Maybe I just Don't Get It
Maybe I am being overly simplistic in my view of poly and multiple relationships. I keep seeing those words "that isn't poly" or "poly is..." and I think, "that's nice, I don't really need to fit that exactly." I can see the argument that a narrow and pure definition helps explain it to those who are encountering the idea for the first time and that it is of some importance to those practicing polyamory to not have their actions associated with less positive situations in the minds of non-poly people.
One thing I've taken from being a part of this forum is that everyone has multiple relationships and the skills one needs in multiple romantic relationships are the same skills you need to manage multiple relationships of any kind. I see it everywhere.
The company I work for is just my boss and I. That one on one relationship shares an awful lot of the same characteristics that my relationships with the guys have. We've spent 12 years working together and I've known him longer than that. I can't say I don't love him in some way. I care very much about him and his business and his family. We have to take care of each other and we have to trust each other for this place to work. Our lives and financial matters are very intertwined.
I just don't really understand the delineation that makes loving your whole family ok, loving your children ok, loving your friends ok, but this one type of love should be reserved only for 1. It's not that I don't understand the thought process and advantages of monogamy. I also completely understand people who simply don't feel that kind of love for more than one, or people who choose not to develop the possibility of that kind of love. It's the "shouldn't" part I can't grasp.
I don't really see the difference between love and love and love. The way Jasper loves sports teams and "the band" and me feels like kinda the same thing to me. It is generally acceptable to devote the same time and passion and commitment to other things or other people, just as long as it's not "this one thing" and where is the line there? When does close friends become an emotional affair? Is an emotional connection not something best girl friends share? is it just sex then? Where is the line there? kissing is too far, foot rubs are too far, but not for everyone, Who decides? and more importantly, WHY? I just don't understand. Am I just too immature to see it? The connection I share with Herman is unique, but so is the connection I have with my boss, and with my mom. They will always be unique because they are individuals. Does it sound like I cheapen what I have with Herman because I speak of him and Jasper both as my partners?
I see the appeal and emotions involved in exclusivity but even that is something I still think relates to many kinds of relationships. For example recently Jasper and I were discussing how long it has been since he's had a haircut from someone other than me. At the time I was trying to convince him to go get it cut as he had that wedding coming up but he refused. It's been nearly 6 years. I had never cut hair before but for some reason I had gotten it in my head that I wanted to try and he let me experiment on him. It must have translated for us into some kind of trust/intimate thing. We've continued doing it for so long now that we were pondering which was more likely to come first, him dating another person, or him seeing another person for a haircut. He thought it was possible he might be more attached to the haircut exclusivity. Some time in the middle I tried cutting Herman's hair. He hates having anyone do it and it was not a pleasant experience for either of us. The next time he had it done, I happened to be with him and I got a bit emotional about it, so now I don't go along and he often does it while I'm out of town. Though to be honest I got over it after that first time. I'm glad its over quicker for him and I'm glad to not be responsible for it. Shortly after Jasper and I had the talk about haircuts I had a terrible dream that he showed up at my house and had clearly had a haircut which he had never mentioned to me. In the dream I was very upset and he acted totally confused, wondering what my problem was. We're talking about haircuts for crying out loud. I wrote him an email the next day reiterating that I encourage him to get a haircut when he needs/wants it but please let me know he intends to or at least that it happened. I imagine it will be a major adjustment for me when he is ready to have another relationship of either the hair cutting or the romantic kind. I don't think that means he shouldn't.
Society at large aside, I now recognize that my personal belief is that such things should be decided between the people involved in a relationship. The same way I feel a marriage contract should be decided by the people involved rather than any government agency. If I had been told at an early age that it was my job to determine the terms of my relationships rather than having the majority dictate what is right and wrong and what relationships are supposed to be, I think I would have been honest about my feelings instead of just feeling guilty and trying not to do "something wrong" which I clearly failed at.