Monday, March 16, 2009

Love and non-monogamy.

I've spoken to a few people, and received a few comments here that have led me to think that I've given the impression that I think love and non-monogamy are mutually exclusive. I don't think that.

Not at all, actually.

I am admittedly young and as such necessarily new to expressly non-monogamous relationships. But even my limited experience thus far has been so incredibly positive that it's made me re-think my automatic imaginings of my future as a monogamous one. I have been happier, relationship-wise, in the past year or two that I've embraced polyamory then I've been in quite some time. Some of that is due to a series of particularly wonderful partners - some of whom I'm still with. Overall, they've been honest and warm and welcoming and I've learned things from them about myself and the world and life and love.

Specifically in the case of Friend, probably my most consistent partner (in that we're entirely open with one another and continue to care about each other even when we're not in the same place, and then fall back into our old routine when we are), I have never felt second-rate. I know that he has other partners, and he knows that I do as well. We talk about them. We talk about someday maybe introducing some of them to each other. I have never felt cheated out of time with him or neglected. The terms of our relationship are very clear.

And we tell one another that we love each other on a daily basis. It might not be that epic, fairy-tale OH EM GEE I LOVVVVEEEE YOU style, but it is very real. I love him very much. And I believe he feels the same about me. It's a simple matter of fact. And I'm happy when I'm with him.

And I'm happy when I'm with my other partners. I'm happy when I'm with Jacob. I know for a fact that he loves me. And I love him back. He's been there for me through quite a bit, and he brings something unique to my life. My family likes him, and that makes me happy, although that's not something I ever thought I would care about. He's sweet, and an excellent cuddler, and indulges me in all kinds of wonderful ways. Actually, he tends to spoil me. Sometimes I can't handle it, and I know that actually, in this relationship, it's usually me who's the one hesitant to say I love you. But those are my own issues.

So no, I don't see my non-monogamy as excluding love. And I don't see falling in love with someone as an automatic declaration of monogamy. In fact, it's more likely that the more I cared about someone, the more likely I would be to be honest and open with them about not being monogamous. I've cheated before, and hurt people I really love. I don't ever want to do that. This is the best way I've found to do that.
"I'm sorry I have to say it, but you look like you're sad - your smile is gone, I noticed it bad. The cure is if you let in just a little more love... I promise you this - a little's enough."

It hasn't been flawless, but no life, no relationship, ever is. But instead of saying that non-monogamous people are lacking in love, I argue the opposite - we're the lucky ones in that we're more surrounded by love than most. I can think of two, three, maybe even four people right away who I love in a romantic sense and who love me back. And there's no conflict with that. How can that not be real love?


Amalthea said...

I have never for a second gotten the impression that you viewed love and non-monogamy are mutually exclusive.

I adore this post though - it has such power and experience in it. Owning the relationships you have, your own paths to happiness, and then adding in a wonderful song?

Pretty fantastic. I agree with you about the love thing to... it just works for some people. Some people can unjealously spread it all around to many people without shorting anyone. It's beautiful.

Merlin said...

A book could be written in response to this wonderfully positive post. But I will spare you that and limit myself to a couple of observations:

Many people wrap up their egos in their relationships. This is the root of jealousy, I think: the fear that someone else will devastate you by depriving you of the lover that boosts your ego.

You seem to be refreshingly free of that. In fact, you seem less comfortable with the lover who tries to build you up (Jacob) than with the lover who is more of an equal partner (Friend).

If your ego is not dependent on being the only person, or even the primary person, your lover has sex with, you have the right stuff to be a successful polyamorist. May you continue to find others with the same healthy outlook.

gynger said...

I totally understand what you are saying and wish that i wasnt so selfish or jealous. Im messing around with a guy who has a kid and a girlfriend. She knows about him not being a monogamous person and she's ok with it, for the most part.
He says he loves me and i love him too. I just dont think, i can get past the fact that when hes not with me, he could possibly be with some other girl.