I think polyamory is a great idea, a great philosophy, and creates beautiful relationships if done correctly. But I personally love polyamory because of how it has made my relationship with my husband so much deeper, so much more healthy, and made both of our lives a lot happier even though he is a naturally monogamous person.
Communication is essential to polyamory, and while Chris and I already did a lot of communicating, there was still so much we weren’t saying. So many things we felt silly bringing up, because gosh, we’ve been together for five years, you’d think we’d be over it by now. But revolutionizing our relationship brought all of that to the surface, things that had been bugging us for years and we never mentioned. We repaired a lot of damage that wasn’t even… it’s not like harmful damage, not like something was broken or wrong, but little things, little uncomfortable things that were making our lives just a bit uneasy.
When you’re willing to ask for, to reach for a happiness that is unconventional, your mind opens up. It’s like suddenly, you start asking for a lot of other things that maybe you didn’t ask for before. It’s simple communication, yes, but it’s just making requests, expecting happiness, asking for the positive things instead of just complaining when something negative happens in the relationship. Setting aside special time, not because something is wrong, but because hey - if we’re already asking for the impossible, we can also ask for the simple things.
We’re enjoying the fuck out of each other and our relationship, way more than we were before, because it’s no longer … a necessity. It’s not “I have to be with you” it’s “I choose to be with you (and others) because I really really like being with you.” I mean… that makes it sound like before, our relationship was based on obligation. IT WASN’T, but I feel that in most monogamous relationships, there is always an unspoken undercurrent of obligation. You can’t flirt with others. You can’t act on your impulses. You can’t be with another person. You can’t have sex with anyone but me. Even with my husband, who is the most undemanding, caring, loving human being, when I flirted with others, when I lusted after others, when I had intense sexual/emotional tension with M but we held back, Chris didn’t throw a fit, go into a jealous rage, anything like that, but it wounded him a little, because the unspoken rules were being broken. Rules that he didn’t even agree with, once we started talking about them, but that had just grown into our relationship because that’s what you do.
I feel like “normal” relationships, you don’t say a lot of things. You assume a lot.You’re fitting your life into a pattern you’ve seen in everyone else’s lives.
Boy and girl flirt. Boy asks girl out. Girl dresses up. Boy is a gentleman. Girl is coy. Boy and girl refrain from calling each other for several days so as not to appear needy. Boy and girl pretend they don’t need or want a lot of things because they don’t want to come off the wrong way. Boy and girl kiss. Boy and girl have sex. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl enjoy their relationship for several months, a year, until they feel the need to live together, to get engaged, because the relationship has to go somewhere, doesn’t it? Boy and girl might get married, might have kids, might live twenty years, never bringing up those things they felt from day one, worried they’ll scare the other away.
I know this is not, at all, how ALL relationships work. I’m saying it’s a pattern that happens quite a lot, and it’s a pattern that a lot of us fall into because we’re too scared to be different, for fear of being alone.
But I think that a lot of times, boy and girl are just waiting for the other one to be weak, insecure, vulnerable, so that they can have a chance to be themselves.
And that’s what’s so great about polyamory, and probably what’s so great about the other “different” sexual/romantic communities (though I wouldn’t know haha), that once you allow yourself to step out of that pattern, to ask for what you really want, to open yourself up to whatever it is that makes you happy, to go out on a limb - a dangerous, heart-pounding, terrifying, exciting limb - and ask, just ask for what you really want, instead of settling for what you’re hoping will make you happy (because that’s what’s supposed to make you happy right?) the possibilities are endless. For you and your partner.
Yes, I know polyamory isn’t for everyone, but I think that revolutionizing your relationship by rethinking the “rules” that are naturally in place, the expectations, the obligations, the subtle things that you believe to be universal, but which don’t have to be for you - I think that is for everyone. Not just in romantic relationships, but in every part of your life.
Recent situations have given me much to think about, and this post comes from one of my recent thoughts/realisations.
People are social beings, and in being so, want to be accepted by their peers. To do this, we often find ourselves emulating, or aligning ourselves more to those that we associate with on a regular basis. This is a natural occurence, we all do it, and noone should be blamed for it.
The reason I say this now, is that I have recently realised the deeper impact of this. Because we have this natural urge to align ourselves with our peers, when we spend time with people that may hold negative views/feelings against a person, place or topic; we find ourselves subconciously aligning to those same negative views. This also holds true in the case of positive views. You might think this is obvious, we all know that it’s not good to hang out with a bad crowd, but I’ve never looked at it on these subtle emotional levels before.
When people are tired, emotional, stressed, depressed, or in any other state other than mental balance, they are more easily open to taking on suggestion, both positive or negative, both subtle and direct. With this fact in mind, it is easy to see that someone in this situation is more likely to take on those aspects of their peers, aligning themselves closer to the viewpoints of the group.
At the best of times, this hive mind aspect of human culture can be damaging, though I think that it is most destructive when combined with an existing underlying issue. Take the example of a relationship on rocky grounds:
- Everyone involved is already highly emotional, probably stressed, etc
- At times of need, we tend to turn to those around us for comfort and advice
Given what we have seen earlier, this situation has the very high possibility of being influenced by the collective views of the involved peers.
Hopefully in writing this I have been able to stimulate some thoughts, and hopefully not bore you to death on the way.
It has recently come to my attention that too many people (at least in the circles I run in) have started treating The Ethical Slut as a bible, not in the way that the bible was intended (a series of ideas, stories and suggestions to promote and stimulate ones thoughts), but it the way the bible gets used today (a collection of thou shalt and thou shalt not, used to push personal agendas) Don’t get me wrong, I think that it is a wonderful book, full of very useful pieces of information, stories, and helpful examples.
I am not immune. It was only today, after a friend mentioned something that I started to think about it. Even I have used The Ethical Slut as a “it says it in the book thus it is how it must be” tool, which I now understand is absolutely the wrong way to use it.
Let us use it for the purpose it was created. Let it stimulate and guide us through our decisions on our journey to Polyamory. But don’t fall victim to it like I and many others around me have. It is not a list of laws. Let us not treat it as such.
Hopefully where I have erred, and learned from my failure, others will be able to avoid the same situation.
8. Banish your fears. This is the biggest obstacle for most people – self-doubt and fear of failure. You’re going to face it and banish it. First, acknowledge it rather than ignoring or denying it. Second, write it down, to externalize it. Third, feel it, and be OK with having it. Fourth, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Usually it’s not catastrophic. Fifth, prepare yourself for doing it anyway, and then do it. Take small steps, as tiny as possible, and forget about what might happen — focus on what actually is happening, right now. And then celebrate your success, no matter how small.
Just a short post for those that follow this. Due to some issues that have been building for a long time I am currently single. I do hope to continue my exploration into the Poly world, and am hoping that I will actually write some more posts here as I do.
I currently have a rather long backlog of topics I want to write about, just the motivation of getting started seems to be lost somewhere on the way.
Next time.. coffee shop blog updates!
It seems a number of people have asked me what I need from a relationship, what I value in life, and similar things. I don’t imagine I will capture it all here, at least not in this first revision, but let this serve as a first attempt to document some needs and values that I have. I will repost these + more (and/or edit this post) when I figure out more.
- To be loved
- To be understood
- To be treated honestly and respectfully
- For others to hold me to the same level as themselves, not beneath
- To have enough to be able to provide for myself and those who I care for
- To be challenged and inspired by the things that I do
- To have the time to enjoy life, and all it has to offer.
- Valuing promises made and standing by them
- Having the flexibility and freedom persue my goals/dreams
- Being able to support oneself without relying on others
- Ensuring that things are done and taken care of
- Being honest with those that you care about
- Being trustworthy, and having others know that they can trust me