When I shared this blog with my Facebook friends, the reactions by the public to a life I have lived for ten years were extremely mixed. Some people have reached out to me for help in their own polyamorous relationships, and some people clutched their pearls. My own mother called me up and said that she just wished I was normal, and that she didn’t understand where she had gone wrong because “didn’t I show you what a good marriage was supposed to be like?” In regard to monogamy, sure, she showed me that monogamy existed. But a good marriage? Monogamy doesn’t equate to a “good marriage” and saying something like that insinuates that polyamory makes a marriage bad. Polyamory doesn’t make a marriage bad; verbal, emotional, and physical abuse make a marriage bad. Passive aggressiveness, cheating, deceit, and lies make a marriage bad. Only staying for the kids? Bad. All of that is bad. So polyamory involves more people and THAT bothers the public? I would rather be loved by many than beaten by one.
When people ask about my relationship status, I get really confused. Do I tell them my husband lives across the country and the man they see me with is a boyfriend? Conversations get really weird and I, in all of my social anxiety, just want to run away. Because of how I was raised and because of negative reactions from society, I would rather say that I am separated than admit to being with more than one person. That isn’t honest or fair to my husband. I would rather say my marriage is falling apart than admitting I’m loved by more than one person? How twisted is that? Unfortunately, society understands (and actually accepts) divorce and cheating more than polyamory. Look, I get it, IT MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE. But why? Because they don’t understand it? Then maybe I should clear some stuff up.
- There are different types of polyamory.
Some polyamorous relationships are considered a triangle, where all parties love and are intimate with all other parties. Other relationships are more of a “love who you want” with no expectations of intimacy from all parties.
- Being polyamorous doesn’t mean you are DTF (Down to Fuck)
There is a term I came across that I really liked: Poly-saturated. To be poly-saturated means that you are polyamorous but that you don’t have the time, resources, need, or desire to be with anyone else. Telling someone you are polyamorous is not an invite for casual sex or an invitation to start a serious relationship. Maybe I’m open to dating and I am just not open to dating you. Or maybe I’m poly-saturated. Poly-saturated means you are happily in multiple relationships and have no intention of having more. Why set a limit on the number of people you are with? See #2.
- Time is precious.
Do you recall the last time someone asked you how you are? I bet you said you are busy. And I bet you realize that you can’t find the time to complete all of the tasks you have in a day. Perhaps you feel distant from your spouse. Now, imagine having a second spouse. Maybe a third. Do you see the problem here? I have just as many hours and obligations in the day as the next girl, but I have to maintain multiple relationships. This. Is. Difficult. When something happens in my life, I have to be sure to tell multiple people, discuss it with multiple people, and relay what different people said and how they advised me to continue. You’d think group text would help with this. It doesn’t. There is a balancing act and it seems like some plates will drop. You have to keep picking up the plates.
- It can be uncomfortable.
Besides society thinking you are a freak, individual relationships are going to go through some uncomfortable growth. Communication will be pertinent and honesty regarding all activity is expected. What happens during the holidays when extended families get together? Do you wear your wedding ring to your boyfriend’s house? Because taking it off seems deceitful and disrespectful, but leaving it on will cause Grandma June to have a stroke. Situations like this must be discussed and decided upon by the people within the relationships. Verbal lines will be crossed and people will be hurt.
- There is a lot of guilt.
Am I spending too much time talking to one partner? Am I adversely affecting my child’s view on love? Am I limiting what one of my partners is receiving from me because I am so strapped for time? Would my partners be better off without me? A lot of my guilt is based upon how I was raised. Even though I am not a Christian, I have that voice in the back of my head that says I am emulating Sodom and Gomorrah and I will burn in hell. Thanks for the guilt, Southern upbringing.
- There is a lot of love and support.
This is self-explanatory.
While I have been polyamorous in my heart since I was 17, I have tried abiding by society’s rules for ten years and it led to a lot of destruction and confusion. I didn’t understand how I could be so miserable where others were happy. Only in the past two years have I addressed that I am polyamorous and have tried to make honest moves in my relationships. I am not the poster child for polyamory and I am still learning. Making my blog public to my Facebook is one of my steps of trying to “figure it out” so I can stop being afraid. Perhaps I can get advice on how to properly go about this different lifestyle from people who are successfully living it.