Thursday, November 10, 2011

When Opposites Attract

One of the most popular authorities on polyamory, Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D., wrote about “mixed marriages,” meaning a monogamous person with a polyamorous the person and the issue of wanting to explore polyamory but being in a relationship with someone who is not enthusiastic about that idea.

Having also worked with many men and women who've chosen to maintain a facade of monogamy while indulging their desire for loving more on the sly, I know that while cheating may look like the easy way out, in the long run it's not. But openly persisting in polyamorous experimentation may well ignite fireworks.

Of course, it's equally tough for the monogamous partner who can't understand why he or she is not enough and is firmly convinced that three - not to mention four or five - is a crowd. Unable to grasp the possibility of more than one lover, the besieged traditionalist may live in constant fear that they will be replaced at the first opportunity with someone more desirable, more adventurous, and less uptight. Worse yet, he or she may suffer from jealousy or other dreadful feelings of shame, sin, and moral indignation even though he/she knows there's not a snowball's chance in hell of losing their partner.

Her advice includes…

First of all, stop playing the victim. If you are someone who finds yourself entangled with a partner whose ideals for erotic love seem diametrically opposed to yours, you may be reluctant to acknowledge that, consciously or unconsciously, you have selected each other specifically so that you can struggle with this issue. It may be tempting to blame circumstances beyond your control, as in, "I had to pick a monogamist (or polyamorist, fill in the blank) to get involved with because I couldn't find anyone who was open to monogamy (or polyamory, fill in the blank.)" Or how about this one, "I knew she/he had always been polyamorous/monogamous, but I thought that would change once she/he got involved with me."

Whatever your rationalization, the sooner you realize that neither circumstances nor your partner are to blame for your situation, the sooner you can begin to move ahead. By taking responsibility for choosing each other, you let your partner off the hook and open up the possibility of some kind of satisfactory resolution.

Go read it all.

If you are curious, in this piece, Amy Shiner highlights some of the benefits of being in polyamorous lifestyle, including a support system, not limiting love, and help with parenting.

Monogamy is what some people need or want. Others need some form of honest nonmonogamy, whether it is a polyfidelity form of polyamory, or something else. It is a matter to be discovered and negotiated by the people involved, not dictated by people who aren’t. Let adults decides for themselves. It is important to be honest with ourselves about our needs and desires, and honest with the person or persons we choose.
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