Everyday life, Relationship, Spirituality

Some honest thoughts on polyamory

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Artwork by Phil Couture

I wanted to write a little bit about something that occupies of my mindspace a lot; love and relationships. I’ve briefly mentioned before, here and elsewhere, that I consider myself polyamorous. I was not aware of this term until some years ago when I found myself really loving and wanting to spend time with more than one person, and I’ve found this hard to explain to people around me, and also to the people I love. Because of course, as humans we are used to certain ways of thinking and responding to things, and all sorts of feelings arise when it comes to what could be called untraditional relationship structures, or non-monogamy. And then there is the whole communication part, and even the logistics of it; love is infinite but time and energy is not (relatively speaking), so how to distribute your time?

 


Love

From my buddhist point of view, love and compassion is something we all have a capacity to feel, and is in short, the heart of spirituality. Love makes us open up and it can be shown in so many different ways, and different people bring out certain positive qualities in us that we should cultivate for the benefit of others around us. But this is easy to forget, especially when it comes to close/intimate relationships; we trigger each other, we feel jealous, we want them to feel like they owe us something, we blame and forget to treat them –who has chosen to spend their precious time with us- with the respect they deserve. Basically, it brings all the things we don’t want to deal with to the surface, but it can also be seen as a good opportunity to deal with it, to grow. (Of course, here I am not talking about staying in an abusive relationship, for example, but about facing our insecurities).

I believe there is a love that connects all of us, one that can be felt by simply tuning into the feeling of your own heart (i.e. in meditation). But I also believe there is many different love dynamics, be it romantic, platonic or sexual – or a mix, and it largely depends on the two people involved, how they make each other feel and how their personalities go together. Also, if they are both polyamorous, or one is monogomous. All relationships are unique, and it seems a bit foolish to think that there is only one way to have an intimate relationship, and that there should only be one at a time. It may take extra work having multipple relationships going on parallel, but to me, it feels even worse having to hide my emotions, and to choose one person over another. I don’t think one should run after each and every desire/attraction that comes along; that would only be destructive for everyone involved – I am talking about being able to spend time with those you are in love with and those you feel committed to. This life is brief, and like a dream it can stop at any moment. It’s imporant to find time to show love and affection while we can. But like I said in the beginning, time can be an issue, and sometimes one just has to prioritize some things more than others. I admit, this is not my strong side. But I am working on it ๐Ÿ™‚

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Experience attraction freely – worry about labels later

Communication

is key. I’ve always been introverted, and find it hard sometimes to talk about stuff that is on my mind. I tend to just keep it in and have long conversations to myself instead, haha. Or to my cats…. This is not so favorable when it comes to polyamory, but I feel I have found a way that works for me to still get my points and feelings across: I write. It may not be super romantic, but I write it in an e-mail, on facebook message or simply as a letter and give it to the person I wish to say something to. I feel like expressing myself through writing is much easier; you get time to think and reflect, and get the words down “right”. I wish I was better at communicating verbally, I would love nothing more than hold the hands of a person I love and tell them all about what’s going on inside. But as long as the message gets across, I guess that’s the most important.

I am still fairly new to poly, but it seems there is no doubt that communication is important. I mean, it’s certainly important in all relationships, but more so maybe in poly ones because there is more people and thus more feelings involved. At the same time, I think it’s imporant to respect what the other person wishes and don’t wishes to know about for example your other partners, or trivial details that have no real relevance to your dynamic. I for one, don’t want to know about my partner’s casual hook-ups or FWB’s. All I ask for is that they are careful not to get sick and to practice safe sex. I only wish to know if they have fallen in love with someone new and/or have started dating someone romantically or otherwise longterm/feel committed to someone else, as this may have some impact on my time with them. And of course, if they are thinking about children in the near future (gosh, am I that age already?).

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Committment

A friend of mine asked me how my “love life was going”, and I said I was having some open loving relationships at that moment. His response was: “Oh, so no committment?”ย  This triggered something in me, I felt like that was a weird, but also not surprising response. I feel very committed to the people I love. Committment to me is not having sex with one person for the rest of my life. Committment to me is committing my time and energy to someone I like, to show them trust and respect, sharing special moments together and letting them know how I feel about them. To travel places and to eat meals together. To cook, shower and read together. Doing everyday stuff, together. Making plans. I have been in two longterm monogomous relationships in my life before, and the level of committment I feel is still the same, even if it’s non-monogomous. Crazy, huh?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Rewatching The Notebook after finding out I am poly, almost made me angry, haha.

Jealousy

I get jealous. Of course I do. I am still human ๐Ÿ™‚ I compare and compete, I make myself feel small and sometimes think that I am not good enough as I am, be it physically or otherwise. But as a yogin, I feel it is my “job” to tackle strong negative emotions like jealousy through practicing meditation and taking resposibility for my own mind, my own emotions. I do find it hard though, to know how to deal with other people’s jealousy, and I tend to shut a bit down instead of reassuring or making that person feel better. Also something I am working on.

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Future thoughts

I know in my heart I will always be polyamorous, just as I know in my heart that I am bisexual. Polyamory also feels like the only way for me to feel both committed to loving relationships and still date both sexes. This is not something I am doing at the moment, but definitely a wish I have for myself in the future, at the same time as I feel very satisfied with what I have now. I also find myself in a strange feeling of wanting a family. I mean, like kids. (Can’t believe I wrote that!) Either I am just feeling super clucky (and have done for some time now), or I am actually getting to a stage in my life where it feels right to do within the next years. All I really wish for my future is to make my relationships work well, but also attend to my personal dreams. If they go hand-in-hand, that’s amazing.

 

 

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Monica Olivia, last day of August 2018 โค

Everyday life, Health, Relationship

Relationships are the best ships

I’ve always valued close human interactions. As a kid I was pretty much hanging out with friends every day. Playing outside a lot, having sleepovers, going to cinema, doing shenanigans around the neighborhood.. Kid stuff, you know ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been very lucky in that sense, always having friends and someone to turn to if needed. And I have always enjoyed being a friend: someone you can rely on and someone who listens. Beingย a friend feels meaningful. And if we can share silence too, even better!

As I have grown older, some friendships have either ended or we just don’t have much contact anymore. But when we do meet, it is as if we never parted. These kinds of friendships are very special, I think. Time can pass and your lives are hectic, and different paths have been chosen, but still the bond of friendship is there. Also, having long distance friendships allows you to send postcards – I love sending postcards!

Now that I am not a kid anymore – alas!, finding new friends have been kind of hard. Like, how do you find new friends as an adult? You can’t just ask like you could when you were 7. And the period of my life when I was bedridden did not exactly make it better. Being 21-22 and bedridden was like really, really wanting to go to a party, but not being allowed to. That feeling. Luckily, I feel better in my health and have been forcing myself to be more social the last year or so. Kind of catching up for the “time lost”. Because I do love being around people, it just takes a lot of energy sometimes. I have 3-4 people in my life now that I value so much, I don’t even have words for it. Some of these relationships are romantic also, some are pure friendships. I guess they are whatever feels right and natural. One of them is long distance romance, and even though this is hard sometimes (missing each other and not being able to visit often) – it feels worth it. He feels worth it. Another is a deep connection of love, friendship, spiritual companionship and almost a decade of time spent together, and sometimes apart. And one of them is such a fun and adventurous friendship, it’s never a dull moment.

Whether the relationships are platonic, romantic or whatever, I value all of them equally.

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Photo by Irina Bileanschi – may 2016

The last year has also been a journey for me finding out I am polyamorous. It was like finding out I am bisexual – which I did many years ago. Lots of failing/learning, back and forth and some hurt feelings for me to find this out, but now I feel like I can be myself 100% and that is pretty much one of the best feelings in the world.

โ€œFriendship and romance are not ranks, tiers, or levels. They are not above or below each other. Romance is not a promotion. Friendship is not a demotion. Romance is not โ€œmore thanโ€ being friends with someone. Friendship and romance are concepts that exist on equal terms, side by side. Sometimes they happen to coincide. Other times they never intersect at all. How relationships are classified is only up to the individuals involved but neither is inherently more or less valuable than the other.โ€ – Unknown