According to Wikipedia, polyamory is the desire to have intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. Here is how I would define it:
Polyamory is the freedom to ethically explore feelings and meaningful connections with more than one person, an ability to love multiple people at the same time.
I don’t think polyamorous relationships always have the intimacy component. To me it’s more about the deep connection which might be purely platonic.
When I had kids…
When I had my second child I realized that the amount of love I had for my first child had not diminished. And if I ever have more children, I am sure that the love I have for my first and second born will only continue to grow. This realization about having an infinite supply of love and tenderness helped me understand my childhood experiences of being attracted to multiple people at a time. I always had a problem choosing one over the other, because I thought I was supposed to.
Also my exes…
I still have tender feelings for my pre-marital exes. Those feelings are not the hormonal kind of love and passion I felt in a new relationship, but I still care deeply about all the people I had meaningful connections with. I like to check-in with them every once in a while, because I care how they are doing, I want to know that they are happy, and I enjoy reconnecting with them.
I have a few close friends that I love dearly, and when I make new friends, my feelings for my long time friends do not weaken. Sometimes I meet people that are not my friends or family that I genuinely like or even love. I believe that I have an unlimited capacity to love and that connecting with people and seeing the world through their eyes is the most interesting, fulfilling, and beautiful experience we, humans, can have.
Wouldn’t it be strange to hope that one friend could meet all of our social needs, for example? That perfect friend would have the same set of hobbies, would want Chinese for dinner on the same days as us, would be down to watch Game of Thrones and go hiking with us exactly when we had free time. “Unfortunately”, that’s not how it works. I have many friends that I connect with in different ways. Some of my friends are into Game of Thrones, and others are into cooking. Some I go to for financial advice, and others make great company for a spa visit. And I love them for their differences. If we have many friends that meet our various social needs, then why do we believe that one person can meet all of our romantic needs?
My husband has a very special place in my heart. He is my rock, my partner in crime, and my best friend. I love him to death, but I really don’t think he can meet all of my romantic needs and give me multiple new perspectives on life and relationships. The only way I can get that perspective is by connecting with multiple people and learning about their experiences, by feeling the joys and the pains of new relationships and heart-breaks, and by staying open to new connections as they show up in my life.
Why do we limit ourselves to having only one partner and want them to make us happy “till death do us part?” That’s a lot of pressure on one person. This pressure builds up unrealistic expectations and sets marriages up for divorce. No wonder almost half of married couples in this country end up separating. If only we allowed ourselves to feel what we feel, started being more honest with ourselves and people around us about our needs, and stopped being afraid of what others might think, our lives could become so much more fulfilling and interesting…
Polyamory is not for everyone
Am I saying that everyone is polyamorous? Absolutely not. Some people are perfectly fine with one partner. In fact, there are a few indicators of whether polyamory is right for you, here is a great list of questions that Leigh Huggins came up with to help you figure out whether you are poly, for example. What I started to notice among my married friends, though, is that at one point or another in their relationship they find themselves attracted to someone else. That leads to either cheating, separation, or unhappiness because of the suppressed desires and sexual frustration.
I believe that if people were more honest with themselves and their partners, marriages would evolve into something less restricted by societal norms, polyamory or else; and we would have a lower divorce rate in this country.
There is a lot of stigma around non-monogamy and polyamory. The negative perceptions of non-traditional relationships come from the lack of understanding of what it really is. To me, polyamory means having the freedom to feel whatever I feel and to explore those feelings via more than one meaningful relationship at a time with consent of everyone involved. It does not mean a free ticket to cheat on my husband or to have wild orgies as I please. Ethical is a very important component that is often not even a part of many monogamous relationships these days.