A lot of monogamous people think that us polyamorous people are out of our minds. What sort of crazy concoction of ideas lead to us being willing to live like this? Well, I’d say the much more concerning thought here is that so many people have a problem with the concept of loving. I mean, honestly, what state has the world come to where a big issue for people is allowing other people to feel love? We’ve been so overridden with the idea that we need to ‘keep people in line’ that most of us haven’t stopped to wonder why we’re trying to line up in the first place. What is this line even for? What good is it doing us? Most of the world’s big problems have their foundation in the fact that people are either trying to break away from this imaginary line, or they’re trying to push other people towards it. Is this what we want existence to be like? A constant struggle over where the line is placed, and whether people are in the line or not? If you look more closely you’ll realize that this line isn’t really a line at all, it’s a boundary. It’s a fenced off area, and we are all the sheep being constantly herded in and out of it. The real question you should ask someone when they get in your face about your decision to be polyamorous should be ‘So you’d choose hate over love?’
It Isn’t A Competition
No one is trying to convert anyone. Polyamorous people aren’t trying to make monogamous people polyamorous anymore than gay people are trying to turn straight people gay. It just doesn’t work like that. And the only real concern someone would have with that concept in the first place is if they thought it might actually work. If you’re straight, then even if I kept begging you to be gay…it wouldn’t make you gay. And if you’re monogamous, no amount of pushing is going to flip you over to polyamory (unless that capacity is already inside of you). So, to clear things up, when people are judging you for being gay or being polyamorous, they’re really just scared. And they aren’t even scared of YOU. They’re scared of themselves. They’re scared that one wrong look, one step in a different direction, and their current existence as they know it will change. Essentially, the possibility of change in their own life is what scares them. People are terrified of change. So, don’t take it personally. They probably secretly envy you and your ability to take on change. They’re the caterpillar who looks up in wonder and fear of the butterflies transformation, because deep down they know their own change is inevitable. Even if their change doesn’t look anything like yours – it’s coming. And they’re terrified. Terrified of the unknown.
What do people do when they’re terrified of the unknown? They try to hold off change as long as possible. They try to stay away from anything different. And they try to keep out any and all influences that don’t reflect their current selves. Hey, I get it. Deciding to switch from a sales career to a medical career is one thing. Both of those concepts exist already within your perception of reality, they’re both already accepted and understood, whether you’ve allowed them to take up a big portion of your thoughts and actions or not. Making choices within the confines of an already constructed reality just moves you around within those confines. It’s when something comes along to alter your thinking, alter your entire perception, and thus push/widen/or in some other way change those confines, that people start to freak out. Yes, deciding to switch careers or change your major or have a baby or find a new partner or move to a new place…that’s one thing. But deciding to step into the unknown and consider things you never thought existed (not just things you never thought would be possible for you, but things you didn’t even know existed), that’s something else entirely.
Polyamory Isn’t Superior
I’d like to be clear about something – I in no way think that polyamorous people are more enlightened (or in any way ‘better’) than monogamous people. Polyamory in and of itself does not make someone smarter or more knowledgeable or more capable of change or whatever. However, people who are polyamorous are in a different frame of mind than people who are monogamous. Their realities are not the same. They have completely differing perceptions. Of course, among everyone within either group there always differing perceptions. Each individual’s perception of reality is different. There’s no getting away from that fact. But there’s also no getting away from the fact that there is a vast difference between the realities of those who identify as monogamous and those who identify as polyamorous. Whether you look at it as a change from a caterpillar into a butterfly, or simply as two different types of trees growing right next to each other…the way in which monogamous people and polyamorous people see the world is different.
Now, this is the same concept as the fact that my perception and understanding of life and the world and reality, as a writer, is different than say, a mathematician’s perception and understanding. Neither is better. Neither is ‘right’. All perceptions of reality are correct, because they are true and real for the one who is perceiving them in that way. People have always had a hard time with this concept. People like to fit things into boxes. And for your own understanding of something it’s okay to try and sort and organize it in your brain – that’s what your brain is for. It tries to put things into boxes so that it can more easily categorize and understand what you already know, as well as do the same for new incoming information. However, the issue comes in when your brain says ‘No, this makes absolutely no sense. It does not connect with any of my predetermined categories.’ And instead of deciding to create a new category, or rearrange the way your current categories are setup, it simply decides to mark that new incoming information as an error and dump it in the trash. And your brain will do this whether it’s information coming in that is in opposition of something already in your memory bank, or simply something that doesn’t seem to fit in with what you already have in there. This tends to happen an awful lot when we’re arguing with someone over who is right and who is wrong, especially when it comes to emotional perception.
Emotional perception is the way in which you felt an interaction or experience. Emotion has a huge impact on your overall perception of reality. One person may experience the exact same event as you, but their emotional response will differ greatly from yours, and thus alter their perception of that event. There is no point to argue with anyone, ever, about whether their feelings are right or wrong. For instance, you can point out to your partner that you were not yelling and not trying to be mean. However, they may have interpreted your actions as cold and unloving because of their emotional perception (which is guided by a multitude of things – like past experiences, current mood and thought, and what their understanding of reality already is). So there is no point in telling them ‘I wasn’t being cold and unloving,’ because that is what they felt. There’s no changing that for them. You can simply apologize that they ‘perceived’ it that way and that it wasn’t your intention.
This brings us back to the discussion of monogamy vs. polyamory. The point of the conversation should never be to convince the other person that what you think is right, and what they think is wrong. There is no broadening of perspective that is going to be accomplished by this task. Switching your own view from one side to another side does not give you the honor of being ‘open-minded.’ Rather, it’s the ability to hold multiple contradicting concepts in your mind at the same time, and accept all of them as being valid, that your mind is able to broaden. Otherwise you’re just choosing a different narrow view from the narrow view point you previously held.
So, what is the point? Learning to genuinely love yourself and other people cannot only broaden your mind, but it broadens your heart. The more you learn to love unconditionally and boundlessly (whether you choose to actually date more than one person or not), will help you learn to accept the diversity within this world. And the more accepting you are of diversity, the less likely you are going to be of pushing people to stay within the confines of your reality. And when you allow people to step outside the confines of your own reality you’ll begin to realize that those confines don’t even really exist. Eventually, you’ll open yourself up to a whole universe of endless possibilities and new concepts that can be used for your own self growth, or simply your ability to accept more. To love more. To step into the unknown. And when you are willing to take on the unknown without fear you’ll have no reason to form judgement or place confines on others. And if EVERYONE got to a place where they could abstain from judgement of others…well…that world would be one of peace. Love and peace go hand-in-hand. When you open yourself up to it you’ll realize that love IS peace. Peace is diversity of life without judgment. The only alternative to love is judgment, which leads to hatred, which leads to war. I’m not going to say that polyamory is going to save the world. But if people would just take that first step towards loving – openly and genuinely – this world could be transformed into a much more beautiful place. And that’s the point. Love more. Hate less.