Cheers Sexy People!
Awhile back, an online acquaintance asked me:
I’m not sure if polyamory is for me or not…. how can I determine that?
This post serves to help answer that question, readers. Here goes:
I like to start from my own experience, and then expand from there. I was a late bloomer for sure. I did not “date around” in high school. I was a square, awkward young girl trying to find her footing. When I did first dip my toe into dating, I would have lots of romanticized visions of my partner and put them on a pedestal (all those Disney movies make it hard not to have happily-ever-after Princess type of ideas in a young mind). And I would get heart broken when it didn’t work out. Then as I entered my college years and grew some pretty high-quality, Italian scoops of flesh (ie. boobs), figured out a decent hairstyle (well, for the 80s that is), got contacts (good-bye “four eyes”), and developed a more outgoing personality and some confidence, that’s when I started my long line of serial monogamist dating. I was still drinking the cool-aid of monogamy, thinking… that’s what respectable girls did. But during a relationship with one boy, another would look even better on the “who’s gonna win this girl’s heart” scale. And I admittedly would cheat on one to “test the waters” so to speak of the new boy. Then if the “pool water” felt better to me, I dumped the previous guy for the next guy as a “step up”. But even when I was doing it and getting a thrill from it all (I also used the “I’m 2,000 miles away” rule to justify my actions too), I felt sick inside. I knew I was lying, and acting like a little b*tch. But I thought it was my only choice to reach my goal of: Ultimate Man In My Life.
(Better known as the Ultimate Fantastical Fairytale).
Then, after doing this for some time, and having little success finding my One And Only, I started to wonder if there was Something Seriously Wrong With Me. Like… why couldn’t I settle down and be happy with one man, for crying out loud? So I did what I always do when I have a problem: I read. ALOT on the subject. So I read about maybe 15-20 books on relationships…. how they work, how to catch a man, how to keep a man, how to find the right man, etc. One in particular that I read was called: “How To Date Like A Man”. It was written by a hilarious woman who had a “pair and a spare” program, where she was always dating preferably three men at the same time, but sleeping with none of them. Thus it helped keep her confidence and her options high, as well as kept her calendar and social life quite exciting. So I gave this a whirl for awhile. I found that by dating several men, I was getting different things from different men. One would offer more tenderness, another more excitement, another more stability. Hmmmm, this was interesting. Maybe I needed three men to satisfy this complicated lady. You can see how this was a precursor for polyamory for me, but I didn’t know it at the time as I didn’t know polyamory existed yet. Her philosophy was you keep dating until you find The One That You Want To Keep, and get him to ask you to commit to him, and dump the other guys waiting in the wings so that he can have “only you” at that point. This was all very interesting and a step in the right direction, as it was more honest. The men KNEW I was dating other men. But it still didn’t feel quite right to me.
Eventually I met my husband on… wait for it: match.com. Yes, we are one of those success stories (a success story that they didn’t want to buy from us to help pay for our wedding, those rascals!). We talked ALOT, enjoying both a mental and a physical connection right away. We talked about how we were BOTH former cheaters and how *icky* that felt to us, and how we didn’t want to do that anymore. But we were very curious, flirtatious people who enjoy the opposite sex. Soooooo, maybe we could define our relationship on our own terms if we both agreed to it, versus how society, church and everything around us was telling us we had to define our relationship? Why not? It’s our relationship after all! If we agree to it, let it be done! Thus we’re not cheating and everyone is happy. We dipped our toe into “swinging” with a couple that we met at a nudist club who happened to live near my hometown. They ended up becoming our very dear friends. Then, that fateful day that I described earlier on my blog when I finally read “The Ethical Slut”, and I felt like a bright, white light of magnificence was shining down on me saying: This is it! This is what you have been searching for! This is Who You Are! Thus, I realized I had been polyamorous all along. THAT was what was “wrong” with me. I was a polyamorous woman, who didn’t know what that was, living in a monogamous world. Bah BAM! So what do you think I did then? You guessed it, read a gah-zillion books and articles on the subject, which eventually lead me to where I am today.
So to get back to answering the question: Is polyamory right for me?
Here is a list of questions to assist in guiding you, that seems to be true for myself and my partners / other polyamorous people I know, to help you determine if this is right for you:
- Do you feel like you are a relatively emotionally mature, stable person? Because I’m here to tell you, polyamory ain’t for sissies. It can sometimes take a thick skin to deal with the emotions, the situations and the communication hurdles that come up. It can be a helluva lotta fun and rewarding, but you have to pay the price to reap the rewards.
- Do you have excellent communication skills? If not, are you willing to seriously work on them and constantly improve them? This is critical. Just like the mantra with real estate, is “location, Location, LOCATION”, with polyamory, it’s “communicate, Communicate, COMMUNICATE.” And also you need to learn to be gentle, kind and clear with your communication, and learn when is the proper time to communicate.
- Are you a former, cheating, serial monogamist who doesn’t want to cheat anymore, and would prefer a more honest and forthright way to live? Does cheating make you feel sick to your stomach? Are your needs not getting met in your current monogamous relationship (if you have one), and you think your partner might be open to the idea of opening up the boundaries? Think on this one very carefully. You have my story above to shed some light on this one for you.
- Do you find that you struggle with jealousy and insecurity or it doesn’t seem to bother you that much? OR do you feel you are secure and confident enough to at least work on your insecurity issues intelligently and calmly? Do you want to take on this type of personal growth? I believe some people innately have more jealous tendencies than others. Which type are you? Would you simply feel more secure in a monogamous relationship?
- Do you feel you have both the time, inclination and the overflowing feeling of LOVE required to manage several relationships at a time? It takes alot of work, personal growth, introspection, time and effort to effectively manage several quality relationships. Can you honestly say that you have this kind of time and energy? Is this how you WANT to spend your time?
- Are you comfortable either “coming out” as polyamorous to your close friends and family OR are you comfortable keeping it a secret as you consider it your private life? As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, keeping secrets can take its toll on you. Also, if you love your partners, how fair will it feel over time to keep them a “secret” if you don’t come out? There are many complex questions to deal with here on this topic.
- Do you love variety and get bored easily? I am very much like this, thus another point in the polyamorous column. There can be excitement, joy and variety found in a monogamous relationship too, but that also takes work. How does variety and spontaneity work for you?
Weigh both the pros and cons of monogamy vs. non-monogamy. But also look inside your heart to help determine who you think you really are inside: would you be happier as a monogamous person or a non-monogamous person? Consider journaling about it, or talk to a trusted friend. Do you have any polyamorous or alternative lifestyle friends that you can talk to? How do you WANT it to work for you?
As a member of a poly forum, JB once said, said:
You know you are truly poly when each person you love is completely unique from the others and without comparison or competition with others. At least that’s how it is for me. All very unique and sincere and beautiful in different ways.
Well put, and beautiful in its own right. Thank you, JB for your perspective here. Polyamorous is who I am through and through. But that’s just me. It works for me and feels right to me. I feel I have alot of love to give, like variety and am an extremely curious, inquisitive person. How about you? Please feel free to comment in the feedback area below to offer us all other perspectives. Sharing is caring.
For further reading, I thought this article was very well-written and offers many more insights. Consider giving it a read. I thought it was awesome:
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)