Ending the Stigma Around Polyamory
Love is love, we all cry out, begging for acceptance. Every one of us knows this to be true. To be judged for who you love can be an alienating and confusing. Yet, when it comes to those in polyamorous relationships, we often don't know how to react. Like many things "out of the ordinary," polyamory is somewhat of a taboo topic. While anyone can be polyamorous and love two people, many have issues accepting this. In the straight community, those who are poly are often seen as players. However, in our LGBT+ community, one would think there would be more acceptance. This sadly is not the case.
We have all had that one friend who was part of a thruple that ended terribly, and so we assume this is how all poly relationships will end up. Personally, I have had the same misconceptions in the past. However, I have learned that I was being close-minded.
Most of us have had a similar experience with introducing our new same-sex partner to our families after coming out of the closet. It is nerve-wracking, there are uncomfortable questions, and some refuse to accept it. Imagine this; now you have two partners to introduce. Those who are poly have the same social struggles to those that are queer, if not more so. It is important to understand how poly relationships work to lift some of the stigmas behind it.
Poly relationships are just like any relationship. They require honesty, trust, commitment, and love. All three or more people must communicate and trust one another for it to work. Many say "well I could never do that." The thing is, love and sexuality are not one size fit all. What does not work for one person could be exactly what someone else needs.
How Does It Work?
Many ask those in polyamorous relationships, "how does it work?" Many genuinely do not understand how someone can be with multiple partners and have successful relationships. So I reached out to some poly/queer individuals to ask them.
According to Candace, a local Poly-Queer woman, "it works by all parties having open communication (or at the very least the "main" partners having open communication sometimes they agree on a 'don't ask don't tell' relationship)."
Melissa Huddleston, another poly individual, stated when being asked how it works for her, "As far as how it works, I think I'm just built to give and receive more attention than other people. I have a lot to give. It's not difficult for me. I would probably be smothering to just one person. Both partners enjoy their alone time so while I am spending time with one, the other is getting time away from me, which is also important. The only thing difficult is to remember to tell them BOTH when something happens during my day. Often-times I'll tell one and forget to tell the other."
It is assumed that a relationship with multiple partners will fall apart. Those who have had a poly relationship may have barriers, but they have also had successful relationships.
An anonymous Poly Individual stated on the subject of barriers, "Sometimes it can be challenging in the sense that if I'm going through something at home like financial hardships or emotional trying times I can have partners but still feel alone because it's not all that relevant for those who don't live with me. Also being introverted I value my alone time and don't want to chat or hang out but I still feel pulled into feeling obligated to do it to sustain the relationship.
Candace added, "The barriers I have faced are jealousy. I'm a very self-deprecating person and have never believed myself worthy of my husband's love and affections. In the beginning, I felt like he would find someone better and leave me. I would get jealous of his dates thinking this would be the time he leaves. Most people that I reveal my polyness to are not judgmental, but very curious and have lots of questions which I'm usually very open, so don't mind answering. The only bad reaction I've ever had was from an older person who also believed being anything other than straight was awful".
Melissa Huddleston explained that her barriers included her jealousy. " My husband is poly too, and I struggled a lot with it the first couple years. I got a poly-friendly therapist, and they have helped a lot, but I still struggle. My husband's mom is very accepting, but my mom not so much. She ignores the fact that I'm doing it, acts like it doesn't exist, which makes it hard for me to share anything at all with her because I have to pretend that so much of my life isn't happening."
Benefits of a Poly Relationship
Romance is not one size fits all. Polyamory varies person to person. Which is why I asked multiple people to see what works for them.
What Candance enjoys about being poly is, "Never feeling alone, Â there's always someone I can turn too when I really need affection. I have my husband, two girlfriends (one of which also dates my hubby) and a bf that's also dating one of the gf. We're a cute little polycule, OH the best part of being poly is always having enough people around for a board game."
An Anonymous Interviewee stated, "I love the opportunity to know wonderful people in a deep level without fear of judgment. I like that I can have my own identity away from being a wife and mom and still be respected and adored. I love that I can have sex with people outside of marriage and it's okay because there's consent and safety. I enjoy knowing that I don't have to be everything to one person and vice versa. I can get different qualities from different partners, and it doesn't make anyone more special than the other."
Melissa Huddleston said,"I love having two partners because it doubles the amount of support I get. And the attention lol I love attention. It's like I have two personal cheerleaders. I think it mainly works so well because my partners are best friends."
Poly Can Absolutely Work
In a poly relationship, there is love, there is honesty, and there is trust. While responses vary person to person these are the base things that are needed for a Poly relationship to thrive. With that said, many people make it work and prefer to have multiple partners according to their preferences. There is not "one way to be poly," and that is okay, humans are so diverse, as is our sexuality and no one should try to make themselves fit into a box when they are a triangle. Love is love, and we should all be allowed to love how we love without being shamed. All You Need Is Love.
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