We are just shy of two months out of the closet. Two months of reactions to us publicly announcing that we have left the sacred path of monogamy and decided to practice ethical non-monogamy. There has of course been many reactions all the way from: you are leading people to hell, to wow, that is great tell me how to do this thing. And I guess for those of you believing this is the road to hell, the latter statement proves the former.
The response of family is of course more cautious. While there has been some support there is also the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) rejection. If one of my siblings had met a new partner, everyone would want to know everything about them and meet them. But with the poly relationships there is an uncertainty. Is this real? How integrated is this person? Can we talk about it without triggering Jealousy? There has also been sweet moments of connection and support of course. And so in the end, mostly silence. I get it, it’s a lot to take in It has taken me years of conversations and reflection to arrive at this point and I don’t expect anyone to really get it after just a few months. So the most common comment though is this one: I don’t understand what you are doing. (but it’s your life, often tagged on at the end)
It’s a bit of a conversation killer. It’s not a question, so no answer is required. It’s not a judgement or a word of support. It is confusion without a real desire for resolution.
I am unsure how to unpack this non-question, I don’t know how to respond to it in written communication (in real life the counter question would be, what is it you do not understand, how can I clarify this). I will make a valiant attempt though.
What am I doing?
I am exploring non-monogamy. That is together with Hanna I have redefined fidelity as staying true to the agreement of our relationship rather than fidelity as only being intimate with one person. So in our lives we now have expanded our hearts and our love life to include more than one person.
Why am I doing it?
This is a key question isn’t it. Why would I do something as disruptive and confronting as loving other people (sorry that sarcasm just slipped right out there).
First of all, I truly feel that I have been poly all my life. I have always been attracted to and felt deep love for many people in my life at the same time. In the old story I always had to leave the one person to engage with the next, the results would be heart break and sadness for the person who got dumped but also for me, I would grieve the relationship left often in a way that would harm the new relationship.
Secondly I simply believe that our biological make-up as humans is set for non-monogamy. If we where made for monogamy it would be a lot easier for most people. As a couples counsellor and coach I realise that almost every couple I talk to run into trouble in this territory. Whether it is because the polarity of their relation has leaked or that they are actually feeling external attractions. monogamy is a battle against our own nature, which of course is why it is so beautiful. But it is not worth wrecking our relations and breaking our hearts over it.
Thirdly, polyamory is for me a spiritual path. It is a fast track to bring up all the crap of my ego and present it to me so that I may deal with it and grow. It is also the challenge to expand my heart and my love to include more people all the time, growing in love and consciousness.
How do I do it?
Yes, that is the question… Once people ask questions, it’s all about the how. Most people (not all) get the why, it’s the how that baffles them.
So how do I do it, how do we negotiate the openness and spaciousness of polyamory? Very, very carefully!
I spent four years just talking to Hanna about this, running every possible (and impossible) scenario in our heads. Of course nothing turned out like we imagined (reality was much better and much less scary) but having done the exercises in our minds allowed us to feel the feelings and prepare for what eventually came up.
We talk about everything, every little detail, every thought, feeling and desire. It is a great exercise to learn honesty, openness and vulnerability, because being in an open relationship starts with (surprise) being open. Open to your self, and open to your partner. This opens within and openness within the dyad must come before any openness towards others.
We feel what we feel and then we deal. Polyamory will bring you face to face with oh so many hidden qualities in your shadow. It will bring up all the wounds, insecurities and all the garbage out of your emotional past. So we get triggered, we feel some strong emotion, we express and we release. We embrace our shadows and our wounds to allow them to integrate and heal, and so we grow and transform as individuals and as a couple.
We also actively make connections with our metamours (our lovers lovers) to create bonds of sisterhood and brotherhood, to create a strong network of connections and a powerful field of love surrounding us and our extended family.
It is ok, not to understand or even like it.
Truly it is fine, I do not need you to understand or like what I am doing. If you want to be a friend accept that I am doing this. If not well, stop reading, unfriend me on Facebook, do what you need to do. But if you are curious or triggered, talk to us about it, ask the questions, it is ok.
The reasons I keep harping on about this in public are twofold. First of all it is always a process, there are no set rules to this way of living so openness and transparency means feedback and reflection. It allows us to correct and grow better.
Secondly for those that do understand, those that are curious and wants to negotiate this path, for those who needs to know that there are other options than the dichotomy of single or pair-bonded, for all of those people I keep writing.
Blessings on you all!