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The Polyamorous Misanthrope

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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.   For past articles, check out the Archive .

Choice

I've run across a few items in discussion lists lately where people who are experimenting with polyamory have been bemoaning the fact that they can't "get with the program", or that they can't get rid of jealousy, resentment or what have you.

Now, I will be the first to tell someone that resentment, jealousy and such are things you do not want to hold on to. You want to get to the bottom of your feelings, find out why you feel what you do and get rid of it, get over it -- do what you have to to deal. Resentment will eat your soul alive and turn you into a very bitter and twisted person. I seriously doubt most people want that for themselves. Jealousy is a sign that something's amiss and it's important to get to the bottom of this. Now, understand I am not saying this as someone who never feels either jealous or resentful, or has overcome the problem. I struggle with both on a regular basis in many areas of my life. Neither emotion, by the way, is limited to romantic relationships. In fact, if you have a problem with either, I would say that it's quite likely these things spill over into other aspects of your life.

As you explore what you're feeling and why, one very valid and important question to ask yourself is, "Is polyamory really for me?"

It might be. It might not. Things may be changing in you, too. I can recall a time when I was completely cool with casual, light relationships. I enjoyed them and found them fulfilling. As my tastes changed, I recognized I needed to choose relationships that were in harmony with my new tastes. If I didn't, it could make me unhappy. No biggie. Just choice.

Some questions you might want to ask yourself in trying to decide if polyamory is really for you:

  • Why do I want this?

    What do you hope to get out of polyamory? Are you doing it because you're in love with someone and are afraid you'll lose him? Are you doing it because you feel it's "enlightened" somehow? (It's not. Poly people have about the same general range of enlightenment as the rest of the general population). Do you think that you'll be happiest either being romantically involved or having the freedom to be romantically involved with more than one person? Are you doing it because your partner has asked for this and you're happy and relaxed about her being happy? If you're doing it out of a positive feeling rather than out of fear, you're more likely to be making a happy choice for yourself.

  • If I have worries and fears, why do I want to overcome them?

    Do I feel like my worries and fears are illogical? Do I feel that overcoming these will improve my relationships (the answer here is "yes", by the way, even if you don't choose a poly relationship!). Do I actually feel the fears are valid and I'm trying to keep a relationship together that shouldn't be?

Mostly I am putting this out here because I am worried about people going through contortions to try to "make" themselves do something that is not happy and fulfilling. The choice to be open to polyamorous relationships is such an individual thing, after all. There's really no value judgment either way, in my own humble opinion.

There's a flip side to this. Your partner might find polyamory the way that makes her most happy and fulfilled. Then you're coming up against some hard choices. I know of one couple pretty well where the husband is poly and the wife is not. They're both happy and relaxed about it. She's perfectly happy with him forming other relationships, trusts him to be there for her when she needs him and and vice versa. She doesn't seek other relationships -- just not where she's at. I will note that it seems to work best if the monogamous partner is a very independent person.

If it turns out that your objections to polyamory are because you'd find it difficult for your partner to be forming other relationships, and your partner will be happiest and most fulfilled forming other relationships, then yes, you have a problem. I wish I could give you a pat answer to this one. Unfortunately, there isn't one. There are a lot of factors to be weighed. How important is it to both of you to continue the relationship -- to what lengths are both of you willing to go to do so? As you explore this, the answer will become clearer.

Some people will decide that they want to make themselves as okay as they can be with polyamory to try to preserve the relationship. Sometimes, this works out well, and sometimes it really blows up. Because relationships are such individual things, it's hard to predict. The only thing that I can really offer here is to own your own feelings and such as your own responsibility and hang on hard to the fact that ultimately, your life is in your own hands -- happy or sad, your life is your own to mold, and your happiness is completely in your own hands.

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