I’m not sure how common it is for people to take a good hard look at monogamy and decide that they want it. My guess is that monogamy is so well ingrained into our culture that it’s almost invisible. Sure, we spend a lot of time thinking of whom we’ll marry. Some of us spend a lot of time even deciding if we’ll marry. But how many of us think about or decide between monogamy and polyamory? I mean, really think about it.
In my discussions with people, I hear a lot of arguments against polyamory and in favor of monogamy. Yet I’m not sure that they aren’t just knee-jerk reactions to something that is utterly foreign to them. “I mean, polyamory? Come on. You can’t seriously be considering that. Everyone knows….” And then I am presented with something that, to me, at least, usually doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Am I not considering the full consequences of my decisions? Or is it just hard for people to reject something that has become simply a backdrop in our culture, the fabric upon which the other choices of our life are made?
How does one make a transition from one lifestyle to another? Especially from a lifestyle that is socially acceptable to one that is not? I have recently come to the conclusion that polyamory is a more workable approach to life than monogamy. One of the things that appeals to me about polyamory is the idea that you can live your life honestly. In a purportedly monogamous lifestyle, many people still have relationships with other people outside of their marriage, but in cases where those relationships exceed the expectations of the marriage, deception becomes a central feature of the relationship. Some people have affairs. Even in cases where a physical affair isn’t undertaken, many couples engage in what have become known as emotional affairs. In my mind, though, deception plays at least as large a role as infidelity in causing damage to the relationship.
So the idea of being able to be completely honest and open about relationships is extremely appealing to me. Instead of hiding that a certain person is an important part of my life, I want to be able to acknowledge that part of my life. Girlfriend is important to me. I love her. I want other people in my life to know what a positive influence she is. I want to share my happiness with others. Yet I have been discovering that instead of people finding joy in my ability to be honest, the only way that they can relate to what is going on in my life is to equate it to cheating.
I love words. I’m an avid reader, and I appreciate works from authors who understand the power of words. I enjoy writing, and I know that sometimes the difference between a bland sentence and a powerful sentence can be a simple matter of finding just the right word. I don’t claim, however, to know a lot of words or even the nuances of the ones I do know, and thus I am always seeking to expand my vocabulary and my understanding of word meanings. I carry a dictionary app on my phone, and I refer to it often, probably to the consternation of those people in whose presence I practice this arguably antisocial habit.
So yes. I love words. I love to learn them. I love to use them correctly. It isn’t often, however, that learning a new word completely changes your life. Yet that is what happened to me. It was October of last year. I stumbled upon a word I had never seen before. And my life hasn’t been the same since. The word? Polyamory.