“Relationships aren’t about making you happy, they are about making you conscious.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
I’ve called her on it, and she admits it’s a struggle. I’ve watched her in her exploration of things Poly tumble into a variety of different entanglements, some of them that seemingly don’t have any real chemistry, and even one that was incredibly damaging. I asked her if she knew what she was looking for in relationships yet. She wasn’t sure, so I rephrased the question: “In five years, ten years, who do you want to be surrounded by?”
“People who love me”, she replied.
I’m not sure that persuing poly purely in search of more people to love you is necessarily the healthiest approach. I’m talking about a very subtle difference in attitude. For me, it has been about finding more people with whom I can share my love. And, whilst I would hope the feeling of love is reciprocal, I am not coming at it from a place of feeling that I lack love. I have developed an absolutely kick-ass relationship with myself, and feel an incredible amount of love in my life, even when totally alone.
There’s many many reasons that people can come to explore non-monogamy. And they are all equally valid. We search for multiple loving partners for biological reasons, for emotional reasons. Some people, like me, feel they were always this way to some degree. Seeking an antidote for unsatisfying long-term relationships can also be a catalyst for leaping into polyamory. Sometimes we just want to feel loved and adored by everyone, and can’t stand to turn anyone away. Some folks are just afraid of commitment. And sometimes its a combination of several of these reasons and others. Whatever the root cause, I’ve noticed that many (myself included) go through a kind of anti-monogamy rebellion that can occasionally verge on fanatical polyism. This article on precisely this topic is concise and well written.
“Why choose?” has been my motto for a few months. There was a time last year where I approached this poly-singleish thing with an air of carefree abandon. Anyone interesting who asked me on a date, I’d say yes. Well, why not, right? It’s only a date. But, really, there’s gotta be something more in common than “Hey, we’re both poly!”. Not surprisingly I had some mixed results, some awkward moments, some mistakes, and thankfully made a few new friends.
So, how do you choose who to date? When good fortune shines and life presents you with a smorgasbord of interested parties, how on earth do you go about choosing who you want to spend time with? And then, how the heck do you politely say no to the others?
I’ve noticed that when I, as an individual, fail to provide myself with criteria/guidelines/standards, that fate will decide for me, and every relationship I have going flat lines simultaneously. I’ve witnessed something similar happen to my friend, with some intense relationships hitting the pause button or dropping away completely. In my own process, when this happens, it makes me refine what I want, and what I need, and I’m hoping that it works the same way for her.
As last summer rolled to an end, I decided I needed intimacy with people who could be on a similar page to me spiritually. With each exploration, I’m becoming more aware of my other needs. The need for ongoing communication and integrity. Most importantly, I need lovers who won’t run away when I start to get ‘under their skin’ and peer into the depths of their being (I’ve been told I have a tendency to do this- CC called it my ‘truth-stare’). I’m looking now, consciously, for flovers/lovers/partners that I can build a connection with. Whether its someone I see for dates regularly (like Orion), enjoy a more ‘low key’ yet passionate connection with (like Loki), spend hours exchanging ideas with (like Emma), or someone I get to share cuddles with perhaps only once in a few months (like ElkFeather), I want there to be a connecting of hearts, a meeting of minds, and an exchange of mutual inspiration, stimulating creativity.
If relationships are really about making us conscious of ourselves, then no two partners can- or will be- alike. Every new dynamic will bring its own learnings. And each will have their season or seasons, evolving or moving on as we need them to, whether you experience multiple relationships simultaneously, or one at a time. Its a weird state of detachment to stay in when things can change so fast inwardly and outwardly, but oh man is it worth it.
I read a quote once that poly was the grad-school of relationships. I’m not so sure I completely agree with that analogy. However, I do think its one of the best character building and self-awareness workshops that I know of. In the last year, really embracing a poly-lifestyle, I’ve done more journalling, more self-examination, experienced more heartbreak and more joy than in all my previous years put together. I feel now like every day has become an opportunity to get to know myself better, and to share some of this journey with like-minded and like spirited people makes it all the sweeter.