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Polyamory for the Practical

The Polyamorous Misanthrope

Welcome to the The Polyamorous Misanthrope, in which myself, the Goddess of Java, or some guest columnist will rant, rave and otherwise edify on some poly subject.   If you have an idea for a column or a rant on spike, contact me and we'll talk it over.

If It Ain't About Love

Peeve time, and this is a big one.

I get sucked into drama really easily.   I'm an intense person and all the gods know that I am a sucker for almost any type of intensity - good and bad.

A personal Poly Drama got me talking to one of my spice recently.   As we were talking, he sighed and said, "I don't really consider myself poly."

At this point, I looked at him like he had three heads.   I mean, he lives in a group marriage, for goodness sake!

"I don't get it.   You're in love with two women.   I know you are," I said.   After all, one of those women was me and I know he's in love with our wife.

He shrugged.   "Yes, I am.   But I'm not poly.   Polyamory isn't about love that I've been able to see.   It's all about playacting and drama."

This cut me up short and hard.   God, I soo wanted to protest...  "No! No! No! Darling, it is too about the love.   It's all about the love.   You're just not seeing it because you're isolated from the community, you won't hang out with poly people enough.   You're just getting the bitching at home!"

However, there something about this husband that makes it really hard to bullshit yourself when you're talking to him.   Oh you can scream and rail and call him names and call him a blind idiot, but it's a waste of time.   It's better to shut up and think a minute.  'Cause no, he's not always right.   You do have to think.   However, he is a damned intuitive man.   So, I shut up and thought about what I was feeling in the moment of my own Personal Poly Drama.   The whole situation on all parts was not coming from a place of love, I can tell you, and this particular poly situation is so common that if someone posted it to a discussion list it would get an eyeroll for being boring.   I've seen it and its various permutations at least once a week for the past eight years.

I realized something.

Polyamory is supposed to be about love, but my husband was right.   Tragically, far more often than not, it is not.   In my watching the poly community over the last eight years or so, I see a truly appalling lack of love .   In my own life...  God, oh God, it is worse.   There are days when I marvel at the complete gall I am showing in having anything to do with the poly community, much less write any articles about relationships.   I make so many foolish, blind, unloving mistakes in my relationships it's not even funny.   Oh, the NRE crap? Got that down pat.   Sure do.   It's fun and I'm not running it down.   It has its place, honest.

Don't leave out the real thing.

If it ain't about the love of all your relationships at the core of it, it's not worth it.   Really, it isn't.

So what do I mean by love?

While I am not a Christian, but when speaking on the nature and power of love, I really think this passage is simply brilliant:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body to be burned but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails.  But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.  9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.  11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.  12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.  13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

I'm not about fluffybunny here.   The cosmic muffin nonsense that some people pass off as this universal love crap without following through gets to me.   It cheapens the work, worth and power of what love really is.   Don't listen to words.   Watch actions.   Okay, just for the record though, I don't want any of you guys quoting this article and saying, "See, see, I got hurt, so that's proof you don't love me!" Mama Java, she don't like it when people twist her words.   People can fuck up, be blind, be human, be faulty and still be loving.   It's whether or not you keep on trying, 'kay? That's the essence of a lot of what I am talking about.   Do you get back up and keep trying when you fall short of your own ideals? Do you accept that your loves are going to fall short of their own ideals, and give them the opportunity to keep trying? So many poly people get on their high horses about love.   Frankly, the general run of us win no damned prizes in the demonstration of love department.   We're about on par with monogamous folks.   That's okay, mind.   We're human.   But let's step down off the damned high horse, 'kay? We look like bloody hypocrites, and it's got to stop.

I wanna go over in detail a bit of this Bible passage (any of you former Southern Baptists out there havin' flashbacks yet? LOL).   I want it very clear that I do not claim for one second, by the way, to fulfill all these goals.   They're goals in becoming a more loving human being.   I am not there by a long shot.  

  • Love is patient.

    Patience isn't just the ability to wait without fidgeting.   Can you hold your tongue and listen fully when discussing something with a loved one? More to the point, do you? If you want an issue resolved right now can you still bring yourself to wait and give a loved one time to think?

    Do not confuse patience with putting things off, though.   They're not the same thing.   Avoidance isn't patience.

  • Love is kind

    Kindness is one of those odd things.   It's not quite just being "nice", though that can be and usually is a component.   Kindness has to do with genuinely having the welfare of the other (or self if you're discussing love of self) at heart.

    Here's where the issue comes in, though.   You're not wise enough to make choices for other adults.   No, you're not special here.   I know you wanna help, but that kind of nonsense ain't kind, so if the goal is being loving, don't be doing it.

  • Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude

    Kinda hard to be loving when you're wanting something the other person is/has, are bragging, or being caught up in your own ego.   That's really the essence of it.   Don't be so damned ego driven if being loving is your goal.

  • It does not insist on its own way

    If you're into Me! Me! Me! exclusively, you're not being loving.   Loving yourself does mean taking care of yourself, but balance here.   Balance is important.

  • It is not irritable or resentful

    Are you holding on to past pains, shortcomings or things like that? Not loving.   This means purging resentments - the ones held against yourself included.   Remember what I said, you cannot be honest to goodness loving to someone else until you are doing the same with yourself.   In fact, it makes it easier.   Trust me on this one.

  • It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth

    "Yeah, she got what was coming to her..." Not a loving thought.   "Hey, she learned from that.   Cool!" Loving thought...  It's a pretty simple concept.

    Rejoicing in the truth means that you're not going to want to pretend that things are other than they are, either.   You're going to want the honest facts, rather than fool yourself.   This can be hard, if you want to ignore things that you don't like.

  • It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

    This boils down to one essential concept - forgiveness.   If you're dedicated to being loving, you're dedicated to forgiving.   You're dedicated to forgiving yourself and everyone around you for being flawed and human.   This is not an easy thing to do.   Worth it, but not easy.

I've been doing a lot of ranting on this subject among some of my intimates lately, and one of them brought up an interesting point as well, commenting that he saw a lot of relationship problems as being matters of not seeing things clearly, and laboring under misconceptions.   While do not entirely share the full world view (I think that you can still see things clearly and choose to be unloving.   He has a somewhat more positive view of humans than I), he does have a point.   It's hard to be genuinely loving when looking "though a glass darkly".   You cannot make the loving choice when laboring under misinformation, self-deception or assumptions.   Truth is Love's most precious companion.   Keep that in mind as you look at your own life, your own loves and your own choices in life.

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