A monogamous friend of mine responded to my post on Steve's and my declaration of unconditional love for each other. I asked my friend if I could quote him, because he sparked a response in me. He said, "Try to be kind. I'm off the cuff."
So my friend said:
I am so glad you had the epiphany regarding Steve and being "stuck" in town on Monday night. A lot of folks would tell you that you wouldn't reach that loving understanding unless you were monogamous. But see, you can as a polyamorous couple too- if your intentions are pure. I think we monogs tend to view the polys as sluts looking for a lay, or as people looking for acceptance through multiple sexual encounters- so why get married? Well, I think you answered that question admirably- just seems like a lot of work to come back to realize you have what you want right there in front of you.
I am so glad you had the epiphany regarding Steve and being "stuck" in town on Monday night.
This is just a tangent (or is it?) but it wasn't really an epiphany. I think we both knew this, and we were finally getting a chance to say it to each other. Lest people think we didn't have time to say it because we're too busy with other people, not true. It's Steve's job that is the whore (I kid) keeping him from spending time with me, and with Krissy. Regardless, when we do have the chance to spend time together like this, quiet, sharing, undistracted, it is a treasure. There's something to be said for yearning for more time together, rather than too much time together.
A lot of folks would tell you that you wouldn't reach that loving understanding unless you were monogamous.
And here I was trying to convey my theory that I don't think we could have achieved this depth of understanding if monogamous. There are various reasons my first marriage did not reach this depth of love, but I know my first wanted this condition on my love, that I not look at other men as desirable or attractive.
My love with Steve has been tested through all that. I have fallen in love with other people, I have made mistakes many people make when giddy in love. Any fears I may have had, residuals from that first jealous marriage, melted away when I experienced this one loving me through it all. Any fears either of us may have had that love for others could lessen our love for each other fell away when we found this love only got deeper and stronger.
Indeed what I was trying to say that with each new experience of love I have found the capacity of my heart grow bigger. New doorways open in my heart, and because they are not secret or closed off, my internal heart house just keeps expanding. I have loved some who I would have turned away from if I expected them to be my one and only. I have learned it is possible to love more intimately those who I do not get naked with...like this friend. My precious moments I find to spend with Steve inform my attitude toward those precious moments I spend with my platonic friends that I have loved for much longer.
These things are possible in monogamy, but I witness many monogs riding on the coattails of expectations. Many monogamous relationships wither and die or become bitter or worse because people expect the form to carry them through, not the effort that any relationship takes. There is no guarantee that love gets deeper, and I'm not quite sure why folks think monogamy brings this depth of love about, in and of itself.
But see, you can as a polyamorous couple too- if your intentions are pure. I think we monogs tend to view the polys as sluts looking for a lay, or as people looking for acceptance through multiple sexual encounters- so why get married?
So many sad judgments and assumptions found in this. Not only that poly people are sluts, but that it's bad to be a slut. That it's bad to want sex for sex's sake, that it's bad to feel good about one's self through sexual encounters, that seeking multiple sexual encounters means you feel incomplete. Saddest assumption of all, that marriage is defined by sexual commitment, and not a love and compatibility that includes sexual attraction. Certain monogs think of polys this way because this is where they focus their attention. Yes, my friend, I have noticed you like to hear about my sexcapades. I like to please, so those are the stories you get.
Similar things can be observed about some monogs: they are looking for a guaranteed lay; they seek acceptance through the appearance of a lifelong commitment; they don't trust that someone can be committed unless that someone has sex with them exclusively.
Monogamous people see polyamorous people as indulgent because that's how they view sex with more than one in their framework. Sex outside a commitment means betraying that commitment. It means making a mistake and coming back to the default, monogamous. If they have not experienced honest open relationships, they cannot know that it takes more responsibility.
In the framework of polyamory, sex outside a relationship is not a mistake, it is an affirmation. Love for more than one enhances, doesn't take away, from pre-existing loves. Sex is not a commodity, but an intimacy that can be shared as meaningfully as confessions. It can be a gift. It can be a sharing of wealth.
Love need not be withheld due to unworthiness of monogamy. I have learned there can be a certain stinginess to love in monogamous thinking, and I learned that because that stinginess clung to my experiences in loving others, causing mistakes that I could have avoided if I simply allowed the love to be what it would be.
My understanding of the Buddhist precept 'do not misuse sexuality' has been profoundly informed by my experience as a poly person. For me to expect others' sexuality to conform to my own as the more righteous form, that would be misusing sexuality. For me to hold the sexuality of another bound to me and me alone, that would be stealing their autonomy, their right to decide what they can do with their own body. To me, that is indulgent.
Well, I think you answered that question admirably- just seems like a lot of work to come back to realize you have what you want right there in front of you.
It may be a roller-coaster ride at times, my friend, but it is not work. Ultimately, it is a joy. Steve said the work is in convincing people like you that this works just fine, thanks. I find the work has been getting over the traps set for me by monogamous thinking, and well-meaning monogamous mentors. I hope I have convinced you that my joy in my love with Steve comes from my heart-opening experiences in polyamory. While I cannot know for sure I could have come to this without that...that is another lifeline some other Heidi in some parallel universe has experienced...and while it's possible me being me I might have got there eventually...I truly believe that this is the graduate school of the heart. The more practice at loving with various people I get to have, the better I am at choosing love, simply love, without conditions and with wisdom.