My partner and I were monogamous for over a year before we decided polyamory just might work for us. Of course we had our reservations about it. It’s one thing to talk about it and imagine how it will work out, but it’s quite another to act on it. The first time I saw her dating profile after we agreed to date others, I started crying hysterically. I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle the jealousy I imagined I’d feel. While we know that we might not always be dating or have other partners, neither one of us can imagine going back to monogamy for good after seeing how much stronger our relationship is since.
Polyamory means “many loves.” In a society that teaches us that jealousy is normal, even positive, this can be a hard concept to grasp. I’m not saying it’s always easy, but there has been freedom in learning to let go of my possessive nature when it comes to my love life. We’re taught that there can only be one true love, and that cheating is the ultimate betrayal. No, being polyamorous isn’t cheating (at least, if you’re respecting the agreements you’ve made with your partners beforehand), and it’s not ‘getting permission to cheat’. There’s a lot more to it than that. We don’t tell parents they can only love one child and that any other child they have will take away love from the first, so why do we do this to our romantic relationships?
Oh, there will be tons of talking. Opening up your relationship, or if you’re solo-poly, joining partners with other relationships will lead to lots of conversations about boundaries and feelings and much, much more. My partner and I agreed that we will not share every detail about what happens on dates or in our other relationships, but we do share where we will be and with who, and we tell each other when a new person comes into our life. When I came home from my first date with someone new, the first thing we did was have a check-in about how we were feeling. I talked a little bit about how the date went, and then I marveled at how cool it was to be able to share this with her. I remember feeling that if I could talk to her about this, I could talk to her about anything.
A Much Greater Support System
Putting myself out there for dates and other potential loves has led me to a wonderfully large support system. Do you have to be polyamorous to achieve this? No. But it’s opened so many doors for me that I wouldn’t have put the effort into when I was monogamous. I know who to call for whatever I need, and I’m glad to be able to be on the other end of the phone for partners who need me, too. It is a relief to know that all of my needs do not have to be met by one person alone, and vice versa.
You know the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? It’s not always true, but it has been for me and my relationship. When she’s out on another date or has a new love interest, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have her. We all know there’s a chance our partners could leave us for many reasons, even in monogamy there is no guarantee. I know my partner could potentially decide to leave me for someone else (although she wouldn’t have to, I digress), but she doesn’t. There is a very deep level of trust involved in our agreement to love others while maintaining our relationship, and this has improved our sex tremendously. Maybe a dash of jealousy, a lot of thankfulness and appreciation, and a hint of wanting to reclaim each other once more… whatever it is, the sparks keep flying!
Polyamory isn’t for everyone. I know many people who are completely fulfilled by themselves or with their monogamous relationships. I don’t think one is better than the other, I write about it simply because it has benefited me and I want others to know there are options out there. I used to roll my eyes at my poly friends and proclaim “I could NEVER do that!”, but now here I am.
Polyamory has made my relationship stronger, and for that I am thankful.
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