This week my girlfriend has moved in with my boyfriend and I. We’ve been in a poly relationship for a long time (5 years next month!), but we have never all lived together. So I’m expecting a lot of things to come up, like any relationship dynamic.
Kitten and I used to be best friends, for years before we started dating. Actually the beginning of our relationship was like something out of some weird romantic comedy; except the lesbian couple weren’t killed off in the first few episodes. There was all of this guilt and uncertainty for the first 6 months.. we both have long term male partners as well, god knows how they put up with our ridiculousness.
Almost every couple of days now, I see an article about polyamory; some people say it works for them, other people say that we’re greedy and that it’s cheating (I still don’t get that logic, but whatever). There have even been studies that suggest that it promotes healthier relationship practices, because it forces you to communicate more that a lot of people are comfortable with.
The concept of monogamy was always a weird one for me, even at a young age I couldn’t understand a lot of the ‘rules’ that comprised a relationship. I was told that I didn’t love my partner enough because I wasn’t a jealous person, I ‘let’ them talk to whoever they wanted, ‘let’ them dance with whoever they wanted and ‘let’ them sleep with whoever they wanted.
Ugh. That word still gets to me. Let.
I am not their parent, I didn’t push them out of my vagina. I am their partner, and I will tell you now, when I see my partner happy and exploring themselves and sharing their amazingness, nothing makes me happier. (I’ve been told that this is called ‘compersion’, like a second-hand love and happiness)
That isn’t to say that jealousy doesn’t exist within a poly relationship, but it is explored and talked about.
Jealousy is a weird emotion, but it is a useful one. It is generally a knee-jerk reaction to something that we feel insecure about ourselves. When we are provided with that reflection and can explore what it is that we are really upset about, we can learn from it and move forward. Personally, I get jealous when I think that I am not good enough, which is my brain telling me that I’m not putting in enough effort into my relationship. So from there I know I need to have some quality time with them and reconnect.
I think it comes back to the fact that we are all human and we all have different needs. I think it is unfair to expect one person to magically fulfill all of your needs and still be able to grow and fulfill all of their own goals as well. Once I realized this, I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to be the ‘perfect’ girlfriend, as well as the perfect family member and friend and colleague etc. It lets me live more congruently with my values, and helps me to encourage my partners to explore and grow, to experience different kinds of love and to be able to share their own love.
Okay, now I’m starting to sound like some stoned dude from the 60’s. I’ll stop now.
I’m definitely not advocating that polyamory is for everyone, or that there is anything wrong with monogamous couples. Different strokes for different folks and all that. However I don’t think that being judged as a ‘cheater’ or ‘not in love with my partner’ is fair, and the first step is to bring awareness to the subject.