Shit Poly People Hear (and what I think)
A guest post from one of our favourite polyamorous people, Matt!
To me, polyamory is all about love.
I have come to understand through various experiences that this is not the view shared by the general public. Mostly this has been through second hand feedback through dating experiences.
You see, I am one member of a couple exploring polyamory.
I am not sure if we have the loyalty card yet.
For us, polyamory is a way to grow our family (we are a gay family and choose not to have children), and share our love and the love of someone else. It is about connecting with someone, in our own individual ways.
Sounds pretty nice right? More love in the world between consenting adults should not bring forth the verbal barbs and pitchforks.
But, we have found that the idea that more than two people sharing love is pretty triggering for folks. I am not sure if that is because our society in the past has strongly conditioned people for monogamy for the sake of perceived social or moral order, or that they might want to give it a try, but are afraid.
People have some pretty strong feelings about polyamory. Here are some the things I have heard from people:
- “That’s disgusting.”
- “Why would you do that if you love your partner?”
- “How can you really love two people?”
- “Oh, so you are a little kinky.”
- “That’s so hot, I would love to have a threeway!”
- “Are you Mormon?”
- “There must be something wrong with your relationship.”
And lots of other interesting comments. And though the comments are not identical, but they remind me of coming out as gay many years ago. I also think these comments come from a similar place, fear and a lack of understanding.
I would like to address some of these comments in this safe anonymous forum. Just in case you ever come across two people who want to date you, or you are coming out to family or friends. This is just how things are and work for me. I embrace the fact that everyone has their own reality.
How can love ever been disgusting if everyone is a willing participant? What is disgusting about some people cuddling while watching Netflix, working in the garden together, sharing a nice meal at a favourite restaurant or going on a hike together. When we date someone, it is about getting to know them as a person.
“Why would you do that if you love your partner?”
Somehow this seems to imply to me that it is impossible to be happy and fulfilled with one person and have room in your heart for another. I love my partner completely and fully, yet I still have plenty of love left for family, friends, and sometimes strangers. I realize I can’t completely make someone happy. If I love them why would I not want them to have more love in their life? Why wouldn’t they want that for me? And if we have so much love between us, why not share that with someone on a similar path?
“How can you really love two people?”
How I want to respond to this:
“Maybe my heart is just bigger than yours.”
But that is sort of mean. And judgmental. And not really constructive.
I love, appreciate and am grateful for hundreds of people I have had the pleasure of knowing. No these aren’t exes! I believe there is one thing the world needs more than anything and that is love. I think the world would be a much better place for it. Love means many different things and it expresses it’s self uniquely between different people. I have made a conscious choice to embrace love in my life and show and express it. This does not mean dating everyone, but it means approaching people with an open heart. I am that guy who tells his friends he loves them. And for the ones that might make uncomfortable, I show them through small gestures. I want the people I care about to feel special. Because they are!
“Oh, so you are a little kinky.”
No comment! 😉
It seems that sex is the first place people go in their minds, and just sex, but somehow I must be into all sorts to kinky sexual adventures because I have a partner and we want to date someone. I think there are many poly groupings where they are very ‘vanilla’. I also think it is positive for people to explore their sexuality in a way the feels safe and comfortable. Is that all that kinky?
That’s so hot, I would love to have a threeway!”
Again. All about the sex! I find it incredibly difficult to explain to people who say this, that what we are looking for is about so much more than sex. I usually try to explain that they probably would not like what it takes to get to that point with us. I have come to learn for me that I am demisexual and sapiosexual. (an old dog can learn new words). How hot is that threeway going to be when you have to go on multiple dates with two people before it is ever going to happen?
“Are you Mormon?”
There are various versions of this. One of the most entertaining is that I once heard, I don’t want to be part of your cult from someone on a dating website.
I am not a gay Mormon. Or cult member. It seems that for many, this is what polyamory means and polyamory and polygamy are viewed as one in the same. Now I think there is something spiritual about all my relationships, but true spirituality does not come from dogma, but rather openness.
“There must be something wrong with your relationship”
Honestly, our relationship is not perfect. We have issues and challenges like any couple does. But we also have a commitment to loving one another and communicate openly and honestly about issues as they come up. This is not always easy work, but it is so worth it.. I am rather fond of saying to my partner, there is no version of my life that does not include you. And that is true. I feel that man in my bones, because so much is right.