I remember the epiphany that I was poly. I had found myself in yet another “relationship” where I cared for the person, loved who they were, and found moments of intimacy that went outside of the boundaries of swinging and open and kink. I was like “Damn, I AM poly.”
I remember the realization that, for me, loving someone in addition to my husband was like having a second child. You realize it’s not that you have this finite amount of love you have to split between two – each getting less than before. No, your heart grows and suddenly you have an abundance.
And because you want to see that person happy – and you get off on the happiness s/he has in her/his life, you find a deeper love and support.
But here is what I’ve begun hating about poly….. it’s the thing to be. People who have never felt their heart grow two sizes with the addition of a partner declaring they are poly is a problem for me. Because I have seen many times that when the rubber meets the road, they can’t do it. They struggle with jealousy, demand rules and hierarchy, and final approval of who else is allowed to enter their partner’s heart. And while jealousy is nature as an emotion, the responses with limitations, and rules, and more and more boundaries, with the final one being I get to choose the person for you – well, that’s a sign of trust issues in the primary relationship as well as intimacy issues. And both are HUGE signs that poly is a bad idea. Fuck, open may be a bad idea too.
But I have seen people wear that moniker proudly – then fail even more spectacularly and publicly. Or so it feels. Then they damn poly forever as being evil.
Here is my own discovery in the poly evolution…..I didn’t know how poly could be….until recently. I had my first real poly experience. An experience where I felt connected, found deep intimacy, found trust, and who didn’t use who I am against me.
You see, I can love anyone I care about. But to love someone so deeply that you will lay yourself vulnerable before them…..that is a rare thing. That is polyamory to me because we naturally love friends and family, but to love someone in a way you want to pull them into your life and you want to be pulled into their life….that is rare.
Now some are going to feel I am betraying the idea of poly. We can all love each other and be poly. Yes, by the strictest definition then, everyone is poly. Now let’s all join hands around the fire and sing Kumbaya with flowers in our hair. But if we believe monogamy is the counterpart to polyamory, then shouldn’t the measuring stick be to find the love and intimacy you would with a committed, monogamous partner? And if that is the measuring stick (which in my case I am using it as), then shouldn’t true poly be just as hard to find?
A few days ago, I came across a quote that I have seen mono and poly people make to a poly person.
“When a monogamous couple suffers a break up, people don’t blame monogamy– they give condolences and are sensitive to a mourning period before saying, “there are other fish in the sea.” When a poly person breaks up, (which rarely happens because they usually just include new lovers and/or transition into best friends,) people can’t wait to say, “I told you so” and “isn’t it time you got serious and settled down?” “ – Kamala Devi
We have double standards between poly and mono relationships. We view them as different. And maybe, just maybe, that is the problem. That is why they fail. That is why they can – like in the above – transition so seamlessly into a friendship. Maybe they can do it because they were not the deep, intimate relationships that people have in monogamous relationships. And then, when they do find it (like I thought I had), people view it, not as a deep and intimate connection, but as a friendship type of love on steroids.
I will admit, I’ve had some pretty shitty things said to me over the past few months. Things like “great, you can get over it now”. Things that have made me wonder, aloud (because that’s how I am), if someone would say that about a relationship a monogamous person had ended? Their sputtering, fragmented sentences tell me that, no – the would not.
So am I poly?
I am poly capable.
I do not seek poly because I do not believe that just because we play or we go on a few dates that it means I’m looking to say “I love you” the same way I would say it to G. Just because I am capable of poly does not mean I want it with you, or you or even you. It may not work. A friendship and a play relationship may be a better fit. For example, an old play partner of mine is actually a damn good friend. Always has been. We just never had anything more than a friendship and a play date once a week. It was great and perfect. And he has been an amazing friends even remotely as I go through my shit. Do I love him? Absolutely. Does he love me? Yes. But are we poly, no.
Will I do poly again? I don’t fucking know. Maybe once I feel like the stitches in my heart have healed and dissolved, and I can go out in the community without a pep talk to myself – maybe then, I can explore that idea. Right now, I want to breath in and out, then find a day where I don’t have to remind myself so much to breath in and breath out. I know I’ll get there, but right now – because I’m an analytical sort – I look at what I need to do to ensure people get me a bit better next time. And next time…..
….I’ll be clear.
I’m capable of being poly.
If we find it, you had better be able to handle the love I can give. Because if you can’t, move along.
Poly capable does not make me invincible. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is giving you the knife and trusting you not to cut me with it. So don’t cut me with it.
And if you do, expect me to bleed….a lot. Because this isn’t friendship love, this is – for me – the real thing.