Not too long ago, I broke off my long-term relationship and mentally and emotionally “broke up” a flirtatious friendship that was going nowhere. In my new found self-care and self-love phase, I’ve come to rethink a thing or two about relationships.
Love and sexuality is a spectrum, and it’s fluid. As are relationships.
There’s a group in the Puttytribe for those who are fascinated by relationships. I noticed that there seemed to be a disproportionately high number of multipotentialites who have an interest in polyamorous or open relationships, or are at least ‘open’ to exploring the concept.
Sure, it makes sense that if a person has multiple interests, then they might be interested in multiple people and translate that into multiple partners. I’m not saying all multipotentialites are into polyamory or open relationships, but it certainly seems that there is at least a subset which makes it worth exploring.
My own polyamorous journey so far has been mostly a curiosity, but not a practice. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I found a sexuality and philosophy forum online that was pretty open. I soon found a lot of swingers were on the boards and this made me feel threatened. I did not like the concept and gradually abandoned the boards. Meanwhile, I loved reading books by Anais Nin and her erotic romances with various friends. Little things like my attraction to Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera’s artistic stormy romance and love affairs, my fascination with Geishas, and my favorite painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymous Bosch, soon had me realize I was at least predisposed to growing into an appreciation of polyamory.
I don’t pretend to have relationships all figured out. I tend to view myself as a “spinster by choice,” a “serial monogamist,” a “commitment-phobe” or “flakey.” Is this related to my multipotentialite nature? Who knows. Possibly, maybe.
Polyamory and free love
I don’t deny that I’m a little bit of a hippy. I grew up in Oregon and I think that’s part of it. But a polyamorous philosophy to me means free love. It doesn’t mean I practice a polyamory lifestyle, but it means that my romantic views on how humans interact is based on the concept of free love, and the idea that we cannot and should not “possess” one another.
As I grow older and become more comfortable with my sexuality, and sex positivism, I realize more and more that I’m open to polyamory and free love because I reject the notion of “forever”. Part of me wants the hopeless romantic lifelong partner and another part of me doesn’t believe in marriage, because of how untraditional I am.
I used to be in a stifling, jealous relationship where I was prohibited to talk to people of the opposite sex, and where hanging out with another guy one-on-one was considered bad. These concepts seem so foreign to me now and I don’t agree with this behavior. I can and should be able to hang out with anyone I want or go on “dates” (including solo dates). I always told past partners that if they ever wanted to cheat on me, tell me first. It’s not the actual cheating that I’d be upset about, it’s the dishonesty and going behind my back.
Sussing out the boundaries in any relationship is a must, especially if you’re thinking about opening it up, but it dawned on me that you don’t have to have sexual relations with other people to consider yourself to be in a polyamorous relationship. Love goes beyond sex. I realized that I have the capacity to love more than one person, and romantically so.
Label of love
Relationships are a spectrum. What separates “open relationship” from just being “single” (the labels I most recently whizzed through)? Or a “serial monogamist” to someone “polyamorous” (I could be either one)? To me, they are similar concepts with different labels.
Not all polyamorous relationships are open relationships and not all open relationships are polyamorous. This is what I’ve gathered after reading a primer on the lifestyle, The Ethical Slut. I don’t imagine I’d be into actively looking for partners, swinging, and going to naked parties and the like. My experiences with dating, in the traditional sense, is that it’s not for me at all and I’d rather focus on being my best self than seek a mate, or date around. When I’m comfortable with myself and happy I will naturally attract the right people along my path and one of them (or more?) might be my next partner.
I go back and forth with polyamory and monogamy. I’m monogamous by default, because that’s the common societal structure and its hard to go beyond that or define and redefine what else that could look like (let alone find others who are self-aware and could be on board). I’ve never been good with status quo and convention, so a completely monogamous relationship sounds too unrealistic to me. Monogamy feels stifling and I’d rather have the possibility of more than one person rather than actively practicing it.
Natural attraction to other people should happen freely and free of guilt. Polyamory and open relationships add a whole new level of trust, openness and honesty that I find rewarding. Rather than live unconsciously and go through the motions of your relationship, you consciously get to decide what you like and don’t like, and what boundaries and guidelines to set.
Is polyamory or open relationships something you would explore? Do you think there is a correlation between being a multipotentialite and being more open to unconventional relationship models?