I originally wanted to write a rebuttal of Guy New York’s post on polyamory. After re-reading it though, I don’t know how to use his piece as a jumping off point. He made a beautiful mess and there is a rawness that I can’t touch. I see his points and they all make sense, for him. There is also no reason to rebut what he wrote.
Despite the fact that people sometimes confuse us, Guy and I are pretty different people. We are in very different relationships. That being said I certainly consider him poly. He may not like the term, but it is useful to describe his lifestyle, and mine.
Through my teens and twenties it seemed like my heart and my head were constantly at war. Honesty, curiosity, hedonism, adventure, the things that I tried to base my life on, always seemed at odds with falling in love. And falling in love was the goal, obviously.
Falling in love has always been a cataclysmic, life changing event for me. It still is, to be certain, but I guess what being poly has let me figure out is that I’ve looked at love as a binary instead of an emotion or a connection. All in or all out.
Somehow, somewhere around when I turned 30, after a long and complicated and fucked up breakup, I decided that there was some other way to do it. It was hard. I didn’t do it right at first. I fucked up a bunch. Now? Now I feel like I’m living the way I have supposed to be living all of my life but didn’t know it.
I mean, I’m certainly in love right now. It is a love that has changed my life. It has changed me. But there are also crushes and flirtations and intellectual dalliances. There are certain people, for whom certain times mean certain furniture will be broken. There are silly flings and May-December romances. There is a circle of friends who are on and off lovers and it’s all complicated and lovely and despite the fancy new words, I’m sure none of it is new.
Maybe the new part is the communication. The hypercommunication. The biggest realization that poly has brought me is that honesty destroys guilt. Which is good, because I don’t do guilt.
So I try and be brave and ask for what I want. If I get it, that is awesome. If I don’t get it, I deal with it. You don’t have to be happy about it, but you do have to deal with it. Sometimes asking for what you want means people will not like you anymore. Be honest with those around you and respect their choices and expect respect for yours.
Anyhow, that’s all what poly means to me. It isn’t about how many people you are dating or how many people you love or fuck. If I were single I would certainly still be poly. To me it means that I am open to being attracted to multiple people at the same time and acting on those attractions in a honest and overt manner. It means that monogamy would be difficult for me. That’s about all.
And I like the word, even if it does have its own cache of cliche. Then again I’m probably more of a geek than Guy and I’ve even admitted to being a blogger in public without cringing. I don’t so much see things like polyamory as being labels as much as they are tags for easy searchability. Poly, kinky, skeptic, writer, so on. There are a few more that I am not sure I am and struggle with, like queer, artist, ally, but that’s a whole different post, which I’m sure will also be too long.