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t address that desire in other ways.

What is it that you want, specifically? Do you want your union and commitment to be recognized by your friends and family? Do you want to live together, sharing a home and finances and domestic duties? Do you want to throw a big party celebrating your relationship?

Identify what you want, what “wanting to marry” really means to you. Journal. Daydream. Make pinterest boards. Whatever. And then, set about making those dreams come true. It might take some unconventional work, some legal consults, some research, and some creativity - but once you figure out what you want, get out there and get after it!

My partner and I have been married for almost ten years. We recently decided to have a commitment ceremony with our mutual lifemate. I’m finding very few resources on planning our ceremony. Any help?

The thing about forging a new and mostly untrodden path is that you get to forge the path yourself! That can be simultaneously liberating and terrifying. 

Take a step back and identify what you’re looking for resources in. If it’s general event planning, lots of resources for wedding planning should be easy to tweak. Things like invitations, budgeting, venue, food, decorations, etc. for your event can be as traditional as you want.

If you mean planning the content of the ceremony itself, you may have to patch together things from your life that you find meaningful. If you’re having an officiant or someone with a similar role, hopefully you chose them because you respect their perspective on life in general and their insight into your relationship. Talk to them about what they recommend!

Is there anything from your partner’s and your marriage that you’d like to bring back in? A renewal of your vows? A family tradition you want to welcome your lifemate into? Think about ways to include that.

Is there a book excerpt, a poem, song lyrics, or something else that you and your partners find especially moving, or that you feel strongly reflects your relationship? You can read something in unison or have each person share something important to them.

Are there people in your life who provide support and guidance for your relationship? Consider asking them to share a short reflection or choose a reading to share.

If any of you belong to any spiritual or cultural traditions that have wedding practices, think about including those. Candle lighting, hand-fasting, prayer, sand pouring - anything that speaks to you. You can also make up your own symbolic ritual with anything from water to crystals to ribbons to paint.

Is there a way you want to include all the guests, or engage with the wedding party? You could do a shared dance in a circle, a guided meditation together, a ring-warming, 

This ceremony is truly yours to create. You can stick to the traditional “wedding” script of an officiant’s blessing, exchanged vows, some recitations, and a kiss, and just make each section yours with your own content. You can add anything else that works for who you are - art, dancing, silence, primal screaming - whatever feels right to you!

Some other resources:

Offbeat Bride (try searching for polyamory - there’s tons of stuff there, like this great resource)

Commitment Ceremonies section in Unmarried Equality

Polyamorous Wedding Ceremony

Wedding ritual ideas