Facebook has an option for me to be in an open relationship, and although I am in one, I don’t use it… because it doesn’t allow for the addition of other partners. According to the facebook definition, I can only be in an open relationship with one person. But an open relationship for me means more than one relationship…which is where you come in.
I don’t support our society’s ‘pair’ assumptions because they create a hierarchy which I feel devalues you in our relationship. Because even if in all other respects, we love each other and think that our relationship deserves as much recognition as any other, we live in times where I cannot legitimize more than one relationship. It’s called couple privilege.
In my book love and hierarchy is an oxymoron. And yes, I know that it’s been accepted for years as a given in the swinging community, within the hierarchical polyamorous community and has even most recently been coined in what Dan Savage calls monogamish.
But love and hierarchy doesnt recognise the evolution of all relationship dynamics, being present in the moment and accepting change as a necessary and beautiful part of life. It dictates a rigid pair bond with additional extras. Some of these supposed ‘open’ configurations masquerade as a loving ‘unfenced’ relationships instead of what I believe they actually are; just another way to control and devalue individuals.
I don’t believe in that. I believe in life.
Whilst some couples (and the extras) might be happy with hierarchy, I am not. Because it’s like saying to my son (and second born);
Well sweetie, we were a complete family before you arrived, but we’re an open family so you can still be a part but you will never be acknowledged as an equally important part. As the second child society will judge that you are intrinsically worth less in my life and your sister will always come first.
We’re still conditioned to think like this for relationships. In most of the world, for example, I can only marry one person. Anyone who comes after that won’t be legally recognised as an equal partner. I wouldn’t be happy with that and I don’t think you would either.
So any relationship configuration which works according to the philosophy of scarcity, fear and restriction is problematic, not only for my partner and I, but for you who have the right to expect a legitimate and open recognition of our relationship.
Yes, I already have a live-in partner and children. So what can I offer you?
It’s not that I don’t want to offer more. It’s not that I can’t offer more. But it is more difficult because society and laws try their best to prevent me from doing so. So until the laws change, I step outside the boundaries created by our society and I offer you life. I think it’s more precious anyway.
As my live-in partner and I move through life growing and exploring relationships with other people, the more we realise that what is created is organic and very often, unpredictable. As he and I re-experience the joy of life, lust and love generated from new relationships I often shake my head in wonder; there are people out there who actively prevent their partner(s) from experiencing one of the biggest miracles in life. But I love him. Why would I want him not to enjoy life?
They act out of fear not love. They look back in sad recognition that neither of them will experience that delicious life-giving buzz of new relationship energy, or love anyone else. They are too fearful to let that happen.
But we are not afraid. You are part of life. My life and our life. And we embrace you.
Some people ask me
What if you lose him?
I correct them. ‘What if I lose them?’ I say. Because even though you and I have been going out for almost 7 months now, versus my partner and I who have been together for 7 years, time is not a measure of feelings. Perhaps it was in the beginning. But soon enough, love becomes timeless.
Of course, neither of you are ‘mine’ to lose. You are both free agents. And while I hope we will always be in some sort of configuration together, I roll, or rather dance, with the punches. For the joy, for the pain and for the opportunity.
In a truly open relationship you accept change. You go with the flow.
Burning hydrogen gas with oxygen will make water. It no longer resembles hydrogen in any way apart from that the original hydrogen molecules are still present. You add oxygen and suddenly BOOM…you make something completely different. A compound. It’s like magic… I think you might be the oxygen. And that’s just as important as the hydrogen. In life, like in chemistry, there are unstable configurations and some break up – sometimes in no way you expect. But that’s how life works.
We are all encouraged to keep the magic alive in our relationship; new sex toys, new positions, new destinations… but never new partners. Never new life and new love. Because we know that some relationships will change the game; they will blow the original molecules out of the water and we will be forever changed (don’t worry though, I don’t knock the sex toys).
My partner and I both lost our original partners once. And guess what, we’re happier than ever (and so are they). We learned a lot.
We learned to grow enough to be able to embrace the change. We don’t put restrictions in place to prevent it.
Most people believe that somehow that by avoiding the pain that comes with change, they will be happy. But I think that without the change we die a little bit more each day…
It’s true, that our relationship won’t stay the same. Sometimes it might change on a daily basis. And if you can’t cope with that, then polyamory might not be for you. Polyamory for us is about life, not marriage. So what can I offer?
Endless possibilities of love and life. Living together. Maybe. Children. Maybe. These things are not restricted by law.
I can’t marry you officially. Nor can I recognise you on Facebook (that’s how love is validated nowadays).
But I can tell the world I love you in a blog.