Originally Posted by Cleo
I would no longer say that now, because the 4 years of poly have made me realize that this is so much more about me, than it is about us.
. . . .
I would now say that it enhances ME, to have more than one loving relationship.
I might be more likely to think of it this way, myself . . . except I keep getting caught up on the means-ends thing.
Yes, I do want my life to be richer and happier, more full of possibilities; yes, having relationships with others is an indispensable means to that end. My life would be poorer and drearier without my wife, my children, my friends, my (would-be someday) loves, my community.
But it's worth coming back around to what others have pointed out on this thread, that each of these others is a person
, with goals and ideas and projects of her or his own.
I doubt anyone here would really say otherwise. I just worry that the usual language of "enhancing" a relationship or a life or a self necessarily tends to reduce those other persons to mere enhancements
, pleasing accessories, new experiences, new kicks for the dear self (or the dear het dyad).
I'd like to turn the idea upside down, though. This is a notion that has been growing in me, lately, as a result of recent developments in my own life (reported elsewhere).
For me, the practice of polyamory is enhancing my capacity for relationships with others as whole persons
. This is a kind of ethical capacity, an ability to see others as whole and independent selves, to offer respect, to trust and to be trustworthy, and to let affection and care grow from those roots.
Put another way, the practice of polyamory has led me to approach relationships intentionally
, rather than conventionally
(My wife and I talked about something like this when we were first considering polyamory, two years ago. She was concerned that, within the "safe" confines of a conventionally monogamous marriage, my capacity to form meaningful relationships with other people would remain underdeveloped.)
At this moment, I have no idea whether I'll be able to make a go of polyamory in the long run. That's not the main point, though. Intentional
relationships are the main point.
This "enhanced" capacity for relationships may have benefits, for me, for my wife, for my children, for the others in my life, but those benefits aren't really the main point. The point is that it makes me a better person
, a person who is more worthy of happiness.
Or so I hope.