I started today in quite a bit of pain. I'm heartbroken over an ended relationship. I get to that a little later. But, I decided that I needed some way, some place to share what was going on for me. I thought about doing this in my blog. But, in many ways, that's too formal a venue for me. I ran across this particular section and decided that this was a good place.
I'll start with a little bit about how I think about poly. So, I'll just lay out a few of my thoughts. For many who are poly, the alternative (monogamy) is so unworkable for them that poly is easy by comparison to them. They either never really tried monogamy or failed miserably when they did. For many others, poly is an exploration of personal growth due to the demands of being poly. I feel like both describe me to some extent.
I was a serial monogamist during a lot of my dating life but I also had long periods of time with poly-like experiences (even if I wasn't aware enough to call them poly at the time). As a monogamist, I went from relationship to relationship with the idea that I would eventually be comfortable with just one loving relationship. This never came to pass. I nearly always found myself with a loving, close female friend that was essentially all but sex while being in a committed, exclusive relationship. This sometimes caused problems and it often didn't in my primary relationship. I also had the fortune of trying some multiple love relationships along the way. When I discovered polyamory formally, it resonated immediately with me as right. When I told my closest friend, he simply said "duh! I could have told you that 15 years ago."
An interesting question to ask, I think, is how to make polyamory work for you. Once you put aside those social constraints, you have to determine what fits for you. The options are now so incredibly vast.
I did a lot of reading and talking to other folks to try to get an idea of what I think will work for me. I'm certainly a newbie to this, so things will probably change with exposure to reality. I essentially crafted a starting position by trying to understand what was most important and resonates with me. My priorities/points of excitement:
- not limiting my loving relationships - being able to really let my love for others blossom as my heart (and theirs) takes me. Sounds really foo foo, but it is very liberating.
- not expecting a single partner to meet all of my psychological, emotional, sexual, and activity partner needs (and, not being expected to meet all of someone else's). Put another way, everyone is responsible for their own needs and happiness and communicating when they're not being met.
- each relationship can seek it's own level. For example, in my blog I briefly mention one of my closest friends. She and I have non-sexual relationship but is so deeply loving that it easily concerns partners who are wedded to monogamy. I feel truly blessed to be able to love Michelle fully, romantically and without limitation. Sex is really besides the point with her.
That is its level - natural resting point. Another relationship can be primarily passionate, more carnal in it's nature because that's how our bodies and minds resonate together. Etc...
- the honesty with which you have to deal with your needs and feelings and the freedom to communicate them openly. Because of the expectations built into monogamy, it's hard to maintain the level of openness and honesty as you can in a poly one.
Those are some of the things that are really top of my list for thinking about why poly and how I might craft a lifestyle that includes poly. I draw from all of that:
- an emphasis on a few close relationships versus one;
- an emphasis on love over sex; however, an openness to different kinds of relationships - including primarily sexual ones (though I recognize that they would not be fulfilling alone);
- and a need to be conscious of how many relationship I can manage.
So, I think I'll settle on 2-3 probably very close relationships (could be something we're everyone is close or separate - not sure that matters as much to me). With the option of occasional, more secondary relationships that would likely be either sporadic/occasional or brief.
I have a lot more to add including the situation with my wife and, of course, my current heartache. But, that'll have to come a little later.