Posts tagged polyamory
Posts tagged polyamory
As most of you know, I’m polyamorous. Depending on how sappy I’m feeling at any given moment, I’ve described my relationship situation as anywhere between “my dance card is full” to “the universe has spoiled me in this regard”. (And I do truly feel lucky and blessed, in all honesty.)
The other day a friend of mine and I were chatting on KIK and he asked as a sort of small talk conversation opener how my love life was going. I laughed and said that, all things considered, I have nothing to complain about whatsoever in that regard. He responded back with a joke that maybe that was with the exception of mechanical strain on certain bodily areas. (He also has a tendency to worry, and so I’ll say right up that the joke was fine, taken in the spirit intended, it just served as a touchstone for thinking about this post.)
A long time ago, I went out to dinner with a bunch of highschool friends, and in the process had reason to “come out” to them as poly also, in a more direct way, perhaps. It turned into a dinner of largely fielding questions about it, and they were largely the sort of questions where you can tell the people aren’t entirely okay with it. At one point, in a far less well-meaning way than the joke above, one of them took me aside and with a tone of exaggerated concern asked, “I’m sorry, but I have to ask. Is this sexual addiction?”
And I ran into a similar thing once in the most surprising of venues: A local poly social group, wherein we filled out an anonymous survey as an icebreaker that had an option for “libido” and I ticked “low” (I’d say it oscillates between ‘low’ and ‘average’ over time), and when it was read out, somebody laughed and said, “So what are you doing here??”
There’s a phrase that a lot of poly people I know use: “Our wild poly lifestyle.” I’ve never once in my life heard it used in earnest. It’s always meant with the same tone of fond irony, and usually said when spending a Friday night doing laundry or filing taxes.
This could probably have been one of those, “Society thinks,” “My friends think,” “My family thinks,” “I think,” “Reality,” GIF sets, if I were had a better collection of media for that. But the truth of the matter is that most poly people’s lives look a whole lot like most non-poly people’s lives. We have the same basic stuff that needs to get done, and the same basic human limitations. I have to do laundry and wash the dishes and scoop the cat litter. I come home from work tired and don’t have the spoons for human interaction sometimes. I get the same two-day weekend, and the same huge set of things I’d like to explore and share in life.
As an example of my wild poly lifestyle, last night claw-foot picked me up from work along with our puppy, Luna. We went on to pick up fatadditives from her home. Due to a slightly inadvisable detour, we tooled around the city for a but but finally arrived at the dog park, where the three of us watched dogs run around like maniacs and be goofs, and made occasional small talk with the other dog owners, for maybe an hour or an hour and a half. Afterward, we stopped at a grocery store so I could buy some ingredients, and the three of us came back to claw-foot and my house. I cooked dinner while claw-foot ran pet interference between the puppy and the cats and fatadditives surfed the net on her tablet at first, and then later I called her in to help with chopping and mincing. It all took a bit longer than expected, we were all kinda tired, and we were all starving, so the three of us pretty much ate at the dining room table in comfortable tired silence. After, I spent about half an hour messing with technology so we could watch a movie, and we all sat down and watched Pitch Perfect together. When it was done, it was about 11 o’clock, and claw-foot put the puppy to bed, then she and I drove fatadditives home, after which we both immediately collapsed into bed and passed out within moments.
I gotta be honest with you. I’m not going to claim that I’m a virgin, and that I lead a chaste life of self-denial. But I don’t think I have particularly any more sex than most non-poly people do, and because as mentioned above my libido isn’t wildly high, I probably have less (which isn’t a complaint — I’m the limiting factor there). A lot of the “dates” I go on with the people I’m involved with are completely not about sex. We go to dinner or the movies, we have lunch in a park, whatever. Even when we stay in, I’m as apt to want to show them a favourite movie or play video games together as I am to want to go to bed. Two of my partners are long-distance. One I see on average about once a month, more recently closer to once every two months because of life circumstances, and the other I see about once a year, although we chat on skype every week.
I feel sometimes like when people ask me questions that imply that I must be drowning in sex (and I’m talking mostly of my highschool friend’s sexual addiction question here rather than the other jokes made), it’s saying more to me about either their own level of satisfaction with or their own mode of relating with their partner than asking me about mine, which always feels weird to me.
But anyway, I think that would be my message in this to the people who aren’t poly and gave some strange dream about what poly lives look like: They look pretty much the same as yours, just with a lot more Google Calendar, and really complicated family holidays.
Next week on Unintentionally Poly T-shirts… ;)
If there’s one thing I wish would die in a fire forever… well, okay, there are a lot of terrible things that would take precedence for that. But *among* the things I wish would die in a fire forever are discussions of polyamory that depend upon portraying monogamy as being less evolved / less enlightened / abusive / possessive / whatever.
I’m poly. I feel that polyamory works for me. My partners are poly. They feel that polyamory works for them. It’d be fair for us to say that we feel that polyamory works better for us. It would even be fair and okay for us to characterize monogamy as having been a poor fit for us in various ways. It would be fair to say that we found monogamy restrictive for us. (I’d have to think about whether that’s accurate or not, as would they, but it would be fair to say if we came to that realization.)
However, if I never hear another poly person describe monogamous people as placing restrictions upon each other or kidding themselves about their relationships or being deceptive to themselves or anything else of that sort, it will be too soon. That has to stop.
Like any societal default, I’m sure there are people who don’t actively choose monogamy in an examined way. I’m sure there are people who don’t realize that there are other options, and I’m sure there are people who believe that there are other options but don’t believe that they have the freedom to pursue them. (There may even be those who don’t feel that they have the courage to pursue them, but I’d guard against overestimating that.) These are probably real. There are probably relationships where people feel restricted and trapped in a monogamous relationship. That undoubtedly happens.
But there are also many, many people who choose monogamy voluntarily, in full freedom, with open eyes, minds, and hearts, and who don’t feel that their partner has imposed restrictions upon them, who do not feel that only blinders keep them together. AND FOR $ENTITY’S SAKE THERE ARE MONOGAMOUS PEOPLE WHO DON’T CHEAT AND DON’T FEEL A DESIRE TO. For real.
Their love is no less (or more!) beautiful than yours, no less (or more!) valid or true than yours. People should be able to love how they want without oppression, ridicule, or derision, and that includes monogamously.
A friend passed me a flyer from an Ontario Institute of Studies in Education / University of Toronto grad student seeking participants for a study on queer, polyamorous women. You can find the flyer with details and contact information here (PDF).
Please note that while that’s hosted on my domain (since it was sent to me by Facebook message where it’s hard to link), I’m not involved in the study, nor do I directly know the person conducting it.
Still, if you’re interested, please check it out, and otherwise, feel free to pass this along. :)
Tim Tams: The official poly snack? ;)
(I think we actually have a package in the kitchen.)
I can’t tell if it is the kind of people I seem to be attracted to, or if it is the popularity in general, but is there anyone out there in an open/poly relationship who doesn’t like Dr. Who?
Not a condemnation, just a question. Also don’t you dare give any spoilers, I’m still in the David Tennant Dr seasons.
*laughs* I know a few who don’t, but it does seem to be a higher percentage than the general population.
And wait until you watch Torchwood … <3
I have to admit it: I’m poly and I don’t like Dr. Who. Torchwood even less so. (If I tracked how many followers I have, it’d be interesting to see how many I lose in the next day. ;) )