Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Person Discovers Polyamorous People Aren't Shallow

Tricity Vogue takes a general, introductory look at polyamory.

Polyamorous relationships are uncategorisable by their very nature, coming in an infinite variety of combinations, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re not monogamous.

And that they are conducted under the informed consent of all involved.

This doesn’t mean that polyamorists are all commitment-phobes. Quite the reverse, in fact. In the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section of alt.polyamory serial monogamy is referred to as ‘trading people in and out like baseball cards,’ whereas polyamory means ‘not refusing commitments because something better might come loping down the path’: in other words, more commitment rather than less, because you’re committed to more than one relationship.

Most polyamorous people are not superficial people. In fact, they are more willing to “take a chance” on someone who might not turn their head at first glance, and in doing so, may find a lifelong love with whom they have a wonderful relationship. Conversely some monogamists won’t consider someone they don’t find highly physically attractive at first glance, because they are expecting one person to meet all of their needs, and they see their One And Only Partner's physical attractiveness as a reflection or indication of their own. Most of us have known someone, who for at least part of their life, was unhappily single because he or she refused to risk developing an emotional attachment to someone who didn’t meet their ideal look. In some poly relationships, you have the ability to still be open to finding that “eye candy,” who may also turn out to be a good companion.

Coming out as a polyamorist is not unlike coming out as gay. In some ways, poly people are even more marginalised in society, since civil partnerships can only be made between two people, and you can only have one legal next-of-kin. Social systems are set up for singles or couples, and polyamory is outside most people’s frame of reference.

So true. “Singles or couples” is the assumption made.

After reading and talking about polyamory, I’ve come away with the impression of a group of people who are thoughtful, fair-minded, diplomatic, and, most of all, honest. Not all their relationships work out, but they think it’s worthwhile to keep trying, because they believe in what they’re doing. Polyamorists are pioneers, explorers. And whether or not we follow them down the path they’re taking, the things they’re finding out at the coalface of relationship experimentation can be applied to all bonds, whether sexual or not. After all, if you believe, as polyamorists do, that intimate relationships are equally valid whether or not they include sex, then more or less all of us are polyamorous in one sense. Anyone who’s got a close friend who knows them inside out, and who they’d drop anything for, has already got a relationship just as important as the one with the person they happen to have sex with. That’s if you look at it from outside the monogamous romantic model that most of us have accepted from childhood.

The more people give fair consideration to polyamory and talk with someone they know is polyamorous, the more polyamorists will be free instead of discriminated against and marginalized.
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