Polyamory is not an allergic reaction to bad past relationships
My poly-journey started many moons ago, in the throes of monogamy. I had always been very lucky in love as many beautiful souls have allowed me to love them.
So why did I feel guilty and antagonized by my feelings to love more?
That’s when I started reading about and experimenting with polyamory. It took some time, many trials and errors, a little bit of heartbreak, and a lot of perseverance but that’s true of all relationships, isn’t it? It’s been a long road but I feel I’m finally coming out of my stumbling poly-adolescence and emerging a more surefooted grown-up.
Most of the time, when I tell people I identify as polyamorous, they just assume it’s a fancy word for a sexy free-for-all sans accountability. There are many things that poly can be but it most certainly is not that. That’s called being single (and a bit of a jerk).
If you want a free ride on the anti-commitment train, stay single. Someone looking for, or in, a poly relationship is still in a relationship; it’s just a different kind. There are still rules to follow. The difference is there is no standardized version of it to fall back on.
You have to define these rules for yourself along with your partner(s) and come to mutually beneficial agreements. Whether it means having other purely sexual partners, other romantic partners, or a mixture of both besides your primary partner, it’s up to you. In the end, for it to work, everyone involved must commit to loving each other freely, openly, honestly and for love’s sake alone.
Another misunderstanding I often hear is “oh, you just haven’t met the right person yet.” This understanding, that my poly-ness is some sort of defect in myself or my past lovers, that all it would take is for someone to just “love me right” and I’d regain my “capability” of loving others “right.” Of course, in these terms, the “right” kind of loving is monogamous.
The problem here is that I’m not broken. My need for many loves is not an allergic reaction to bad past relationships or some kind of abuse. My need for many loves stems from my heart and my soul and the fact that I love people. I want to experience all the greatness and profound connections this world has to offer.
What sort of person would demand that I ignore a part of myself, romantic or otherwise, to satisfy their own insecurity? Asking someone to remove jewels from their crown just so I can carry it is not true love. I would never ask that of someone so no one should ask that of me. If anything, we must get stronger hands.
Many people worry that if their partner has another boy/girlfriend, they will have less affection for them. The good news is this is entirely false and I’ll tell you why. Your love is not a grapefruit. That is, your love is not a finite resource.
Love does not have limits. Our time, money, and other resources do, most definitely. But not our love. It’s up to you how you spend those resources but I am not rationing out pieces of my grapefruit-love to make relationships with multiple people work.
Look, none of this is easy. Having multiple voices at the table can be noisy but the best part is, when it works, it works. That’s when things really start to get exciting.