For me, polyamory means unconditional love, the best friendships possible, and bachelorette parties that turn into orgies (that future husbands can participate in too).
For me, polyamory means freedom—love unhindered. Honoring and celebrating authentic expressions of love.
I’m free to pursue possibilities as they arise. I’m free to let relationships be what they want to be. Friendship. Lifelong partnership. Something in-between. I’m free to do so with one person, or two, or three. Or none at all.
I am unconditionally free to determine the shape of my romantic life in cooperation with each person who chooses to love me too. Love dictates those boundaries, not culture.
Even more awesome than celebrating my own freedom is watching my partners enjoy theirs. Freedom to be who they are, to love who they will, as they will. And when they do, when their other relationships thrive, I feel joy. I see them putting that love out into the world and I think, “My god, they’re beautiful.” I can’t help falling in love again when I witness them love someone else.
“As a single person who’s never been in a poly relationship before, I don’t know if I technically count as polyamorous or not. All I know is that I don’t want serial monogamy, which is really just polyamory separated in time.” - Steven
Family Polaroids: Ryan, Grey and Jack, 2012
[Ryan and I have been together for ten years then along came
Polly Jack, 5 months ago, to multiply the love, laughter, and blessings.]
(Posted for the #FacesofPolyamory Project <3)
(Posted for the Faces of Polyamory project.)
Hi! I’m If, and I’m poly. :)
Although I can look at all kinds of antecedents in my life and say that I was likely always polyamorous in some sense, I think that it really came together for me as a thoughtful practice during a conversation that I had with my then-girlfriend very early in our relationship. We had been talking about past experiences and she had spoken wistfully of one situation that she wished she’d explored further at the time. It didn’t seem at all odd at the time to suggest that if the opportunity came up again, she should do so. That led into our ideas of what we wanted in terms of exclusiveness from each other, and my primary stance was that, I think partly because my previous relationship had ended badly and that was still overshadowing my impressions and partly because I never really thought it would happen to me, I really wasn’t bothered by whatever stipulations she had for me, but that I personally didn’t see any need to ask for anything specific in terms of exclusiveness from her. The core of that to me is that I didn’t want her to have to restrict herself from exploring and enjoying whatever life had to offer for her just because I was also on the scene.
In the end, she insisted that that should go both ways, and since I now (coming up on twenty years later) have four partners, all of whom I’ve been with for some time, it’d be pointless to claim that I haven’t been glad for that. But still, if you wanted me to distill it down to what polyamory really means to me at its core, it continues to be about wanting the people I love to have the opportunity to experience all of the bounty of life that they can, to whatever degree they choose*.
(* It’s easy to read into this that I might think that monogamous relationships are somehow oppressive, and I want to make it clear that I don’t. I know lots of people in very happy monogamous relationship for whom I wouldn’t imagine saying that they restrict themselves in life. I think everyone should pursue the relationship form that works best for them.)
I actually waffled about doing this. Plenty of poly people in the online media trade on being hot young (or nearly young) thangs. Sex sells and selling poly is gonna have some sex in it. I mean, geez! Thing is, let’s get real, not all people who have sex look like porn stars, nor should they have to, and poly people are… people with all the range in appearance that humans come in. So, this is me: Goddess of Java and Polyamorous Misanthrope. Middle-aged, matronly, and yeah, actively poly.
To me, polyamory is not this big philosophical thing, but a logical extension of the fact that humans can’t really own humans, and that the sexual act is moral or immoral based on the same criteria as any other act. Love? If you think love, no kidding, LOVE (as opposed to the foolishness we engage in when hormonally carbonated) is ever immoral, I don’t wanna know you.
I’ve pretty much been poly all my life. I lived in a group marriage for awhile, and now I don’t. (Boring story, sorry). I’m opinionated on parenting, take big bites out of life and sometimes even write about it. I’ve been married almost 22 years my husband is poly and it works happily for us. I suppose I could make this big relationship deal out of it, but you know, what works happily is pretty awesome by itself and I’m not sure it needs more than that.
This is my contribution to ModernPoly’s Faces of Polyamory project. See below for info on how to participate.
I’m a 45-year-old, happy, healthy, sane, stable, solvent, smart, longtime gainfully self-employed, moderately well known journalist, blogger, and media consultant. And I’m polyamorous — and proud of it. Have been for a long time.
For me, polyamory is about: NO AUTOPILOT! It’s about making a conscious choice to be in the relationships I choose, and communicating well and regularly with my partner(s) about what we each need and want to feel good about the lives we’re leading and the love we share. It’s about not taking anything for granted in intimate relationships.
Life is mostly configurable, if you have the courage to step outside the mainstream and let go of what other people expect from you.
In my experience, allowing major life decisions to be driven mainly by social norms may convey some initial sense of security, belonging, and privilege — but if those norms aren’t truly aligned with your nature and goals, you and your partners will probably end up frustrated, resentful, bored, or miserable in the long run.
You’ve got one life — so live it for YOU, don’t just blindly follow a script someone handed you.
(BTW, my “no autopilot” policy is also why I’ve been self-employed for about 15 years, why I chose never to have children, and why I haven’t owned a car for about six years. These are choices that suit me and allow me to lead the life I want.)
I once followed the monogamous route, mainly because I wasn’t aware there were other viable choices. Monogamy never felt right to me, but I felt like if I wanted to have “real” relationships monogamy was the inevitable price of entry. I felt zero sense of kinship or community with nonmonogamous people until I was in my 30s and married — I fell in love with someone new while still being very much in love with, and committed to, my spouse. So we all worked it out. (I make that sound easier than it was. Big change is always hard.)
One of the main reasons I’ve been publicly “out” as poly for several years is because I remember how painful it was for me to believe that the open, nonpossessive way my heart naturally tends to love was inherently incompatible with having deep, committed intimate relationships. I believe, and hope, that when more people see that people they know are poly (or otherwise nonmonogamous), they won’t be so quick to dismiss, deride, or judge us. And they’ll be aware that they have choices, too.
Privilege is an issue for any non-mainstream choice. I’ve deliberately configured a life where it doesn’t really cost me anything to be out as poly. I’m unlikely to lose my livelihood, the love and respect of my family and friends, custody of a child (I have no kids), my home, or my personal or professional reputation because people know I’m poly. I respect that other poly people do face such constraints — and I’m annoyed that our society is so oppressive. So I’m out on their behalf too. Because I can be.
Also, being out as poly means I get to meet more poly people. And some of them are hot, and most of them are pretty cool too. That kinda rocks :-)
A few years ago my former spouse and I parted ways on the best of terms, and we’re still very close and caring, and visit regularly. We didn’t divorce over polyamory — our marriage simply ran its course after 12 years (plus 6 monogamous years together prior to getting married). That happens, and it’s natural and good. I’ve always been amused by the benchmark that a relationship is officially a “success” only when somebody dies.
Now I live alone and am in a committed relationship with an amazing poly man in the Bay Area. He’s brilliant, kind, loving, caring and intriguing in every sense. He also lives with his partner, who he’s very committed to, and I care for and respect her and what they share.
This summer I’m moving back to Colorado, and he and I will continue our relationship long distance with regular visits. I’m glad I live in the age of the internet and easy air travel. And I am open to dating guys (yes, I’m pretty hetero) in Colorado’s Front Range once I get there.
Because life is full of possibilities. And once you turn off the autopilot, all sorts of options arise. You just need to choose them consciously, and carefully.
ARE YOU POLYAMOROUS? Here’s how to add your face & description of what polyamory means to you to ModernPoly’s Faces of Polyamory project.