If you’d asked me 6 months ago, I would have said that I love 2 men. But now …after months of drama, mistrust, less time with my husband and having the best connection ever with my new lover, I am just not sure of my feelings any more. Then this weekend I reconnected with my husband and we both wept. In the beginning I thought I was polyamorous, but now I’m confused. Is this just the swansong of our marriage?
~ Mrs. Indenial
Dear Mrs. Indenial
You may both ‘believe’ in polyamory, the possibility of loving many, with your whole hearts. And that’s wonderful. But it sounds like neither of you examined the reason why you got into it in the first place. When someone goes into polyamory because their relationship isn’t working anymore, it comes from a place of need and insecurity. This goes against the underlying philosophy of polyamory which is expansive loving.
You lost the connection with your husband over the years and then found connection during ‘New Relationship Energy’ (NRE) phase with another. In NRE phase, you render yourself immensely vulnerable, you speak from a place of feelings and needs. You connect with the other person. This weekend you connected with your husband again; that’s not surprising. You felt vulnerable, you opened to him emotionally and you connected once more.
We only connect when we are ourselves truly vulnerable. After the initial period of NRE with most lovers you close once more (it is safer like that, less dramatic) and we are trained to get through our lives with strategies, management, control. That’s how society operates. But you miss it. You sigh in recollection of what was and reassure yourself and say – ah well ‘in love’ doesn’t last. In love happens when you connect at the deepest, emotional level. With polyamory that can be all the time (Yay!)
The problem with connecting all the time on an vulnerable level is that it is very scary. The illusion of control that we have over life is abandoned at this level as we realise that the only thing we can work with is ourselves (and even then it’s difficult!). We must trust everything will be ok – that we will be ok – because we have nothing else. If you cannot trust that everything will be ok, then you have anxiety, stress, drama. And here’s the kicker –
Your time may have come with your relationship with your husband. Relationships change and it may have served its purpose. Only you can know this.
What you don’t realise is that if it has… this is okay. You will be okay, and so will he. Stop fearing the unknown, trust that you can both deal with it. Communicate. Of course you will be sad, but the belief in polyamory also means letting relationships be as they are meant to be and not forcing them within a structure. I believe you love two men. But perhaps you do not love both romantically. Be brave. You are not a terrible person for having your feelings. You are not a terrible person if your feelings hurt someone else. But it is your responsibility to communicate them compassionately.
If your needs have changed and you can no longer fulfil each others needs then no matter how much you love each other, polyamory may signal the end of your relationship. But note that polyamory isn’t the problem. It’s still ok (sometimes the end of the relationship is the most amazing part if you embrace it… like NRE!!! And sometimes if you embrace the change in your relationship, you can still keep it simply moving it from a ‘main’ relationship to a ‘less permanent’ relationship). Doing the work will mean that you have to re-learn how to communicate with each other as you did in the beginning. Its difficult to learn but not impossible.
I am asking you to show this answer to your husband. Because you seriously need to talk about what would happen if this is the end. Do you have children? Could you let each other live your own lives without acrimony? Can you live in a less permanent configuration and have other ‘primary’ partners? Could you still live together under the same roof? I don’t believe that polyamory is not about protecting the primary relationship. If you want that, then practice hierarchy or go swinging. Go together and leave together. Polyamory is about embracing love – and all its consequences. And if you want to practise it successfully, it requires radical honesty with each other, and with yourselves.