Ian Cromwell has been running a series of essays submitted to him entitled “Because I’m an atheist…” and I have been reading them for a while. Today, my answer went up, which caused me to think about the implications of being polyamorous.
Because I’m polyamorous, I don’t have to pretend to be anything other than what I am. I live such that if I meet someone I’m interested in, no matter how I’m interested in, I don’t have to nudge that interest into “appropriate” directions. I don’t have to avoid friendships with people to whom I am attracted, nor do I have to suppress feelings of attraction, which in the long run often leads to feelings of resentment and often clandestine sexual relationships which destroy relationships when they don’t have to.
I get to love each person according, not to some pre-scripted appropriate way, but to how I actually do want to love them. All I need is them to have mutual desires, open communication about said desires to my other partners, and the time and inclination to pursue them.
It also means that I get to be who I am, completely. My wife and girlfriend both know I find other women attractive, but because they know this they know that the affection I show to them is genuine and authentic. I’m not in a situation where all of my affection is tunneled towards one person, and they have to wonder if I’m only doing it because I have to; because I have nowhere else to act on such feelings.
As such, because I’m polyamorous there is more grounds for security on my relationships. See, rather than threaten my relationships, my (as well as my partners’) ability to pursue other people for friendship, hookups, or possibly a new relationships means that if I stay with someone, I really want to be with them. With (serial, especially) monogamy, it is too easy just to keep holding onto a relationship because you are not sure if you will have another one available(which, of course, is not a good reason to stay in a relationship!).
The big threat for monogamy is often other people. With polyamory, other people is the rule and so that threat is made mostly impotent. Of course, interpersonal issues may still arise (as they do with monogamy), but ideally when that other person comes around and draws your partner’s eye, you know they will still come back to you again and again.
Because I’m polyamorous I have been forced to mature emotionally (specifically concerning jealousy), develop better communication skills, and think more about the differences between what we actually want and what we decide is good for us. It is clear to me that most people want to be with more than one person sexually, romantically, etc. What is not clear to me is why so many people are monogamous.
Because I’m polyamorous, I have developed a keener eye about how we, as a culture, think about relationships, love, and sex. So, because I’m polyamorous, I have a better perspective on romance, sex, and relationships than most monogamous people.
Ultimately, because I’m polyamorous, I write about polyamory so that more people can understand why this lifestyle is so wonderful, challenging, and worth every ounce of effort.