To me, the idea of polyamory is synonymous with the idea of more. Perhaps I’m a bit of a hoarder, a bit of a collector or maybe I’m just plain old greedy. I’ve always had a problem with the idea of monogamy only because I found it extremely hard to believe that one person could be committed 100% to another for any term of time. Humans, by their inherent nature, are hunters and gathers. We constantly hunt for the best thing out there. It’s the whole idea of the conquest. We do it with food, things, jobs, etc. Why not do it with people? We have these thoughts anyways, but most of the time society tells us to lust after someone who is not our partner is a shameful thing. With shame attaches guilt. Why not remove the guilt in the first place?
I have always adhered to the idea that if people were to just love more it would solve a lot of the world’s problems. I never really put a title on my beliefs or really knew about poly until I was probably in my early twenties. White bread suburbia doesn’t typically have households with two mommies, a daddy and a couple boyfriends or girlfriends (for example.) When I was growing up, I didn’t know what my sexuality was for the longest time. I was a huge tomboy and liked how girls looked so I figured I was a lesbian (when I knew what such a thing was.) But I found myself attracted to men too and being around men. I didn’t know that you could like both men and women. I found myself looking at happy couples and wanting that too … but not either or – both. I wanted both of them. Poly kind of incorporates that ability for me. My parents were always very cold people to each other and I think that formed my need for love from multiple sources. The more love, the better in my mind.
This is really hard for me to exactly put down what poly means to me mostly because it’s just a feeling for me. It’s a feeling that that’s what’s right for me. I want a primary partner (or partners) but I also enjoy the idea that if I meet someone I have a connection with who isn’t one of my partners I could enjoy their company in whatever fashion we decide to if everybody is okay with it. I think that’s what separates poly from cheating. Everybody knows what’s going on and there’s an openness to everything we do. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. Having had relationships (even minor ones) crash because I couldn’t be honest with them. Seeing it in people around me also struggling with poly relationships.
Poly is not an easy thing, not by far. It’s very time consuming and delicate to balance time, personalities, egos and desires. When it works though, it works so well. It makes me happy to see my partners happy. It makes them happy to see me happy. I think this also stems from my “pleaser” personality. I want to make people happy in any way I can and if it takes letting a partner go off and romp with someone else knowing that what they do doesn’t detract from our relationship, I’m fine with that.
Admittedly I do have problems sharing. I’m not good with it. Growing up essentially an only child for all intents and purposes, I never had to share my toys. I struggle with knowing someone I’m involved with is off having fun with someone else, but I then have to remember it’s not fair for me to demand that I can do those fun things with other people but my partner can’t. That’s just not fair. It’s not just about balancing other egos, but also about balancing yours as well.
Love is not finite. There is no boundary on how much a person can love. Meeting someone and loving them doesn’t take away from me loving someone else. It just means I love more. It means I love fuller. That’s the affect it has on my life. I love more.
I do want to clarify something though – when I say “we constantly hunt” it doesn’t mean I’m always out there looking for more partners. I can be happy with what I have. I don’t always search for new people to fall in love with or be with. Sometimes those people just find me. They fall in my lap, so to speak. Sometimes there’s something that a partner of mine doesn’t want to do or isn’t interested in that causes me to go on the hunt for someone who will. Having the freedom to do that, all while still staying committed, is what prevents resentment from setting in. I’ve seen that with my parents. I think to a large extent my father resents my mother for just shutting down the whole sexual side of her after I was born. He’s not the kind of guy to go out and have an affair, so he shut that part of himself down too. I don’t want that kind of resentment in my relationships. This is where having that freedom to play becomes useful.
Poly affects me because I don’t feel weighed down by the boundaries of what might be a typical monogamous relationship. Monogamy works for some people, don’t get me wrong. There are perfectly happy couples out there who have a very fulfilled life. I wish them well and with them happiness. For me though, monogamy makes me feel boxed, closed in, isolated. I’m flirty by nature and as hard as I try, I can’t turn that off. It’s just another part of me, like having green eyes or being small. It’s just who I am.
It’s just who I am. Poly isn’t a choice for me. It’s simply who I am.