What is Polyamory?
I am C. Poly; I have been married for almost 7 years. But I’ve only been with my girlfriend for a little over 6 months. She and her boyfriend are new to all of this, while my husband and I have been practicing since 2014!
The thing is, I have never been good at keeping my emotions in check. While I have never cheated on a partner, I can’t help but develop feelings for other people. I used to think I was flawed and hid this bit of myself from my significant others, but one day back in 2012 I met a married woman who casually mentioned her boyfriend, and it blew my mind. I chatted with this lady for months and did constant research on this new phrase: polyamory.
Polyamory is “the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.” While monogamy is just between two people, polyamorous relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Some people practice open relationships and closed relationships, while others swing or have a don’t ask don’t tell set up. Others practice polyamory as their religion, while some view it as a sexual identity. I identify as polyamorous, and we practice an open relationship.
Finally, I brought it up to my husband, and surprisingly he was open to it! We talked about it for two years before acting on it. We have had many up’s and down’s, happy moments, and difficult challenges, but I believe that we are better for it! Learning how to communicate and talk about our wants and needs has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced! Communication is a large part of any relationship, and it is the foundation of successful polyamorous relationships.
Sadly, it hasn’t all been happiness and rainbows. Breakups, jealousy, and troubles in our marriage have been plentiful in our journey. Going through a breakup when you are married and polyamorous is a strange experience. Personally, I don’t want to lean on my husband because it is not his fault, but I know that he is there and he wants to help me when I am hurting. Jealousy has been another big issue, but once we accepted it for what it is, just an emotion, we have had an easier time with it.
If you are interested in or trying to get into polyamory, it is important to recognize jealousy as just an emotion, be ready to communicate until you are blue in the face, and know what you want. Labeling jealousy as a personality trait can lead to trouble and lack of communication. And not knowing what your wants are will only lead to resentment from not being able to communicate your needs to your partner(s) properly.
Polyamory isn’t for everyone, and it has its challenges. But if you find yourself not feeling fulfilled with one relationship in your life or feel like you're being pulled into the polyamorous lifestyle, know that it does come with many happy moments and more love than you could imagine! Afterall, polyamory literally translates to loving many.