Mo’ Poly, Mo’ Problems

My first several years of poly were a series of false starts and broken hearts.  I’d get involved and emotionally connected and then WHAM!!! the rug gets pulled out one way or another.  It is a hard, bad thing.   I’ve had a partner go mono with new a partner, a partner who was actually cheating and subsequent dissembling of the web of deceit (blowback sucks balls), and a partner who decided she was mono and wanted me to forsake all others for her (and, if I really loved her, of course I would do this… or so went the logic).  Also, a partner who insisted I push all other relationships to the periphery – essentially making those others casual and very tentative – which I refused to do. 

It has been painful.  And, it seemed that I couldn’t manage a full year without one of these issues cropping up.  I was disillusioned and heartbroken.  I wondered why I was doing it so wrong.  Some of these folks were new to poly.  Only dating experienced poly people (the no newb rule) is only partially effective – as it didn’t help me in two of the four cases above.  They were more experienced in poly than I was.  I couldn’t suss out a pattern to help me select more judiciously.

I decided on two things about a year ago and I’ve essentially stuck to them.  The first, and probably most important thing, is that I decided that a broken heart isn’t the thing I’m most afraid of.  I must “love with abandon.”   A broken heart is not desirable but well worth the risk.  So, I need to place my bets on compatibility, chemistry and mutual investment.  Poly is only one element in that complex equation.  (more…)

Love, Acceptance and Letting Go

I accept you for who you are, but I just can’t be in a relationship with you…  Are these contradictory sentiments?  If you really accept me, why can’t you love me and be with me?

I‘ve wrestled mightily with this apparent contradiction.  You see, a few years ago, I realized that a polyamorous relationship style was most compatible with my long-term happiness.  Not just that I can love more than one – I had already known that without internal controversy.  But, that loving more than one sustained me in a way that monogamy did not and could not.  I was then faced with the reality that not everyone wanted to love me as I wanted them to.  In those much darker early days, I frequently felt unaccepted and rejected.  I took more detours down shame alley than I care to remember.

Ultimately, I gathered my own footing, put shame in its rightful place, and accepted myself fully.  I began to insist that others accept me fully as well.  I was confronted with the difficult choice of either walking away from a wonderful woman or ditching polyamory.  As difficult as it was, I chose to walk away.  Rinse, wash and repeat.  Despite communicating clearly about polyamory to potential romantic partners, after these relationships became serious, I was still confronted with this same dilemma.  In short, these wonderful women suggested that if I loved them, I would forsake my polyamory for them.  My instinctive response was that if they really loved and accepted me, they would accept all of me including my polyamory.

That sounds reasonable, right? (more…)

Love Completely

Emotional attachment and the ties that bind people together grow with reciprocity.  It is not, however, the soil within which love grows.  Love only truly thrives when given freely, without expectation.  It is this dilemma that holds us back.

Love does not traffic in transactions of give and take, of exchanging tangible and intangible goods.  This is the nature of satisfaction seeking.  Hedonic rewards are pleasing, by definition, but fleeting.  True love has its own momentum.

Love and oil don’t mix.  Love is not precious, in the sense of a commodity (like oil) that requires your heart to be Prius powered.  It IS precious in that it is unlimited only if you let it be, only If you let go.

Love completely; love with abandon; love without hope of being loved in return.  If you can, the momentum of your love will transform all around you. True love satisfies itself.

And so, there is no reason to hold back.  It is time to let go.  Let love thrive by practicing unbounded love, unconditioned by the expectation of anything in return.  It is not as hard as it sounds.  Nor is it easy.  Start small.  When you meet your edge, slow down and ease forward.  But, keep going.