Since before I even knew it had a name, I’ve wondered about polyamory.
I asked myself if it was possible to love more than one person at once. Of course I know it is, because I love both of my parents, my sister and my other family members. Parents love their children, and there’s never any question of them having less love to go around with each new arrival.
No one really cares whether you have only a few friends, a couple of different friend circles, or lots of friends across lots of circles. There’s no expectation that you should have only one friend, and depend solely on them (and they on you) for all your friendship needs. In fact, most people would find that quite odd.
I’ve had many friendships in my life that have petered out, some that have ended bluntly and fewer still that have endured throughout the years. It’s perfectly acceptable to spend less time with some friends than others, to fall away from a friendship and rekindle it later. No one wonders aloud whether you’ll remain friends with someone after one of you has moved away to another city or country.
So why do we think so differently when it comes to romantic love and sexual attractions?
It seems to be fine to date multiple people and to have sexual relationships with them, as long as it’s part of your search for The One. As soon as you’ve decided to attach a label to one of your relationships (boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/etc) you must then forsake all others for as long as that relationship lasts.
The media bombards us every day with the myth that we can’t be truly happy until we’ve found The One and that once we’ve found them, we’ll live happily ever after. Almost every film you’ve ever seen is about finding and ending up with The One. Those movies end at that point for a reason – in real life we don’t live in eternal bliss after running through a field of wheat into the waiting arms of our One True Love.
As humans, we are messy and complicated and very often we want more from our relationships than one person can give us. I question whether it’s fair or reasonable to expect that from someone – or to have the weight of that expectation placed on me.
What if we viewed our romantic and sexual relationships in the same way we view our friendships? Then we could have any number of partners, we could have different levels of involvement in their lives, some of them might know each other, they might even date each other.
Being part of a community of open-minded individuals, like the people I’ve met through Lvrsnfrnds has shown me so many examples of people thriving, living the kinds of lives I could only half-imagine years ago.
I’ve discovered that it’s absolutely possible to have lasting union with a main partner (and raise children together if that’s your thing) whilst also having other caring and meaningful relationships that might come and go, or might also be long-term. It’s even possible to have true friendships with the people your partners are in relationships with.
As with any type of relationship, polyamory isn’t guaranteed to be free from drama, but also like any relationship, it will be open and honest communication that wins the day.
Are you feeling left out? Left behind? Jealous? That’s all ok, everyone feels that way sometimes – although for me I’ve mostly felt those things when I was in monogamous relationships. I’ve felt it when I was single and I’ve felt it in family relationships and in friendships, so it’s not unique to polyamory.
Every one of the monogamous romantic relationships I’ve had in my life has ended. I’m still determined to live happily ever after, but I won’t be relying on The One to make all of my dreams come true. I’m capable of doing that for myself and if I get to share the life I’ve made with an assortment of friends and loved ones, then I’ll consider myself to be very fortunate indeed.
Side note- I haven’t spend a great deal of time musing over this, but I have done my reading and taken small steps into this lifestyle in my relationships over the last couple of years. If you want to read more about the ups and downs of polyamorous living, take a look at the articles posted by my friend Tom on his blog https://thomashbrand.medium.com