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Polyamory Ireland Discussion/Support Group Message Board Lifestyle › Polyamorous Monogamy.

Polyamorous Monogamy.

Randy R.
Dublin, IE
Post #: 470
Polyamorous Monogamy
by Freya Watson

I don’t know—something just doesn’t feel right about it.
We were shooting the breeze as usual, a group of university friends nursing coffees and arguing the toss about open relationships. I was trying—and failing once again—to find a way of reconciling my head and my heart. My head agreed with the logic of open relationships, but my heart was none too sure and I couldn’t quite figure out why.

Our discussions at the time were inspired by the lives of some of the writers we were studying—Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir in particular. And fueled in no small measure by our disillusionment with the relationship models we saw in our parents’ generation. Not that we were sure the French writers had the answer either. De Beauvoir, in particular, didn’t seem to have been all that happy with her relationship experimentation. But at least, to our young minds, they were open and exploring possibilities—something that was desperately important to us.

We had seen too many who had gone before us shut down on the richness of life, locking away their dreams as they got on with the serious business of building careers, homes and families. Remaining open to life was desperately important to us as we crossed the threshold into adulthood.

Roll forward a few decades and I’m still fascinated by those same themes—with how we stay open in love and life, and how we support those close to us in doing likewise. The term open relationship has now been replaced by the more descriptive polyamory, bringing me to the core of what had been my youthful reticence about the former. Maybe due to our age, discussions about open relationships—and my own early and simplistic explorations of them—seemed to focus mostly on physical pleasure, as if the underlying motivation was simply one of sexual freedom. For me, though, something was missing, and the term polyamory put the heart back into the matter.



* * *
Patrick L.
Newry, GB
Post #: 28
Freya says " the term polyamory put the heart back into the matter. It was love that was missing."

This statement in the context of discussing open relationships is significant, because I ask if anything else was missing in her open relationships and still might be lacking within those of a polyamorous kind?

There maybe an assumption that love just 'happens' when two people meet, and if so then love maybe identified with affection, sexual desire or lust.
Freya continues to say on hearing about polyamory "my initial reaction was: Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do—to love everyone? Do we really need a label for it?"

This suggests to me that there is a need to discuss what love is and how it arises? Further more even, ask what keeps love going? These questions maybe asked by us all but they are hardly ever discussed specifically. The assumption creeps continuously that we all already know and agree what we are talking about when it cones to the discussion of 'love'.

Although an emotion like anger. lust or jealousy, love is different in being seen as a desirable positive emotion and one we should try to expand, develop and certainly persist with.
Freya touches on this idea by saying the need for the term polyamory " is because we have developed attitudes that are other than that—and built behaviors and structures that run counter to it.

I too feel this strongly and go further to ask if these attitudes and behaviours are not imposed on us by Society rather that learned individually and if we need to recognise that we must regain an understanding of all our emotions and especially that one of love.

"The core issue then," Freya suggests, "is perhaps expression—how we choose to express love." and here again I agree wholeheartedly but in a more inclusive way than she does.

I believe love starts as soon as we begin to know someone but here I include all kinds of love - parental love sibling love, love of relatives, friends, lovers and even celebrity personalities.

The emotion of love in each case is not different in nature but does differs in degree of love and the variety of ways it is expressed.

For example, I love my mother, hold her hands, hug her, kiss her cheek - all kinds of expression I also use with my lovers. My mother and I know each other well just I know my lovers, but the differences in my behavior between my mother and lovers is in the additional ways of expressing my love including sexual intimacy.

For people I don't know very well my expressing love is more limited, for example to giving to and accepting warm hugs from friends in poly meetups. Sometimes my expression of love can be entirely one way. I know Beethoven's life well and I enjoy his music immensely but he will never know me nor will I express to him those intense feelings which I am happy to say feel to me as identical to those I call love!

Freya discusses the contrast between polyamorous and monogamous relationships but for me there is a larger issue.

I begin with the idea we already have the potential to love many people and many of us experience feelings of love before we develop our sexuality. For this reason I think we are already polyamorous in nature but as we develop further, it is ways of expressing our sexuality, which has been regulated, if not limited by social rules. Rules, for example, that expression of our sexuality has always been linked to our expression of love, or that the sexual expression of love must be limited to one person at a time.

The feeling that Freya has that "something just doesn’t feel right. . ."
is mine too. I believe our modern belief systems have not given us a good enough understanding of our emotions and that our "developed attitudes" and "built behaviours" are misguided because we continue to accept the validity of some major concepts in our Western Culture.

My experiences in polyamorous relationships both of the few difficult and the many rewarding kinds have led me to question critically my personal beliefs and I attempt to analyse my motivation.

° I have made long term commitments to each of my polyamorous lovers and yet each relationship defies any description of being exclusive in a monogamous sense.
° I believe that the love I have is within me and not shared or given out to those I know intimately, but its magnitude is expressed in a variety of different ways.
° Similarly the respect I have for my mother resides inside me and I am prepared to show it to all.
° I don't believe polyamoury is the key to all relationships but its practice has certainly highlighted inadequacies in my personality and my understanding of myself and others.

When I read Freya's words I sense a strong feeling of affinity to her way of thinking and if we were to get to know each other, I feel sure I would express my love for her exuberant personality. Regardless of such an opportunity, I hope she will forgive my frequent quotation of her words as a means to express my own nascent ideas.
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