This morning I was writing to RP on her blog and I wanted to continue my thoughts. I was responding to the quote below which is from RP
You know what bugs me about poly? When people are struggling and having a hard time they go to find other partners elsewhere to get their needs met and make themselves feel better.
This isn't just about romantic relationships. People do it with dogs too - they have one that just isn't quite what they want. They love the dog but the dog isn't perfect. Maybe it isn't physically capable of doing a sport they want to do or it can't cope with walks in busy places or it doesn't like strangers. Rather than find ways to build that relationship and find other things that the dog can do, sometimes people will add another dog to the household - one that can do whatever it is that they want to do.
Probably it happens with children as well.
I don't get it. It's not how I live and I kind of find it offensive - more now than I ever did. My SO once suggested that rather than work on a problem we were having, it would be fixed if I had an additional romantic partner who could do what he was struggling with. I was furious with him - really offended that he would suggest something like that rather than work on the problem we were having.
The reason is bound up with my old love (who was a dog, remember
). When he was a puppy and a young dog, he was perfect. I could take him anywhere and he just got on with everybody and with other dogs - some of our most fun times were out meeting new people and their dogs and going to classes together. It was just wonderful.
And then he had a horrible experience and he came to mistrust and dislike dogs that he didn't know. Then he was difficult. He would be aggressive toward them. I didn't know what to do to help him and my life became a stressful nightmare. All the things I used to enjoy doing with him were lost to me because he could no longer cope with them.
I could have chosen to allow him to remain like that and to concentrate my energies on finding a new dog without problems and integrating them into the household and then spend fun times with them while finding isolated walks for my old love.
I didn't want to do that - my old love was one of the loves of my life and seeing him so changed was heart breaking. So rather than seek to find what we had lost in another relationship, I worked with him. I changed my life to learn what I needed to know to help him. The rewards for doing so were immense. I learned about love. I gained a new focus, new interests, new work sometimes, new friends. Deciding to work with my old love brought me so much joy (as well as lots of heartache and challenge and change).
Years after he had gotten over the problem, I did of course look for another dog - C. The reason for looking was very different. By then my old love adored other dogs again and was extremely good with them. He was getting older and as much as I wanted the love and companionship of having another dog, I thought also that he would too. And he did. C and he had a bond and a love that lasted until the day he died.
Having been on the journey I went on with my old love, I find the notion of looking for other romantic partners to fill some need that is not being met by an existing partner enormously offensive. I may speak to my SO about this subject - we have an ongoing discussion about poly as he feels very much that it is a good way to live and I remain so far certain that the work entailed in multiple romances isn't something that I want in my life.