Polyamory

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On Polyamory Holly-Confused Gigi-Socrates Holly:Explain this to me, Gigi. You mean to tell me that you have a relationship outside your marriage, and that your husband approves it? Gigi:Yes. That's right. I know that many people, when they first hear about my complex relationship, find it difficult to understand it. That is quite understandable, it is unlike the models of relationships that we are used to talking about: friend, lover, wife, mistress"¦.none of the words, none of the standard societal models of these relationships describes my feelings precisely. This means descriptions of those relationships are by necessity long---I must explain the details before you can see the whole picture.

Holly:Please explain. I have heard of few people believing that a person is able to love more than one partner; nevertheless I still find this polyamory issue a bit bizarre. I guess I'm not convinced that it is OK to have these multiple relationships.

Gigi:Let me first explain to you what polyamory means, Jenny. Poly means many. Amory refers to the concept of love. In its purest form, the word polyamory means having multiple loves. This is, in my opinion, the crux of understanding my own polyamorous nature.

Holly:Well"¦you also have to clarify your definition of love.

Gigi:Now, we could argue all day about what is meant by the word love, but for me what I mean when I say I love a person is that I respect him greatly, and that I trust him deeply. Perhaps most importantly, love is about having some connection to his feelings, and that I, for myself, want him happy; I care about him deeply.

Holly:And I thought that you loved your husband, yet you go out and sleep with some other guy.

Gigi:He is not just another guy, and I still do love my husband very much. Besides, polyamory does not necessarily require sexuality. When I started my polyamorous relationship, and for the next 8 months, (despite the fact that it was a real live relationship with love, romance, caring, and so forth) we never so much as exchanged a kiss, until much later. That lack of sexuality did not in any way keep that relationship from being incredibly important to us.

Holly:How did you tell your husband about all this? Gigi: I told him my feelings about this other man. I told him that I loved the other man, but that my feelings for my husband were stronger, that I had a great commitment to my relationship, our marriage, and that I would do anything he asked to make him comfortable. My husband said he was more than comfortable with my having feelings for that other man, and also understood that my feelings for him were unchanged. And, after some time, my husband volunteered that he was comfortable with my newer partner and I being more sexual.

Holly:He volunteered? Why? I would be rather uncomfortable with this situation, jealous and angry! Gigi:You bring up a good question of why he was so comfortable with this, particularly since that is such an unusual point of view in our society. Those reasons are many and complex, but I think there are several points to understand. My husband is an independent man who likes having some time by himself. He appreciates not being expected (by himself more than anyone) to have complete responsibility for my happiness. He likes the part of himself that can know how much I love him without jealousy, without insecurity. Those hints only touch the surface of a complex set of emotions and feelings that he has, but rest assured that he is comfortable with my other relationship, and with it being sexual. Also know Jenny, that if he were not comfortable with this situation, I would not continue my extramarital relationship. Not ceasing it would be a violation of my internal commitment that my husband will remain the most important person in my life. For now, my husband has been comfortable with the current situation, and there are no signs of that changing, nor have there ever been. He also knows that the other man is a remarkable human being, and that I would like very much to live my life having him in my life; I will sacrifice deeply and try to preserve that relationship, because it is and will continue to be very valuable to me.

Holly: When you tell me you love your husband, and he is wonderful, it makes me question why you went out and looked for that other relationship.

Gigi:I didn't look for that other relationship, it just happened. I am married, happily. I have many close friends, and some of them I had discovered lead complex lifestyles. I surprised myself one day by accidentally telling one of them that I loved them"¦and the more I though about it that night, the more I realized that I meant it. See Jenny, I believe that a person is capable of loving more than one man, or more than one woman. Love, despite its appearance, is simple. It requires no work, money, or time; only will. Often times, it doesn't even require that it should be returned. As wonderful as infatuation is, that excitement which energizes new relationships, even more beautiful and valuable is the quite joy of deeply loving someone"¦and those feelings do deepen and broaden with time. Compared to all the baggage that many people associate today with traditional marriage, my version of polyamory is far more egalitarian, more humane, and it relies on both partners being independent and in control of their own lives.

Holly:I don't think my husband would understand or respect such a relationship.

He would become extremely jealous, insecure, and betrayed.

Gigi:Ah, well, he would have a right to any of those feelings. He might not be as comfortable with polyamory, as let's say, my husband is. Jenny, I never said polyamory is for everybody. All I'm saying is that we can love more than one person, and that polyamory does work for some. I've heard people complain about the emergence of polyamory as a lifestyle, on the grounds that it will make it difficult for them to find the kind of partner they want (e.g., a monogamous one.) First, I very much doubt that polyamory will become a "˜lifestyle'"”poly relationships are difficult, and in my experience, most people lack the honesty and the communication skills necessary to make them work well. Also, many people, maybe like your husband, find that issues of jealousy and insecurity to be more painful to deal with than to simply be monogamous. Finally, I've heard people dismiss these types of relationships, because it is felt that "they can't last." That is simply wrong. It is true that poly relationships are, in some ways, more difficult and complex than monogamous ones. However, there are many examples of decades-old polyamours relationships. I know of one committed three-partner "˜marriage' that is fourteen years old this month and is still going strong, and that is hardly uncommon. Polyamory can and does work, at least for some people"¦at least for me and my partners.

Holly:Ah, then you know what? The hell with the society! If the three of you are happy, and if you found not one, but two loves in life, then I'm very happy for you, and I wish you the best of luck and happiness. And who knows"¦maybe I, myself, am even destined to find yet another one "˜knight in the shining armor', and maybe I can keep them both! Joanna Zielinska Philosophy 1012 Dialogue #1 On Polyamory Holly-Confused Gigi-Socrates Holly:Explain this to me, Gigi. You mean to tell me that you have a relationship outside your marriage, and that your husband approves it? Gigi:Yes. That's right. I know that many people, when they first hear about my complex relationship, find it difficult to understand it. That is quite understandable, it is unlike the models of relationships that we are used to talking about: friend, lover, wife, mistress"¦.none of the words, none of the standard societal models of these relationships describes my feelings precisely. This means descriptions of those relationships are by necessity long---I must explain the details before you can see the whole picture.

Holly:Please explain. I have heard of few people believing that a person is able to love more than one partner; nevertheless I still find this polyamory issue a bit bizarre. I guess I'm not convinced that it is OK to have these multiple relationships.

Gigi:Let me first explain to you what polyamory means, Jenny. Poly means many. Amory refers to the concept of love. In its purest form, the word polyamory means having multiple loves. This is, in my opinion, the crux of understanding my own polyamorous nature.

Holly:Well"¦you also have to clarify your definition of love.

Gigi:Now, we could argue all day about what is meant by the word love, but for me what I mean when I say I love a person is that I respect him greatly, and that I trust him deeply. Perhaps most importantly, love is about having some connection to his feelings, and that I, for myself, want him happy; I care about him deeply.

Holly:And I thought that you loved your husband, yet you go out and sleep with some other guy.

Gigi:He is not just another guy, and I still do love my husband very much. Besides, polyamory does not necessarily require sexuality. When I started my polyamorous relationship, and for the next 8 months, (despite the fact that it was a real live relationship with love, romance, caring, and so forth) we never so much as exchanged a kiss, until much later. That lack of sexuality did not in any way keep that relationship from being incredibly important to us.

Holly:How did you tell your husband about all this? Gigi: I told him my feelings about this other man. I told him that I loved the other man, but that my feelings for my husband were stronger, that I had a great commitment to my relationship, our marriage, and that I would do anything he asked to make him comfortable. My husband said he was more than comfortable with my having feelings for that other man, and also understood that my feelings for him were unchanged. And, after some time, my husband volunteered that he was comfortable with my newer partner and I being more sexual.

Holly:He volunteered? Why? I would be rather uncomfortable with this situation, jealous and angry! Gigi:You bring up a good question of why he was so comfortable with this, particularly since that is such an unusual point of view in our society. Those reasons are many and complex, but I think there are several points to understand. My husband is an independent man who likes having some time by himself. He appreciates not being expected (by himself more than anyone) to have complete responsibility for my happiness. He likes the part of himself that can know how much I love him without jealousy, without insecurity. Those hints only touch the surface of a complex set of emotions and feelings that he has, but rest assured that he is comfortable with my other relationship, and with it being sexual. Also know Jenny, that if he were not comfortable with this situation, I would not continue my extramarital relationship. Not ceasing it would be a violation of my internal commitment that my husband will remain the most important person in my life. For now, my husband has been comfortable with the current situation, and there are no signs of that changing, nor have there ever been. He also knows that the other man is a remarkable human being, and that I would like very much to live my life having him in my life; I will sacrifice deeply and try to preserve that relationship, because it is and will continue to be very valuable to me.

Holly: When you tell me you love your husband, and he is wonderful, it makes me question why you went out and looked for that other relationship.

Gigi:I didn't look for that other relationship, it just happened. I am married, happily. I have many close friends, and some of them I had discovered lead complex lifestyles. I surprised myself one day by accidentally telling one of them that I loved them"¦and the more I though about it that night, the more I realized that I meant it. See Jenny, I believe that a person is capable of loving more than one man, or more than one woman. Love, despite its appearance, is simple. It requires no work, money, or time; only will. Often times, it doesn't even require that it should be returned. As wonderful as infatuation is, that excitement which energizes new relationships, even more beautiful and valuable is the quite joy of deeply loving someone"¦and those feelings do deepen and broaden with time. Compared to all the baggage that many people associate today with traditional marriage, my version of polyamory is far more egalitarian, more humane, and it relies on both partners being independent and in control of their own lives.

Holly:I don't think my husband would understand or respect such a relationship.

He would become extremely jealous, insecure, and betrayed.

Gigi:Ah, well, he would have a right to any of those feelings. He might not be as comfortable with polyamory, as let's say, my husband is. Jenny, I never said polyamory is for everybody. All I'm saying is that we can love more than one person, and that polyamory does work for some. I've heard people complain about the emergence of polyamory as a lifestyle, on the grounds that it will make it difficult for them to find the kind of partner they want (e.g., a monogamous one.) First, I very much doubt that polyamory will become a "˜lifestyle'"”poly relationships are difficult, and in my experience, most people lack the honesty and the communication skills necessary to make them work well. Also, many people, maybe like your husband, find that issues of jealousy and insecurity to be more painful to deal with than to simply be monogamous. Finally, I've heard people dismiss these types of relationships, because it is felt that "they can't last." That is simply wrong. It is true that poly relationships are, in some ways, more difficult and complex than monogamous ones. However, there are many examples of decades-old polyamours relationships. I know of one committed three-partner "˜marriage' that is fourteen years old this month and is still going strong, and that is hardly uncommon. Polyamory can and does work, at least for some people"¦at least for me and my partners.

Holly:Ah, then you know what? The hell with the society! If the three of you are happy, and if you found not one, but two loves in life, then I'm very happy for you, and I wish you the best of luck and happiness. And who knows"¦maybe I, myself, am even destined to find yet another one "˜knight in the shining armor', and maybe I can keep them both!