I try to be careful and precise with words. I don't say "disinterested" when I mean "uninterested," or "butter" when I mean "margarine." But one word I was always sloppy about was "couple." Maybe it's supposed to mean precisely two, but to me, it always meant something like "a small number, more than one, but less than a few." Maybe that's why I wound up in a three-person couple.
Back in the idealistic sixties, after I'd read Stranger in a Strange Land, I of course assumed that I would wind up living in a multiperson Nest because anyone who really wanted to could overcome White American conditioning, jealousy, possessiveness, etc., etc. Like many of those who read the book (perhaps including the author), I neglected to notice that only those who had first attained Martian Super Psi Powers managed to overcome White American conditioning, jealousy, possessiveness, etc. etc.
But even after the idealism had worn off, I did not go back to believing that precisely two people (or precisely two adults plus their children) was The Right Number Of People For A Family. For one thing, this model included an ideal male (Daddy) and an ideal female (Mommy), and I did not particularly resemble either of these. For another, there seemed to be a number of tasks, responsibilities, and general annoyances that existed on a Per Household basis, and the more people there were in a household, the less each had to do. Finally, I was (and remain) convinced that the human race is more interestingly varied than the current theories allowed. I had not yet realized that no two people have exactly the same sexual orientation, but I was certain that any map which showed one or two sexual approaches, or even one or two healthy approaches and a scattering of deviants, did not adequately represent the territory.
Moreover, I had a few personality traits that made me a candidate for a nonstandard family. If I no longer believed that sexual jealousy was a bit of atavistic nonsense that could be easily overcome by any person of good will, I was still a bit wary of the concept, ready to go beyond the signal reaction one was supposed to have to "infidelity" on the part of one's mate and decide whether particular cases were good or bad.
I also am mostly not competitive. I do not say this as a boast or as an effort to start an argument. I believe that there are people who see things in terms of competition and people who see things in terms of success/failure (against absolute standards), or as I sometimes put it, people who are neurotic about losing and people who are neurotic about failing. I am one of the latter. This has its advantages and disadvantages; competitive types, for instance, have a built-in reasonableness factor in what they hope to achieve (and more important, will feel bad if they don't achieve).
In particular, not being competitive means that I am not concerned with whether I am getting all the sex, love, companionship, etc., or even most of it, but with whether I am getting enough, for me.
Bernadette Bosky and I started out with an open relationship, but one in which we soon agreed that we intended to spend the rest of our lives together. In 1987, she fell in love with Kevin Maroney. I was not at all surprised that this did not mean she lost interest in me. I liked him right away. As the three of us grew closer, I was a bit insecure about the whole thing. I had been involved in multiple relationships before, but I had never been part of any relationship as committed as the one with Bernadette.
On the other hand, I couldn't see any reason to stop. Kevin and I liked one another a whole lot, but were not sexually interested in each other (which is obviously better than one being interested and the other not). It also quickly became obvious to me that Kevin was good for Bernadette. With a number of difficulties, including my drug problems and her recovery of bad childhood memories, Kevin was a tower of strength for her.
And so, we continued. Kevin was around our house more and more, and we became more and more convinced that the three of us were meant to spend our lives together.
A couple of years ago, the three of us began thinking of moving from North Carolina to the New York City area. This was particularly important to Kevin, who wanted to get into the comics business, but Bernadette and I also saw it as a source of opportunities.
When my mother died (in May 1991), we were all set to move up to the New York area, as she had told me that she was going to leave me the New Rochelle house in which I had lived. It turned out, though, that she had changed her mind and decided to leave me, not the house, but enough money to buy the house. Since the house needed lots of repairs, this would be a serious problem. The three of us considered the problem and decided that we still wanted to live in the New York area. We found the house we now call Valentine's Castle, closed on it late April, 1992, and began the move.
It's all been working out very well. There are, as ever, adjustments to living together, but Kevin unsurprisingly turns out to be a whole lot of fun to live with, and has many useful traits, including the willingness and ability to drive into New York City. We continue to be happy, and we are convinced that this is going to go on for quite a while. [written 1993: still working in 2006]