Published for Vivid&Brave in December of 2015.
One of the main comments I receive when discussing my polyamorous lifestyle is almost always, “Oh, I could never do that.” I agree. An attitude like that about any subject will definitely make it impossible for you to achieve. I looked at polyamory (or just open relationships in general before I had a term for how I felt) as something that almost *had* to be a possibility. After all, humanity wasn’t always monogamous. Certainly some, if not all, of us have the ability within us to open ourselves up to other relationship possibilities.
I’d like to take a look at opening up, not necessarily just your romantic relationships. Let’s start with something simpler like friendships. When you meet someone and strike up a new friendship with them either at work, at school, at the gym, etc., do you expect that they will automatically drop all their other older friendships and only be friends with you? Of course not. That’s ridiculous. Take it one step further – your best friend of 20 years has other friends. Is that okay with you? If not, you should probably be reading other articles besides this one. We all have our moments of jealousy and possessiveness, even with friendships, but most of us don’t overreact about them, or really even express them much at all.
Now that I’ve eased you in a little bit, let’s discuss what opening up your relationships, yes even romantic ones, can bring to your life. If at the end it’s still not for you then it’s not for you. It’s not for everyone, that much is certain. Take a romantic relationship for example. This person treats you well, presumably, and they are someone whose company you enjoy. Do you brag about this person to your friends? Do you say how happy you are and how well you are treated and talk about this person’s amazing qualities? Why would you want to be the only person that this other amazing and wonderful human being brings joy to? Just like with friends, our lives open up more when we have a bigger circle of friendships and relationships.
Life is limitless. It really is. It wasn’t until I owned up to being polyamorous that I really started to see all the possibilities it offered me. It wasn’t about sex. It was about possibilities. Anyone I met became someone I could automatically connect with on a deeper level than when I was monogamous. I won’t presume everyone’s relationships are the same, but even when I was in fairly non-restrictive monogamous relationships with a lot of freedom, there are certain norms that are assumed. If you have friends they are usually going to be of the same sex as you. Any opposite sex friends become someone that you suddenly don’t hang out with alone anymore. Everything is labeled; your feelings, your relationships, your potential for relationships…
With polyamory, nothing is labeled (unless that’s something you really need). Suddenly anyone I met could have a significant impact on my life. My Anchor and I are immeasurably happy and yet we both know that being monogamous is not something either of us would ever want again. The possibilities of relationships and friendships and our extended polycule family growing are endless. We have found quite the family over the last year or so and I consider quite a few people across the country to be a part of it as well. I don’t have to label them. They are not just boyfriends or girlfriend or *just* friends or acquaintances or workmates. They are all just who they are as individuals and I have a unique and lovely relationship with each of them.
Life is fluid; it’s constantly in motion. Just because I’m not currently sexual with someone I used to be physically intimate with, doesn’t mean I won’t be again. There’s no need to talk about it and label it. It’s just how the situation is at the moment. Maybe we are both really busy. Maybe our separate nuclear families needed more attention right then. Maybe work is chaotic. Whatever the case may be, they are still my family, still my polycule, still my friends. There is no start and finish to these relationships. They simply…exist. They simply *are*.
When I learned to open up to that, I started to view my life very differently. I hope that in some small way, you can try this as well.