Whenever I reveal that I am polyamorous to someone, the first thing I usually hear is, “I could never do that.” It surprises me when I hear that from almost every monogamist I meet because my first thought upon learning about polyamory and non-monogamy was – “Wow! what a neat concept! I could totally do that.”
I consider myself an open-minded, open-hearted kind of woman. I found marriage and most of my adult relationships very constrictive because of the mindset of those I fell in love with or dated. I couldn’t grasp the concepts: just because I fell in love with one person, I was never to love anyone else, and finding other people attractive outside my relationship was considered taboo. My previous relationships had taught me how confining I’d found monogamy and not just in the mindset of those I dated. Even my friendships suffered as I tried to love within the tight societal standards I was taught by my family and friends. I tried desperately to fit into this definition that felt like a tight sweater meant for someone else. Then I met my lover, my best friend and the man I am sharing my life with. He was in an open and polyamorous marriage, and he gave me definition for the thing my heart yearned for without my knowing it was doing so.
Together we sought to define our love within our own terms. As we embarked on our journey, I learned that though I found society’s definition of love preposterous and confining, I’d been ingrained with society’s beliefs nonetheless. I jumped full-fledged into poly’s pool and found myself wading through treacherous waters. Jealousy – Insecurity – Clinginess – Fear – they were all my swimming companions. As much as I longed to embrace polyamory and to give my love the freedom to be himself and have that same freedom reciprocated, I found I had a lot of work to do on myself along the way.
It is a growth process that I find continues to this day. Insecurities are funny little demons. Just when you conquer one, his little buddy may be waiting around the corner to fill your head with notions that rarely resemble logic and reason. Then enter society with all its antiquated notions on romance and marriage – as if these ideas can easily be reduced to two or three sentences, paragraphs or pages noted in a bill passing as a law that society must not only believe in but also obey. As if any man or woman, be they father, mother, senator, priest or nun, should dare define for all what exists in the heart of one’s soul. Yet those messages are cast so carelessly and so idly into our world with little thought to the damage they may inflict on a society who mainly lives and breathes by what is fed to us from “the majority.”
It is not always easy to break free from the bonds we allow others to put on us – to break free from the restrictions we place on our own hearts and the hearts of those we love. But it is possible. It begins when we listen with open ears and an open heart and when we hope for the best instead of fearing the worst. So when someone tells me that they could never do polyamory, I always think in my heart – oh, you just never know what your are truly capable of until you try.