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Long-Term Polyamory Success

To Everyone Who Said Our Relationship Would Fail, Here’s to You

Joe Duncan
Dec 11, 2019 · 5 min read

One of the first things that happen when you get into a poly relationship, is you tend to keep it quiet, at least for a little while. As time goes on and it begins to look more and more serious, you might start telling your closest friends and family, letting them in on the dark secret of your clandestine little world. As this happens, people will invariably tell you they disapprove. You get a ton of different reasons for disapproval, none of them having any bearing in reality or making much sense, and some of them are downright offensive:

  • “I’m just concerned for your well-being! I don’t want you to get hurt!”
  • “You know, you’ll always have to share, right?”
  • “But, your partner will never be truly yours.”
  • “Are you sure you want to give up your freedom!?”
  • “Does this mean you’re gay? People are going to think you’re gay.”
  • “You’ll never have a future. This isn’t going to work.”
  • “Just so you know, you’ll always come in second place.”

One friend even suggested that it was so weird that I might get murdered. Full stop. They thought that anyone who would engage in polyamory must have some serious personal problems that puts them on par with murderers. If you’re considering polyamory or new to it, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ignore all of these people. I had one friend, a pansexual friend of mine, who was accepted, pretty much everyone else looked at me like I’d grown a second head whenever I told them what was going on with me.

You may want to skip this step altogether and save it for later, if ever, or just not deal with the hassle. I think it’s important to note that, in my view, polyamory isn’t an identity and it’s certainly not a sexual orientation like some people make it out to be. I know, I know, there are some people out there who will tell you that you absolutely have to tell everyone you know about your poly “status” and whatnot, but that’s absolute rubbish, do what makes you happy and avoid conflict where you can. We don’t have to tell our bosses, our families, we don’t even have to tell anyone else outside of our relationship if we don’t want to and it might spare us the headache.

These kinds of obnoxious conversations, especially the bit about ownership (which is what polyamorous people are trying to escape in the first place), spawned a new quip that I’d reply with, whenever someone would ask me how I was possibly comfortable with sharing a partner. “No one is ever really yours,” I’d tell them, continuing after a pause, “…it’s just your turn.”

That definitely shut a lot of people up, once they realized that everyone has a sexuality that’s their own and nobody else’s, that someone else’s sexual autonomy isn’t ours for the taking, and that every partner has a past and will have a future that might not include us. I call this sexual realism, not to mention common decency.

At this point, we’ve been quite happy for quite a long time and there are no signs of stopping. Things are pretty relaxed, we rotate chores, we have joint or group activities, and we do things solo, or as individual pairs. My relationship with my girlfriend’s husband is extremely strong and we get along very well, we understand one another on a level beyond just begrudging acceptance. There’s a lot of love in this house, so for all of those doubters who thought it impossible, here’s to you. I think of you every single day as I live my happy life with the people I care about and I’m reminded of the times you told me that we couldn’t do it. I’m reminded of the puritanical notion that marriage is between one man and one woman,” something that the LGBTQ community was beaten over the head with, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally, for years, and how our happy relationship flies in the face of that bogus, antiquated idea. Sometimes, an act of rebellion is just as simple as being happy. In fact, in a world based on competition, envy, jealousy, fear, and oppression, happiness is one of the ultimate acts of rebellion. Even in a prison cell, when they’ve stripped us of our autonomy and freedom, there is the grand wonder and splendor of the human mind and that, they can never take from us.

To those who’re feeling like monogamy isn’t quite right for them, polyamory is no panacea and it’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s possible for many people out there and can lead to long-lasting happiness and a love unlike any other. My relationship is a testament to that and for this, I am proud.

It’s for a very specific type of person who’s okay with the idea of their partners having sex with other people as well as building deep, lasting, loving relationships with other people. I’ll just be honest with you, this is a very difficult place to get to, it requires an extreme amount of personal security and confidence, something that each member of our triad possesses. It’s not something we want to take up casually or to “spice up” a dead bedroom or boring relationship that’s grown stale, those are the wrong reasons to do what it is that we do. Just being completely honest, here, if you have jealousy issues or self-esteem problems, polyamory might not be right for you, right now…but we can overcome those things and move past them.

Ultimately, we have to listen to our hearts in this life. We can’t listen to others because we never know what lies a ways down the path we may or may not choose to take up. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to the ordinary unless we want an ordinary life, but the key is that we realize our limitations, as well, before we embark on our journey, so we may ease those limitations and set off prepared. For what it’s worth, we’re extremely happy. We have very, very few issues and they’re addressed responsible and like adults handle issues. We love each other and are all there for each other and that’s what matters. And I think that’s secretly what others are afraid of. Just like they were with the LGBTQ rise and gay marriage legalization, people are afraid that alternative styles of loving somehow threaten the credibility of their love and the legitimacy of their love — but that’s only because their “love”, if you can call it that, is fragile, predicted upon coercion and power, not true love and appreciation. To those people, proving you wrong has been the icing on my polyamory cake.

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