Polypocket fixtures: a look into a polyamorous life
For those of us who practice polyamory, it has been a long road to self-discovery leading to a space where we can openly say that our love is one that calls for us to share it with multiple people at a single time. I know what you’re thinking: ‘sounds like poly people are just promiscuous and feel ashamed of wanting sex.’ Having sex with multiple people without a relationship is NOT polyamory. Polyamory is more than sex, love and ownership. In poly relationships, there can be a lot of sex (just like in monogamous relationships), but sex isn’t the purpose of being in a polyamorous relationship. It took me years to find a relationship that fit the way that I love and in between that time, especially in the beginning, I spent a lot of time feeling trapped and judged for what felt natural to me.
As long as I can remember having relationships, I desired more than one partner. Having more than one partner was not about filling a deficit or being lonely, I would just find myself attracted and wanting to be in relationships with multiple people at a single time. When I was in 4th grade, I was “dating” a boy in my class--as much dating as a fourth grader could do. And even after "making it official", I remember having a crush on a girl in class in addition to the girl that my “boyfriend” later "cheated" on me with. Although the story sounds like simple elementary school drama, looking back on the situation sets the stage for what would later become my “unconventional” relationship status.
My family told me about polygamy when I was younger. They told me about men around the world who had multiple wives and lots of children for religious purposes. At the time, it was the closest thing to how I viewed relationships but then I thought, I am not a man and I do not want to marry multiple people (or anyone for that matter; that'll be saved for another article). I initially wondered if there was some deep-seated issue that I was neglecting that explained why I wanted to be in relationships with multiple people. I then wondered if I just wanted sex although I hadn’t slept with every person I had been in a relationship with. I would go into monogamous relationships hoping to be heard and understood and the results became similar across all of my relationships. My monogamous partner would feel that I loved them less if I expressed my attraction or desire for other people. Many of my exes found it interesting, strange and impossible for me to continue loving them while also liking or loving another person. For them, there had to be more, little did I know, there was.
I could keep writing but I know there are more questions so let’s take the time to clear up a few myths, shall we?
Myth: Polyamory is for cheaters who do not want to leave their primary partners.
This is a totally false claim. Polyamory is for those who have a desire and willingness to be in multiple intimate or romantic relationships at a time. In healthy polyamorous relationships, each person is aware and consents to the setup of the relationship. Everyone is aware of their role and is aware that relationship dynamics may change over time just as with any relationship. It is also known by each partner that, at any point, anyone in the relationship can decide to step away from the relationship.
Myth: You can’t cheat in a polyamorous relationship.
It’s possible to cheat on a partner or partners in a polyamorous relationship. And to be clear, open relationships, swinging, polygamy and polyamory are completely different and range between relationships. Cheating in a poly relationship means you have violated the terms of the relationship that you and your partner(s) have agreed to. This is a matter of overstepping the previously discussed boundaries of the relationship.
Myth: Jealousy doesn’t exist in polyamorous relationships.
Regardless of your preferred relationship type or the number of partners you have, jealousy is a human emotion and as humans, we experience jealousy at points throughout the relationship. In poly relationships, there are a lot of stages one must go through. There is a stage in which you must look at your insecurities. What are they? Where do they stem from? How do you manage them? These questions are also ones that will be discussed between partners towards the beginning of a poly relationship (monogamous ones too—the healthy ones). Because we already have an understanding that more people means more insecurities, it seems as though insecurities are inevitable. So, make sure to get that out of the way in the beginning. And don’t worry if you have not had this conversation with your partner, you will at some point.
There are distinct differences between monogamous and polyamorous communities, it gets harder when preferences are misunderstood. Currently, I have one primary partner and two other people I am dating. A primary partner is usually the person who you’ve been in a relationship with for the longest period of time. All of my partners know about one another but haven’t shared physical space together. My partners usually communicate their sexual or romantic desire for other people. The truth is that communication, respect and care are all necessities, especially in poly relationships. After a truthful conversation with myself, I discovered that I can only manage having a total of three partners. Dynamics differ given any relationship and poly relationships are no different. This doesn’t mean I am not attracted to more people outside of the three, but I am honest with the amount of labor I can put into a fourth relationship. Each person I am dating is busy if not busier than I am and that has allowed us to be intentional with the time that we have and spend with one another.
It wasn’t until I did more research that I discovered that I am polyamorous but also, I found that there are communities of people who were practicing polyamory together. Polyamory has helped me dig into myself. The relationships in your life should always encourage you to discover more about yourself than the other person. And I’m happy I’m in that space.