I recently came out of a monogamous situation yet again due to compromising too much of myself in order to meet my partner’s needs and her unable to meet all of mine which has me re-considering poly. Poly-amorous arrangements can work as long as all parties communicate effectively in an honest and open manner. It can however be difficult when emotions run high or if one person wants more than the others involved. This can sometimes create conflict within the entire poly-arrangement, but despite the risks, it has been my experience that these relationships, because they are ongoing and intimate, fulfill multiple desires and/or wants much better than most conventional one-on-one situations because we are programmed to believe that one person should meet all our needs, but how realistic is that?
So, what exactly does poly-amorous mean? I can tell you what it is not. It’s not cheating, swinging, a one-night stand, or serial monogamy. The first thing to understand is that anyone who is Polyamorous is not just in it to have sex with lots of different people. This is a misconception and misunderstood by society. Poly situations involve two or more people in a caring, nurturing, intimate, enjoyable, and satisfying existence. Poly is a non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people at the same time. It’s a conscious choice in choosing how many partners to be involved with rather than loving only one person at any given moment. Not to be confused with open relationships which allow for outside experiences, however, these tend to be short-term liaisons, whereas poly-amorous is ongoing and lifelong for the people involved.
The difficulty with poly-relationships is sometimes you may feel unstable, insecure or not grounded. Most folks involved in these arrangements live active, busy lives and this can prove a detriment if you find yourself needing at least one of your partners but neither were available at that particular moment. I experienced this first hand during the holidays a while back. I was involved with a married couple whose family was not aware of their poly-arrangement with me so I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas without them. This was very hard for me because I was ex-communicated from my own biological family at the time because I was gay so I felt very alone. We did eventually celebrate our own holiday together and despite this particular situation, my relationship with them was filled with more positivity than negativity. And when things really mattered, they never let me down. I did feel a sense of security and was loved unconditionally even if at times it didn’t seem that way, keeping in mind that poly is a choice, after all.
The added pressures and often times unrealistic expectations and responsibilities that come from being monogamous can lead to infidelity, jealousy and mistrust. Unfortunately, what ends up happening is you break up and if you’re lucky, remain friends. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just kind of sad, you spent all this time getting to know the person, feeling comfortable with them, but for some reason, maybe they can’t give you everything you want so you have to move on because it seems easier or as some might say, ‘the right thing to do.’ That’s not to say that these same issues can’t creep into poly too, just less likely. The beauty of poly is that with good communication comes respect, trust and honesty. These ongoing and often committed relationships to the parties involved can be advantageous and enrich one’s life. So, don’t be afraid to talk about poly, you might be surprised by people’s openness to the idea.
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