I never mentioned this, but after having a discussion with a friend on my views on relations (I no longer use the word “relationships” as I feel it’s lost its meaning) and a few glasses of wine I think this would be a great time to divulge in my (somewhat newly-found) identification with polyamorism. Polyamorism broadens the definition of love by eliminating societal standards and expectations of what relations should be; thus allowing people to love freely, communicate honestly, and in turn, be happier and more fulfilled.
After about 7 official boyfriends by the time I was 21, I had inadvertently been tossed through the ups and downs of what makes up a “relationship” — in this society, that most commonly means one partner to which we “commit” ourselves to in hopes that we will somehow mesh in such synchronicity, that we will never again seek outside pleasure, satisfaction or stimulation (whether it be intellectually, physically, emotionally etc). As a woman of practicality and scientific methods, through trial and error (of my own experience and those of others for centuries before me), I have gathered that this is simply not an efficient way to fulfill my needs, and thus happiness.
In fact, how can one human being even expect one other human being to completely satisfy their every need and desires forever (or even for short periods of time)? It sounds like an overbearing and irrational recipe of responsibility, expectation, possession, jealousy and bitterness waiting to happen. Don’t get me wrong — being committed is not impossible, in fact, it’s often very easy when you truly love and value someone but that isn’t the issue at hand. The issue at hand is, in our society, we are told that you must be dedicated to one person, and that this one person is now the beacon of all your satisfaction. You can only show affection, attention, gratitude and love towards this sole individual — and if you fail to do so, you are a “cheater”; you are a “slut”; you are a “bad person.” And this is where I beg to differ.
Look at the examples of “love” we are given in Hollywood and the media… aggressive, possessive, jealous and downright unhealthy relationships, 48 hour marriages and frivolous, detached, meaningless sex. This is absurd.
After going through far too many relationships were I gave my heart out sincerely, fully, openly — only to have it used, manipulated, abused or dismissed entirely, I started to recognize a pattern. I am a loving human being, maybe far more than most, and with that comes an innate desire to have it reciprocated. However, when not reciprocated by said “lovers” I feel a pang of betrayal, pain, defeat — an unrelenting questions of why am I not good enough? And then it hit me: I am good enough and perhaps these other human beings are just not yet qualified to give back the love that they so readily take, resulting in my romantic, emotional, delicate depletion. I started to see love in a new way: perhaps expecting one human being to satisfy all my needs was just too much to ask.
“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity…The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I would start to harvest hostilities and judgments against these lovers and a bitterness would rise of all the ways they failed me instead of all the ways they pleased me. I forgot the reasons I once fell in love with them. This is wrong. This is not okay. We must treasure those in our lives for what they can offer, not what they can’t offer just yet. I want to love everyone for their goodness and forgive them for what they’ve yet to learn, and help them get there when I can. With this realization, I wanted to broaden my energy into instead of finding a “perfect match,” find the perfections that already exist in the individuals around me and praise them, and love them for it. Love is often misperceived as this four-letter, Jennifer Aniston, flowers, candy, good sex ,”little bit of jealousy won’t hurt” idea — wrong! Love is about respect, freedom, acceptance, appreciation, honesty, sincerity, acknowledgment and encouragement.
Once I became single in 2011 (the last time I had an official “boyfriend”), this new mindset (coupled with profound respect for myself, sexuality and intimate relations, aka forgoing frivolous, meaningless sex) was naturally easy to implement in my life. I saw it like this: love is like a pitcher of water and your lovers are the glasses — you fill your lover’s glass up with your love. If there is a second lover, or a second glass, the first lover may automatically assume that you pour half of your love out of his or her glass and into someone else’s, leaving them less loved, less fulfilled. Ah, but that’s simply not the case. True love has no limits. This pitcher is just as bottomless as the raspberry lemonade at Ruby Tuesdays. You fill the second glass just as full to the brim as the second, as they do yours, and it’s an ongoing cycle of bliss.
After this epiphany I had a long talk with one of my best friends on the issue, he informed me of the polyamorism community and even recommended a book he had been reading himself, The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities. Read it. The points weren’t profoundly new, but moreso profoundly confirming of what I had already been brainstorming. Wiki explanation:
The authors define the term slut as “a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.” The term is reclaimed from its usual use as a pejorative and as a simple label for a promiscuous person. Instead, it is used to signify a person who is accepting of their enjoyment of sex and the pleasure of intimacy with others, and chooses to engage and accept these in an ethical and open way — rather than as cheating. The Ethical Slut discusses how to live an active life with multiple concurrent sexual relationships in a fair and honest way. Discussion topics include how to deal with the practical difficulties and opportunities in finding and keeping partners, maintaining relationships with others, and strategies for personal growth.
I haven’t exactly had a “poly” relationship (yet) with multiple active partners, but I have openly and honestly expressed my views and beliefs on the matter with the people I become close with so they are not only aware but free to make the decision of either accepting my open ways or moving on. I have had nothing but positive experiences thus far — creating the most understanding, communicative, honest, intimate and loving relations I’ve ever had. My partners accept me for who I am and accept the connections I’ve already made in past and the potential ones I will make in my future, nurturing them just as much as I do. It’s all a matter of respecting each other’s personal freedom and encouraging one another to seize all life’s beautiful opportunities and connections in the world.
NOW GO LOVE!!