Polyamorous relationships are notorious for not making it past the three year mark.. and many polyamorous relationships fall much shorter than even that. For a long time, that knowledge was a source of frustration for me. Yet another reason why polyamory is a less ‘valid’ relationship style, right? However, maybe it’s not a bug in the system. Maybe it’s a feature.
There is such potential and beauty in a moment. The last year, which has been my 12th year of being polyamorous, has been an exercise in recognizing the beauty of impermanence in all things and, in particular, the beauty of a moment in time between two people. A dear friend of mine often quotes the Maya Angelou poem “Just for a Time” finishing lines:
And you were mine.
For a time.
For a time.
Just for a time.
It’s very sad that so often people are kept apart by circumstances beyond their control even if, generally, there are very valid reasons that keep people from being an ideal long term match. However, does this have to mean that no relationship should occur at all? Why don’t we embrace and enjoy the time that our life does fit together congruously? If it’s a day, a week, a year, it doesn’t matter. The moment in time that two people spend together can be so very beautiful and life-changing, even if it doesn’t span a lifetime. Dan Savage, my hero, often says that the success of a relationship should not be judged by one or both of the people in that relationship dying. I heartily concur.
This does leave one with the issue of pending heartbreak. If you realize before entering a relationship that your time with that person might be finite there is a weighing of pros and cons that must be done. That, I suppose, is a personal decision. Will the glory and exhilaration of exploring this person’s mind and body be enough to outweigh the fact that you will certainly feel pangs of pain and sadness when you undoubtedly part in the future?
For me, the answer is almost always yes. This is not because I take these relationships lightly, and it’s not because I am numbed or jaded to the pain of parting with loved ones. I am not one to feel anything quietly. I am unable to carry myself with much pride and grace surrounding life’s big events. In fact, I am the type of woman who will hold on to an emotion and nourish it. I feed my mourning hours of unrelentingly depressing music. I embellish my joy by celebrating it and gifting myself with things that bring yet more joy. There is something about diving so completely into an emotion, into a moment, that simply reaffirms everything for me. I find that the people I bring into my life are so precious that even if I only get to spend but a moment in time with them, I am very grateful. I do hope that I can keep touch with the people in my life that I have parted with – if only to watch their story unfold – but it would be selfish of me to expect a continual close-contact forever of anyone or anything.
Part of the beauty of being polyamorous is that you get to experience more in your life than you would normally get to experience. There is no reason to fret over forever. Time is fleeting. The world changes. All we have is now. Enjoy the time you have with the people around you while you have them. Don’t spoil that time by mourning the end before it comes. There will be plenty of time for that later.
That, my friends, I know for a fact.
“It’s very sad that so often people are kept apart by circumstances beyond their control”… I know this so well. My first husband passed away due to cancer, and I thought it was going to kill me too. It didn’t, and since then I have come to believe that rather than being unlucky because I lost him, I am lucky that I had him in my life for the time that I did and am in the end better for it. I remarried and that fell apart very quickly, and rather than look at it as a mistake, I choose to see that I gained something from it, even if it is just that I learned about myself and how I am able to deal with the issues life presents me and be proud of myself in doing so. I agree wholeheartedly, Shira, and have really taken to heart that relationships and experiences are a risk that I am willing to take, for it is those that you don’t take that will be your only regrets in life.
This was a beautiful article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
thank you. You really helped put a lot into the moment for me. wow!
I hope you write more regularly I love reading
your hard work.