A few weeks ago I was talking to a guy I am casually seeing and in the middle of the conversation I got uncertain whether I already talked to him about a certain topic. I asked him if I had already told him — as I didn’t want to repeat it if I had.
He mockingly told me: “That must have been your other boyfriend…”
I frowned and almost snorted. Hah. I don’t have another boyfriend. Hell, I didn’t even know he considered himself to be one.
It was funny and unsettling at once — but my genuine surprise convinced him that he didn’t need to worry about his territory being invaded.
It’s true. At the moment I am not seeing anyone else. But I don’t consider us more than just a series of casual encounters. It is not entirely about sex, but in my mind, it doesn’t fit the criteria of a relationship.
He cares about me, but it’s fine if we don’t talk for a couple of weeks. He is always enthusiastic to see me and talk to me but we don’t crave each others’ presence.
I care about him, but I don’t have feelings for him. I don’t think about him, I don’t worry if he doesn’t call, I don’t get upset if he cancels on me due to some other obligation.
But his territorial comment startled me. He masked it very quickly, but he had a jealous tone to the subtle accusation. He laughed it away, but it stuck with me, that although we never promised exclusivity to each other — he would prefer if he didn’t need to share me.
And for the thousandth time, I was thinking about how polyamory and the concept of consensually loving more than one person at the same time is so mature and emotionally advanced. And at the moment when this guy made his funny comment, it hit me how my previous relationships got ruined by possessiveness, jealousy and just general narrow-mindedness.
Love can never possess. Love is giving freedom to the other. Love is an unconditional gift, it’s not a bargain. — Osho
A monogamous relationship is never unconditional
It is always based on the condition of having a fixed emotion towards your significant other. It always demands love and exclusivity — in exchange for love and exclusivity, regardless of whether the expectations are met by the other or not.
Us, humans have the ability to connect with each other on multiple levels, which makes our encounters fascinating. The more level we match on, the better it gets. We can match emotionally, sexually, intellectually, spiritually — and in our lives, the need for the different levels of connection can vary. For example, in my twenties I was looking for an emotional and sexual connection and my need for intellectual connection came only later.
I made the mistake earlier to ignore one or another aspect of my needs, only to realise later that it became much more important than I thought it would.
Emotionally I feel I am ready to go for polyamory.
A lot of people say that polyamory is like having your cake and eating it too, whatever that means. In reality, it’s more like being in charge of managing the whole damn bakery. — Unknown
As I understand it, polyamory is being in an intimate relationship with more than one person — where all parties are fully aware and consensual about the situation. It is based on love (hence the word “amory”, and that’s why we are not talking about swinging) and respect and honesty and open communication.
I don’t know how to start, but my previous, monogamous relationships taught me a few things — and they all point toward the idea of polyamory offering a viable alternative.
It is possible to love multiple people at the same time. Human connection is beautifully layered, there are so many things that can trigger it. And it is such a rare thing to find each expectation fulfilled by the same person. Moreso, even if it is fulfilled by that one person, there can be some additional attraction (not just bodily, but of minds, intellects, interests, whatever) that could give an even more complete sensation.
I have been in a situation, where I was in a committed relationship with someone and in the meantime, I started to have feelings for someone else too. It wasn’t lust, it wasn’t really infatuation. The first one was satisfying every emotional and physical need I had, and there came the second one who swept me off my feet with such an intellect that I couldn’t help falling in love with him too. Needless to say, in a monogamous setup, where none of had an alternative, but remaining loyally miserable or cheating, I couldn’t have it both, and I ended up losing both.
Monogamy forces us to narrow our attention to one single person. Monogamy is about loving that one significant other, whether they can meet our expectations to connect on every level or not. After the first initial period of infatuation wears out we have to realise that no partner is perfect, even if the infatuation is turning into love and respect. When you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship, you start to take your partner’s good features for granted and you start to see their flaws.
We want what we can’t have. It’s such a human trait, such an impossible fault of our species. To want something we cannot have. The danger of idolizing someone you can’t have is real, just because there are some inexplicable beauty and attraction in what you cannot have or what you need to fight for. It is only human, there is nothing to do about it. It’s not good, or bad. It’s just is. In monogamy, there is a risk of imagining another one to be perfect when they, too, have flaws like everyone else.
In a polyamorous relationship, there should be no idolisation, no FOMO when the opportunity is there to form another special connection with the knowledge and consent of your partner. There is no need for daydreaming and what-ifs, you can go and find it out if it could work or not. In monogamy you don’t have the option of this “alternative universe”, looking outside of the relationship is going to be a deal-breaker one way or the other — either breaking the relationship or breaking the trust or breaking someone’s heart.
Feeling for someone else is off-limits in monogamy. Like every other healthy and balanced relationship, polyamory is based on consent, communication and common goals. The only difference is that there are more than two people involved, which makes it both easier and more difficult. Setting healthy boundaries and communication is imperative in any relationship — but with the traditional way of relationships, we assume that the boundaries are already set by society, norms, habits. It is a clear rule that in monogamy no one sleeps with anyone else outside the relationship. Kissing is off-limits too. And feelings are off-limits too.
You are not always in control of your feelings, but acting upon them is a choice.
In monogamy, having feelings are just as much frowned upon as acting upon them. Which is bad. If polyamory and a polyamorous setup allow people to keep their most basic human trait, the ability to feel and to form connections — it sounds to me like the choice we should all go for.
Healthier sexual morals are better. In polyamory, sexual morals are perceived a lot healthier, as the biggest barriers, monogamy and possessiveness are out of the question. In my ideal world sexuality is about pleasure, reciprocity, intimacy — not about the feeling of “you are mine”. I was duped by a false promise of possessiveness, where I considered it to be the sign of utmost love and care — when it was just to be able to control me, manipulate and permission to judge me.
At this point in my life, I am single. And while I am looking for a relationship, I am seeing someone casually. I have a crush on someone else, but I am not pursuing it. I have a dormant crush on someone else, that I am terrified to wake as it would crush me if I get rejected, but it would wash away everything else if it blooms. I have an intellectual crush on a third one… and I don’t want to give it up.
It’s a lot, right? I know. I have all these feelings in me and none of them gets restricted by any societal construct.
Being single has its perks — I don’t need to choose.
But I want a relationship, I would like to sleep with someone and wake up with someone every day. But I’d prefer if I didn’t have to choose then either…
Thinking about it, the idea of not needing to choose is very liberating. Not just for the sake of choice, but also for being in charge of your own rules, setting your own norms, creating your own healthy boundaries — without the burden of the traditional expectations.
Polyamory is not for everyone. I am told. I am sure this is true. It might not be for me, and maybe I just want someone who can embody everything I have ever wanted. But it might be impossible and I might be missing out on a lot of opportunities to find different aspects of connection and happiness.
Emotionally, I am ready.
Now I just have to start…