Leaving Societal Norms Behind

PART 2 – Discovering Polyamory (The “Our Story” Series)

PART 2 – Discovering Polyamory (The “Our Story” Series)

*Part 2 of a 10 Part Series of articles showing the diversity and authenticity within the Polyamorous Community.

There is much debate within, and beyond, the polyamorous community regarding whether polyamory is a relationship orientation you are born with, or whether it is a lifestyle you simply choose to live. Everybody approaches this issue different. Some people feel everybody has the capacity to love people, more than one, or simply all, but that societal structure conforms us into choosing to live or love a certain way. That we are trained to see love a certain way, but that we have the potential for any kind of way of loving and living. We wanted to take this to the community and see what they felt about it personally. 

It is important to note that there will always be a great diversity within our community. Everyone’s experiences are theirs alone; we are all separate beings and experience the world in very different ways. However, we are also united in the emotions we share. We all experience love – though perhaps in different forms, or different ways. Love runs through all of humanity. It is part of what gives us our humanity. And it’s a key piece in realizing that others are not like you, and that that is okay.

We have created this 10 part series to help delve deeper into the individual accounts of polyamory. To allow for the community to tell its own story, instead of having someone else tell the story for them. Our hopes are that you’ll be able to identify and appreciate the beauty within the diversity we hold here. We’d like for all people to acquire a better understanding of this diversity, and for any misconceptions to be eradicated. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is also humility, understanding, acceptance, and compassion. You cannot truly accept a person until you know them. There is so little we know about each other – so much judgment and assumptions. Let people speak for themselves, don’t pin a narrative to them. Let those around you live and love the way that is best for them!

We asked our respondents to explain how they came into the idea of polyamory (how they realized they were polyamorous or found polyamory). Here is what they had to say:

Instinctual

  • I was non-monogamous when first exploring relationships with others. After high school I watched a documentary with my partner about polyamory and realized that’s what my way of being in relationships is, though they highlighted a style that wasn’t right for me. In my 20’s and 30’s I discovered podcasts, forums, and blogs that had poly as their focus. I think the term polyamory was barely created when I read in high school, it became more common as the world wide web launched into households.
  • I had a tendency to crush on more than one person, but this caused problems in my childhood. People wanted me to choose. And I felt greedy for wanting to love more than one person. I didn’t know a term for what I was. It wasn’t until after I was married with two children that I finally found the term Polyamory. And I am so happy now that I have been able to love and accept myself, my wants, my needs, and my desires.
  • I’ve always thought monogamy was weird. Looking at old married couples like my grandparents and how much they despised each other and loved each other was eye opening. I vowed never to let that happen to me.
  • Even though I love one person with my heart. I also have more to give of myself to others.
  • Always been this way.
  • I don’t actually believe in a distinction between a polyamorous person and a monogamous person. We are meant to connect and it’s a matter of preference if you want one partner or more. I have no preference on it as a general idea. I don’t like dating or having partners. But when I love a specific person, I like that I get to explore that. I think it’s a choice we make. I actually don’t relate to the poly community in a lot of ways, despite being poly myself, particularly around this area.
  • I’ve never done well trying to be monogamous. After an 8 year relationship in which I wasn’t allowed to even acknowledge my pansexuality I’d had enough and would accept nothing less than a relationship that accepted others. With my ex-husband I wasn’t even allowed time with friends and family. That controlling behavior was too much.
  • I wasn’t wanting to have sex with one person for the rest of my life. I found a partner that was in mutual agreement and it turned out that I could also love more than one person. I never knew this was an option due to society telling me otherwise.
  • Monogamy never made sense to me, so I never offered it in my relationships. Eventually I met other non-monogamous folks. That was in the 70s.
  • Husband and I were involved in swinger type activities on and off again throughout our marriage. After children the idea of something more profound with others appealed to both of us. We always loved including others in our lives and were always the type of swingers to want to be friends with partners and not just sex buddies. This seemed the next most logical and emotional step. We both love both children different but the same, of course we could love people differently and the same as well. Love has no limits.
  • Back in high school I was fine sharing my boyfriend with this other girl. It didn’t change anything else but everyone outside was cruel about it so it wasn’t til almost a decade later when I learned the word for it and that others lived like that too that I decided to give it another try and ignore all the haters.
  • Honestly, growing up I never understood how people could live with the idea of spending the rest of your life with one person. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that I was outside of the normal for thinking this, and I was able to find terms that described what I felt.
  • I have always been poly. I fell hard for hubby and he was mono so I was mono with him for 10 years. Now he has opened his mind to poly and he’s better at it than me! Lol

Investigation

  • I had come on the idea of it some years ago and researched it a bit, I really like the feeling of it. I have always had certain notions related to polyamory but not a word or that it was a real thing. So when I was able to put some language to it, it took life. I really didn’t have an opportunity to engage directly in it so it was more of a fantasy at first. But when I did finally get my feet wet, it was like coming home.
  • I am the mono in a poly relationship. My husband had been dealing with something he didn’t know what it was. Through a friend he found out it had a name, Polyamory. He brought it up to me and we started to study it.
  • Mistress Matisse used to write a blog … she discussed polyamory in great detail.
  • Back when it was called “open relationships” or “multiple relationships,” many of my friends in science-fiction fandom were making a happy life that way. I especially liked that it enhanced, rather than stressed, the relationships of couples. And if I had not known people in triads, it might not have occurred to me as a possibility. No one had exactly what I wanted, but I saw the potential.
  • I honestly don’t remember how I realized I was polyamorous. I just remember that I ended up doing a ton of research and felt like I was on the right path.
  • Actually my wife brought it up. We talked about it, she educated me a great deal, and I educated myself through online materials and resources.
  • I found out about my wife’s desires, then did some research.
  • I had just turned 18 and I met this girl who was on the aromantic spectrum and didn’t necessarily want to see just one person. I was never a possessive partner anyhow and when I did the research, something just clicked for me. This woman is no longer in my life, but she was instrumental in helping me find myself and I appreciate her for it.
  • After cheating on my wife the last time, I went to stay with a friend. She was polyamorous and introduced me to the concept. She and some of her partners all sat down with me and talked about how it worked for them.
  • Mainly through reading and friends. I’ve always felt drawn to multiple people at the same time, I just didn’t know it was a legitimate thing.

Experimentation

  • My NP and I got together to explore our kinks and discovered we didn’t actually quite sync up. Another guy I had wanted to meet for 12 years was interested in me and refused to commit to monogamy. My NP and I had discussed the possibility of an open relationship to explore our interests. Knowing I had to come to terms with the lack of monogamy if I wanted to pursue something with the new guy, I discussed it with my boyfriend and we quickly moved to the subject of poly before fully understanding it. After discussing with my therapist, I learned about the book More Than Two. I very quickly connected with what I read and discussed with my boyfriend. We agreed to try poly and found it to feel exactly right for us.
  • My wife was always non-monogamous before dating me, and we started off with a kink that I had. Being open slowly became more and more open until it developed into kitchen table polyamory.
  • I heard the couple was in an open marriage and I wasn’t upset. Then we started the flirting. And as it progresses I realized we could love more than one in different ways.
  • I’ve always been very open. My partners have often lamented at my lack of jealousy, which I find even more humorous now than I did then. After a four year relationship with a wonderful bi-woman, we learned about polyamory and decided to try it. We’ve since separated (after 2 more beautiful open years together as lovers) and have been able to maintain our friendship because of the freedom of communication that polyamory taught us. Now I’m exploring what it means to be solo poly for the first time, and although it’s challenging, it just feels “right.”
  • We are attracted to a real man instead of just a strap on. Intrigued in experimenting with our sexuality as two women in love, and never been in a relationship with a man before. After we met, a psychic told me to look up polygamy, I had no IDEA what we had has a LABEL.
  • I was never very good at monogamy, after some silly things happened, my husband and I talked and opened up our marriage. It has slowly developed from that.
  • My then-husband brought it up to me about 3 years into our 5 year marriage. I found that I really enjoy the lifestyle and all that comes with it.
  • With my parents letting it slip that they had opened their marriage, my perspective on successful relationships was just blown the fuck up. After my own hiatus from relationships, I started dating again and wasn’t looking for serious, but was enjoying the freedom of being able to date several people with no judgment and no hiding.
  • We decided to try polyamory after having a threesome. We realized we both thought it would be fun to see others, and after more research realized we were not to do that together. It’s been awesome telling each other when we’re talking to new people and if we have things in common with them.
  • I could not satisfy my first wife sexually, but we were both very open and very much in love with one another, it started as a fluke then we both realized it was the answer to our dilemma.
  • I came into polyamory after going on a date with someone who was married. I didn’t know until after the actual date and because it went so well I decided to explore it.
  • My wife wanted to try a new partner.

Spontaneous

  • I have a tattoo of a compass, which matches that of my favorite person in the whole world. This person was also the first polyamorous person I’d ever met, and they completely turned my world upside down. Mid conversation one day, completely off topic, they looked deep into my soul and said “I’m polyamorous” it just clicked. It was a word I’d never really heard before, but it’s easy to know what it etymologically means, and I was okay with it; in fact this little box inside of me burst open and I wanted to cry out “me too!” And it was like all of a sudden my whole life fell into perspective and made sense.
  • Rather than divorce when I learned of my husband’s infidelity, I worked with my natural calling to be a partner. I determined that committed polyamory was a better option than serial monogamy.
  • When I was 18 a lady down the road became my girlfriend…I was already married…with a young daughter…it just happened…and it worked for me.
  • It was a natural progression of our relationship, it happened rather organically.
  • Attending an all women’s college a core requirement was to take a women’s and gender studies class. That one class was the start of my major in Human Sexualities. I was aware of polyamory, I knew what it was, had friends in triads, but just never saw it for myself. My husband and I purchased a home and became friendly with the neighbors, even more friendly with her brother and sister-in-law. We hung out a lot, flirted, and joked about the idea but at some point it turned to a serious conversation. Everything just fell into place and it was a natural fit.
  • I got divorced & wasn’t in the mindset to be committed to any one person; it was a time that I wanted to focus solely on me & me only. However, I met 2 beautiful men & adored them both instantly. 1 introduced me to Polyamory & the other was comfortable with the whole idea, the rest is to be history.
  • I saw something on TV when I was little. It was supposed to be scandalous. I was too young to understand relationship dynamics, but it stuck with me.
  • I met this guy who I thought was pretty cool but I knew he had a girlfriend so that just made him a friend to me. After the theater show we met through ended we would run into each other now and then through mutual friends and got along great. Met his girlfriend a couple times and she seemed awesome as well. About 6 months after we first met I learned they were poly and something just clicked in my brain. Asked him out a few days later and we’ve been together ever since.
  • When I loved 2 people.
  • Strangely enough, it came after I caught my husband texting a woman behind my back. I realized it was the lying that I abhorred, not the act itself. Turns out the idea of him talking, and possibly him being with another person really turned me on. It really opened up some great communication for us since then.
  • I was trying to stay single and date casually after the death of my wife. I ended up dating multiple amazing women (separately) and I fell in love with two of them.
  • I found myself in love with two different people at once.

Stay tuned for PART 3 of the “Our Story” Series!

TERMS DEFINED:

Monogamous (Mono) – Someone who chooses to have only 1 romantic partner at a time. (Different than those in the polyamorous community, or who are in other non-monogamous lifestyles, who simply happen to only have 1 current partner.) Is not open to dating more than 1 person, even if another person they fall for comes along. Monogamous people tend to form lifelong romantic bonds with only 1 partner, or practice serial monogamy (in which they only have 1 partner at a time, but may change who that partner is as time goes on). Though not polyamorous themselves, some monogamous individuals may be romantically involved with others who are polyamorous.

Non-Monogamous (Non-Mono) – Someone who is open to dating multiple people at one time. There are ethical/consensual forms of non-monogamy (such as polyamory), but there are also some who practice unethical/unconsensual forms. Non-monogamous individuals may have times of being single, or only having 1 partner, though this does not change their internal view of relationships.

Swinger – Someone who is practicing a consensual form of non-monogamy other than polyamory. Often confused with polyamory, but not the same. Swinging is more sex focused, when you and your partner are allowed to go after other sexual connections, but typically does not include a romantic involvement with these other sexual partners.

Open Relationship – When the individuals in a relationship are allowed to see other people. This can be in the form of polyamory, or swinging, but can also span across other relationship styles as well. (A triad, quad, or any other group formation, can be considered ‘open’ or ‘closed’ in the same way the relationship between a couple can be.)

Closed Relationship – When the individuals in a relationship are not allowed to see other people. This typically means that there is not to be any romantic, or sexual, activity outside the relationship; however, there can be closed romantic relationships with open sexual relationships, such as a closed couple that are also swingers. (A triad, quad, or any other group formation, can be considered ‘open’ or ‘closed’ in the same way the relationship between a couple can be.)

Polygamy – The act of marrying more than one person. This practice can overlap with polyamory, but is not the same concept.

Aromantic – A person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. People identifying as aromantic can also experience romance in a way otherwise disconnected from normative societal expectations (for example due to feeling repulsed by romance, or being uninterested in romantic relationships). Check out ASEXUALITY.ORG for more information.

Pansexual – A person not limited in sexual or romantic choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

*For more Polyamorous terminology, we recommend reading through this list created by More Than Two: Polyamory 101

Community Projects

Our Story #2

If you’d like to be an anonymous participant for our next series of community representing articles (titled “Our Story #2”), please complete the following questionnaire:

“Our Story #2” Series Questionnaire

Your responses will help showcase our community’s diversity, promote a positive polyamorous representation, and help give advice/guidance/support and information to those newly coming into polyamory, as well as those currently living polyamorously. Our main focus for the “Our Story #2” series will be how to create and maintain healthy relationships within the constructs of polyamory, whereas our focus for the 1st “Our Story” was a more general overview of polyamory.

The new series “Our Story #2” will be published after the last piece of our 10 part “Our Story” series is complete. Stay tuned for all 10 parts of the “Our Story” series, as well as the upcoming “Our Story #2” series.

**THIS QUESTIONNAIRE IS COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS! DO NOT PROVIDE ANYONE’S NAMES OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION!

Our Story – was a series that covered general topics in order to both introduce the world to polyamory, as well as normalize it and showcase its diversity. (The article series will be available on our website starting January 1st…each part of the 10 part series will be published 2 weeks apart.)

Our Story #2 – is a series that is focused on how to create and maintain healthy relationships within the constructs of polyamory.

ALL submissions are anonymous, and will be combined to create a comprehensive guide to help polyamorous people maneuver the ups and downs of relationships. Everyone is different, and therefore everyone deals with their emotions in different ways. Emotions affect the way in which we communicate, act, and love. Sharing your own suggestions, for things that have benefited or helped you in some way, will greatly impact our Polyamorous community as a whole in a positive way. The best advice FOR the Polyamorous community, comes FROM the Polyamorous community!

If you’d like to participate in this questionnaire, please click HERE.

“The Art of a Polycule” Project

We are starting a new project to artistically represent the relationship dynamic diversity within our community. This project will be art based, and will showcase the way in which a variety of community members construct their relationship dynamics. In order to be an anonymous contributor to this project, you must send in an image representation (something self-drawn; by hand, or other media means) that details your polycule structure.

Rules for art submissions are displayed below:

  1. You may include as many people as you feel best represents your polycule (including partners, metamours, metamour’s partners, platonic relationships, etc.); but NO friends, family, children, pets, or the like.
  2. The polycule must start with YOU, this is a representation of YOUR structural relationship dynamics.
  3. This is anonymous! As such, no names shall be given for any of the people in your polycule.
  4. Your drawing must be designed in the following way (Each person drawn must be a shape, and each connection between them must be presented as lines.):

-You will be a black dot.

-Your partners will be red hearts.

-Your metamours will be blue triangles.

-Additional partners (of your metamours, or of their partners, depending on how far you feel your polycule extends) can be drawn as green squares.

-The lines between romantic partners will be solid pink.

-The lines between platonic partners will be dotted yellow.

-Do NOT draw lines between you and your metamours, unless you consider them to be a romantic or platonic partner.

ALL SUBMISSIONS will be re-constructed and formatted into a new design that will be extended to all pieces so that the arrangement and visual product is smooth and congruent. So don’t worry if your artistic abilities aren’t the best, it’s the information about the polycule formation that matters most, not how well you can draw it. Your original product will not be on display, only our finished product with the polycule dynamics we have collected from the community. This isn’t a contest, we are looking for contributions from everyone (no matter your level of artistic ability).

**Send submissions to our CEO:

Jauni@PolyamorousLiving.com

**Thank you to all who have chosen to contribute to our polyamorous projects!

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J

I am a gender fluid pansexual vegan Wiccan mama who is polyamorous (and forms connections through the freedom of relationship anarchy). I love writing, photography, dancing, travel, hiking, cooking, kissing, and motherhood.


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