There’s poly folks who will swear they have all the relationship answers.
They are adamant that being poly makes them better communicators, better lovers etc. but that doesn’t always ring true with my experience. I’ve met several poly ‘experts’, with mixed impressions, and I don’t think there’s any great secret to being good at poly that is different to being good at relationships in general. Perhaps within the container of polyamory, and non monogamy in general, we see these things come to the forefront because it’s sink or swim. I mean, you gotta learn how to communicate your feelings, or you quickly drown. Good relationship skills, however, are good relationship skills, no matter the context.
There’s times when I’m just plain fed up of the theories. I’ve grown weary of hearing folks prattle on about how to have relationships who haven’t had any poly relationships or who have limited relationship experience. I’m frustrated with the expressions of disdain towards people who choose monogamous relationships. I’m tired of others projecting their approach to polyamory on me. I’m sick of the “experts” for whom a relationship is a carefully negotiated contract rather than a consciously evolving exploration of connection.
I believe that, ultimately, the key to good relationships, and Relationships- whether monogamous, promiscuous, platonic, intimate, sexual, polyamarous, or open – is the same.
As Bill and Ted would say- Be excellent to each other!
Quietly, in murmurs and whispers, a revolution has been happening- and I don’t think it is unique to the poly-identifying community. There is a rise in the number of people eschewing the traditional relationship escalator, rejecting the traditional “one-plus-one-equals-one” coupling dynamic, and choosing to live their relationships in a more free-form and less conventional style.
This revolution is about relinquishing the attachment to the kyriarchy, and embracing the fact that we can be complete on our own, as individuals, and can also magnify our joy by sharing with others.
It is about understanding that we can’t make rules for anyone else but ourselves. What matters is the personal integrity we carry ourselves with, the moral compass by which our actions are guided- not our ability to control or coerce others.
In many ways, it feels closer to relationship anarchy than it does to the more well known forms of ethical non-monogamy.
Polyamory is based on this radical notion that you don’t have to limit who you can share your love with: you can be intimate and loving with multiple people. Sharing the people you love with others, however, is an equally radical and terrifying notion, and the generally accepted formula for doing so is to establish rules and guidelines to allow everyone to feel secure within the relationships they are in, and so many rules come to be set in place. When that happens, I have found, being in relationship can cease to be a spontaneous, joyous experience that you choose in to on a daily basis, and can instead feel like a contractual obligation- and isn’t that the problem most common to hear in complaints about relationships? That people feel trapped by obligations?
Thankfully, that’s not how polyamory works for everyone. There’s many ways to have many loves, and to do so ethically, openly, and honestly. Being Singleish means that there don’t have to be any rules to how you do that beyond the ones you set for yourself.
And so, what I think this whole relationship path boils down to is this: finding our own loving humanity.
Solo polyamory and being singleish are founded on the core value that no one is allowed to control or interfere in how you share your love. You are an individual, owned by no one. Controlled by no one. You have self determination, and dominion over your own sexual and emotional expression, and the choice to explore it in great depth- or not- as you please.
So, something I’m realizing, is that this journey isn’t just about me being poly, or me being Singleish.
It’s about me being Me.
And maybe it’s also about you being you.
Relationships have become the greatest self-learning catalyst in my life. For me, right now, that great access point into self discovery and learning is through relationships. Through discovering other people on the most intimate level, I learn about myself, and the starry firmament in which I exist.
I have been writing this blog for over a year now, and it has become a huge part of my life. It is evolving as I am evolving. It is no longer an attempt to justify or explain my self to the world- I know now that I am not alone. A few months ago, I suggested to Aggie Sez- the author of Solo Poly- that we start an online group for folks like ourselves. And so, the Solo Polyamory group was born. It’s an amazing container for learning, sharing, development, and growth. People from around the world, who identify as being Solo, as being Relationship Anarchists, as being Singleish- and also those who are curious about what these words mean- they’ve been coming together and conversing, and I am inspired every day by the interactions I have with people in this group. We’re evolving this theory together.
This is no longer so much about my journey, but about our journey. Our journey of becoming a less selfish, less aggressive, less fear and control driven community of humans. I’m not here to tell you how it’s done. I don’t believe that relationships can be that black and white. I’m here to talk about and explore how things could be done in relationships, and, most importantly how that relates to the relationship we have with ourselves: how we can blossom into BE-ing who we have always at our core felt we could be.
This is about freedom. Freedom to love who you want, when you want, in whatever way feels authentic between adults and is mutually consensual. It’s about not imposing limitations on whom or how you love. It’s about the journey to being able to acknowledge your needs and desires and dreams, and knowing that to expect one person alone to fulfill all of them is way too much pressure. It is about giving yourself permission to be free to be YOU, and explore the truth of your heart at every moment.
And that’s what I think this boils down to for me: finding our loving humanity. Choosing to be active in the relationship with our own Self, every day, and not for one moment taking any of it for granted.
“If you want to experience love, you have to start by loving yourself. ”
~ Swami Muktananda
3 thoughts on “Engaging in Excellence”
I feel you on this. Although I’ve been a blogger since 1997 (since back when they were called webjournals), it never appealed to me to have a “how to be poly” blog. My latest blog talks more about my poly identity than ever before. Much of what works for me flies in the face of conventional poly wisdom. Over-communicating sucks the life out of a relationship just as much as under-communicating endangers it.
I find you not being drowned by the illusion of perfection of polyamory! and it is refreshing, Especially for someone who has just been shown that such a thing exists. However, I have to ask –
Do you think that your ability to love many people and maintain many relationships might have been one of the consequences of not being able to express yourself for many long years? As a person, who hasn’t had that limitation, I find I still am unable to accept that I could maintain successful romantic relationships with many people. The feeling of obligation kicks in. In short – no strong desire to break free from what I have been imbibed with.
quinkygirl said: “Over-communicating sucks the life out of a relationship just as much as under-communicating endangers it.”
Boy, guess I’m fucked, and not in a good way. LOL
Thanks for the article.