I think it's rare in general to stay friends with ex partners, let alone close friends. It's one of the things that I love and appreciate about Henry- when John and I are texting way late at night, it doesn't bother him or make him insecure. How many vanilla men would be okay with their partners having frequent late night conversations with their exes? For that matter, we still go over and hot tub nude with John sometimes- how many exes would be okay with their old partners coming over to hang out with new ones? And yet we can all be friends and it's all okay. I still care for John very much, maybe even love him in a non romantic way, but I have no interest in dating him anymore. The best part though? Even if I did want to date him again, everything would still be okay :) It's wonderful that we can all treat each other with respect and enjoy our connections for what they are. It really does make me happy.
John's family in particular is such an amazing example of polyamory. His sister invited Henry and I over for a party, and she does throw awesome parties! But the poly web that was there was just so supportive and amazing that I could only hope one day to have as many people care for me as they do. John's sister had all four of her partners there- her husband and two boyfriends and one play partner, and they had partners of their own there, including her husband's girlfriend of several years who might be moving in with them. No conflicts, no jealousy... just a lot of love. While I wouldn't want to structure my relationships exactly the way that they do, I really admire that they have found a way to make it work and be happy, and that's what matters. There's so much potential once people realize it's okay to get off the relationship escalator and structure your relationships with whatever boundaries work for you and your partner(s).
We've been having some happy poly moments ourselves. While our friend Donna is, as I mentioned, sadly straight and mono, we're both very close to her. Henry and I had a conversation in bed about how nice it was that we could actually talk about our feelings. He told me that he wants to fuck her, and I laughed and said I did too. The other day when she came over for dinner, we were all drinking and Henry offered her some cuddles. He is such a cuddle slut and I know that she's been out of relationships for a long time- she just melted in his arms. I was next to them rubbing her legs and we all just chatted about sex and relationships and family and whatever else, and it was all okay. Henry and I were joking about how many bad places that could have gone, like I could have been passive aggressive and tried to scare her off from being his/our friend, or I could assume that him cuddling her meant he didn't love me, or so many places where we could have handled the situation badly. Instead, we ended up growing our close bond with a special friend and we still went upstairs and fucked afterwards :)
The best part is that Donna has been asking questions about polyamory. I don't think she is interested in dating multiple people, but at least now she gets more of what it is about to us. She and I had a discussion afterwards where she admitted that her first reaction in a situation would be selfish, and she really admired that mine was for her and for Henry enjoying their cuddles. It helped me to do some more self examination about what makes me feel jealous and why, so that I could explain it to her.
I was not jealous when she and Henry were cuddled up, although I have felt a little uncomfortable in the past (not with her- that was their first time. Other times with him cuddling people). Henry still laughs when he compares it to mainstream culture, how I'm quite happy watching him play or fuck someone else, and might even be turned on by it, but I feel a little jealous when they cuddle up. To me, cuddling is more intimate than sex. So, I got to break down why I was NOT jealous this time and the best way I could explain it was because I know Donna. I care about her and her needs and wants, and I trust her. I know she is not going to try and run off into the sunset with Henry. I felt compersion for them getting some good cuddle time in. They also both kept me included in the conversation so I didn't feel left out, which helped a lot.
I know that jealousy is a response, and not an emotion, so I try to break it down when I feel that way to figure out what the real problem is. I know that I get jealous when my own needs aren't being met, or if I feel insecure in my relationship with my partner. I can also add that I will be more likely to feel jealous when I don't know my partner's partner, so they are a faceless entity that I know nothing about and therefore can't trust or feel safe with. I have asked Henry that when he does start dating as long as his partner is okay with it that I would like to get to know them- hopefully they will be okay with that because I suspect it will be easier for us all.
I don't know when either of us is really going to start looking for new relationships. I am sure it will happen at some point but I'm not looking. My life is still a bit of a mess so I'm much happier bringing home the occasional third or fourth body to share our bed for the night, or going off for a casual fling myself :) But who knows what the future holds?