29 February 2008

What is polyamory?

I'm not talking about a definition or explanation you can find on wikipedia, although that is useful. I'm talking about what it actually gives you, what you find when you are poly... if everything goes relatively well.

This is more, I guess, about how polyamory feels, what I gain from it and why I am poly.

I have never really been monogamous. My earlier relationships all overlapped until I was forced to choose between the two partners I had. I chose the new partner in each situation because there were reasons that those new relationships had started up... Being poly was only a matter of time for me... and the right partner/s and understanding it myself... but what do I get out of it?

Being poly means I can love without restriction. I can find someone who I connect with and I can let myself fall in love with them, if that's where that relationship goes. Being poly means that I am loved and know I am loved by my many friends and my tribe. That we can declare our love for each other without having to second guess what it all means, because it really doesn't matter.

Being poly means that not only am I loved, I know I am loved and that is a buffer against other pain in the world. When my other partner left me, I never thought that I was unlovable, unlikeable, that I should go off and eat some worms... I knew that I was loved by my tribe, husband and friends. There were there, their love was overwhelming and positive... even when the rest of the world was dim.

So my world is filled with love, this is a good thing.

I am never alone. This doesn't mean that I never have any time to myself... because if I didn't I'd go crazy, but my partner/s and tribe are always handy to offer hugs, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, etc.

My experience of monogamy is that your sole partner is expected mostly to do all this for you, that if your partner can't fulfil all your needs then there is something wrong with the relationship and you should leave it. This of course is bollocks. There will never be one person on the planet that meets all your needs. One person who fits you so perfectly that you never feel that need X or Y is going to be unmet. Monogamy is a series of compromises. You know that this person is close to perfect, that they meet most of your needs... so you bundle those needs that are unfulfilled and put them in a box and pretend that they aren't there... or if they are safe needs... like watching soppy, romantic comedies, you find friends who will join you in that (depending on how possessive/jealous your partner is).

With poly I can go and get all my needs and desires filled. I can find the people who fit around me like the hexagonal puzzle piece I am and get my needs met. And in doing so I can be challenged and challenge myself into growing, learning and filling my potential.

One of the brightest things about poly that I have experienced over the past few years is that the love is multiplied and the pain diminished. Yes there is pain... just like there is in monogamy when partners clash or misunderstand each other... but with the extra love and support from poly friends, family and partners, the pain is lessened.

The other thing about poly is that its all about positive choice. I don't have to be asked to choose between two people I'm attracted to/love (and if I am I get very cranky) and I don't need to ask anyone to choose between me and someone/s else. I don't have to consider which partner, friend, lover, whatever I prefer over someone else. I can have it all, provided I am considerate, communicate clearly and am patient/understanding/accepting of my partner's potential jealousy or whatever.

So, in summary.... poly gives me the ability to love as much as I can, the knowledge that I am loved in return, the knowledge that I am never truly alone, the ability to have all my needs and desires met should I seek to do that and positive choice.

Of course I'm poly... it makes perfect sense to me.


Jenny B said...

This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it. As a fellow polyamorist, I love to start my day hearing the stories of others who are finding as much joy in this lifestyle as I am. I wish you all the best.

Jenny Block

Anonymous said...

This is lovely. I wish you'd write more!