Yesterday I had planned on writing a post about the role patience has played in my poly life but that has changed. In preparation for that post I did my normal half-ass Google search of relevant topics and came upon an article called “I’m monogamous, and I’ve fallen for someone who’s polyamorous!”… and man, it is fantastic. If you have even the remotest interest in poly relationships I highly recommend you check it out. I wish I would have read it months ago. My partner wishes she had access to it months ago. Many of my dear friends loved it as well. Seriously… read it now.
Well, now that you may or may not have read that article I want to tell you about the early stages of my current relationship. I identify as polyamorous but my partner does not. She is much more monogamous than me and that caused a lot of tension in the early part of our relationship and that is mostly my fault.
When I first “discovered” polyamory I was thrilled. For years I had been operating under three rules of what I called “responsible non-monogamy”. I’d tried monogamy and it felt wrong. I felt like something was seriously wrong with me so instead of dating anyone I just built friendships and had sex with those who knew my three rules. It wasn’t completely satisfying but it felt closer to natural than closed monogamy did. So, when I stumbled across the word and concept of polyamory I was like a kid in a candy shop… and in many ways I made myself sick by diving in too quickly.
I had found a rational justification for how I felt and instead of recognizing that some people are actually geared towards monogamy I tried to lay out arguments convincing my two partners that they shouldn’t ever feel jealousy, anger, or frustration and that their concerns about limited time and resources were unfounded. I thought I could have it all and I saw everyone else as being wrong for not seeing things my way (as a libertarian I’ve made similar mistakes when trying to share that philosophy). I was wrong though… and quite frankly, I was a jackass and I almost lost my amazing partner.
After several rough months filled with arguments, disagreement, frustrations, and a break up I learned my lesson and came to many of the same conclusions as the author of the article. Communication is absolutely necessary for any relationship, especially polyamory, but so is patience and compromise. As Cathy from “Sex and the State” said on my Facebook wall, “If you want absolute freedom be single. If you are willing to do some compromising then be in a relationship.” Voluntarily giving up some of your freedom and allowing another human some control over your life is hard for anyone, particularly libertarian anarchists. That level of vulnerability is necessary though for all relationships to be healthy. I still don’t believe in sacrificing yourself for another or pretending to be something you aren’t, but compromise is necessary and in the end satisfying because as trust and love is built more opportunities present itself. As Pervertically Virtuous put it:
“I have agreed to let him slowly grow into my level of openness because he’s the closest to my ideal partner I’ve ever met, and he’s shown willingness to venture out beyond his comfort zone. So I thought he deserves that chance.
Although my freedom is somewhat curtailed, I have plenty of maneuvering space. Enough so, that the other benefits of being in this relationship outweigh the costs of not having complete, absolute freedom.”
And now, that is what I have in my amazing partner. I’m glad she isn’t 100% in line with me because that forces me to challenge myself and understand others. She is a constant support of challenge, support, friendship, love, and openness…. and she is flexible, open to new things, curious, and trusts me. We have established boundaries, we discuss our desires, and we have found a way to make things work. I’m sure I will make mistakes again and our relationship differences will continue to be the subject of much discussion, debate, and compromise, but we are moving forward with baby-steps and patience on all sides. I truly couldn’t have dreamed of a better outcome.