People assume that, ultimately, a relationship must "win", meaning that all others are thrown away. I have repeatedly explained that polyamory is based on the principle that you can love more than one person. Being in love with more than one person is not only possible, it is even desirable in comparison with more conventional ideas about monogamy. Yet almost a year later it seems to have gone straight over their heads.
Maybe I should not be surprised – after all, in the early days of our polyamorous "journey", I was not convinced. But now that time is over, the practice of this new way of loving has shown me how deeply rooted monogamy is in our collective psyche. When monogamy fails, the solution is invariably not to question monogamy, but to try … more monogamy … only with another person. Of course, that value system works well for some people, but when a friend finishes things with her husband, he goes outside and almost immediately makes a relationship with a new man. I wonder if this does not start to look like that classic definition of craziness – time and again doing the same thing, while you expect different results.
Polyamorous is not an anti-commitment for me. After all, which really loving relationship could be? Lucy and I are committed to each other as primary partners. This means that we live together and raise our children together. But going out on dates and being in love with other people is – I am beginning to discover now – not really a threat to this home set-up. In fact, when we are debating today, it is not about our other loved ones, as it would sometimes be when we first started experimenting with poly. It normally concerns the household. The fact that the grass-is-always-greener syndrome is almost completely removed from our daily lives, seems to make our marriage stronger, not weaker.
My friend Nell * – who has been poly for more than a decade – explained this on our very first date last year: if you have more than one child, you do not have to choose what you love – you love them all. Love is not finite and does not have to be limited to one person or divided into smaller and smaller parts. It can grow and grow, the more people you get to know. And now, after a year, I finally begin to understand this. What happens to our marriage when Lucy or I fall in love with someone else? We all benefit from it. How should I know that? Because we to be both of them fell in love with other people, and we are happy with them – and with each other. We are still in love and our relationship feels stronger than ever. If you had asked me a year ago, I would never have thought I would say it, but polyamory seems to work for us.