“If monogamy is two married people who agree to only have sex with each other, there isn’t much of a history of it.” explains Isabella Rotman . I don’t practice monogamy because.. I don’t want to.
Despite this being the case for longer than I can remember, I’m still asked the same reductive questions by friends and strangers alike. “How does polyamory work?”
The “amory” is important here; Latin amor is “love”. Polyamory isn’t just about having sex with multiple partners. It is also, often, about forming deep attachments to them and, yes, often loving more than one person at a time. It didn’t happen overnight but I can’t give you an exact date for when I decided that proximity, jealousy and possessiveness was not an indication of love nor the depth of it. When my engagement ended in my early 20’s it became apparent to me that a traditionally monogamous love was not enough to overcome practical incompatibilities in an adult relationship.
With time and some false starts, I’ve established that for me, commitment doesn’t necessarily come with exclusivity. One romantic partner not meeting all of my emotional and/or physical needs doesn’t mean they are inadequate or me too needy. It’s actually quite common and very much not a crime. Sharing a love that is intense and sufficient does not cease my attraction to others. When I say attraction I mean more than a ‘like’ on Instagram or a screenshot on Snapchat. I have had to learn to be vocal about any insecurities or desires I may have as it’s not for my partner to figure out telepathically. Without broadway theatrics and longer than necessary Tumblr posts we can exchange our feelings and be rational with each other.
The level to which I value my partners is not directly proportional to the time and energy we invest in each other, publicly or privately. Marriage and children are not the only indicators of devotion and longevity. My relationships are not a zero-sum game i.e. one person supplementing the relationship does not mean an equivalent disadvantage for the others. I’ve never had a similar or identical poly relationship before and so treat them as the unique and individual experiences they are.
‘Who is your main partner?’ ‘I’m sure you’ll settle down one day.’ ‘You’re just being greedy.’ ‘I don’t believe you everyone gets jealous, it doesn’t work.’ All such asinine statements that I’m tired of answering because the last time I checked what I eat doesn’t make you shit.
Illustration by: Mel Lou