Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.
One of the reasons I got involved with the Poly Means Many project was because it had helped me and my partners, and my partners partner, as we got started in our poly relationships. On my part I had a reasonable idea of how things would work but I’ll own up and admit that I had some misconceptions of my own.
When this topic came up for discussion I started to revisit those to see just how much I’d learned. It’ll be no surprise to hear that I’ve learnt a lot. There are some misconceptions that I had, but the first thing I learned was that there isn’t a ‘right’ way to do poly, you find what works for the people in the relationship and work at it as all the relationships change.
Actually, when this topic came up for discussion Kirsty suggested it would be a good way to set up a poly bingo card and so I started to collate some ideas only find out it’s been done already.
The bingo card isn’t a bad starting place though as it does cover a lot of the misconceptions that I’ve experienced; Are you afraid of commitment? You must have loads of sex! Ohh so you are swingers?
It is probably fair to say that a lot of the misconceptions I’ve heard and experienced are centred around sexual activities, or at least what people think might happen in an ‘alternative’ relationship system. The thing is I don’t mind people being ill-informed if they are open-minded enough to learn, so a lot of the comments I hear I’m happy to take a little bit of time to try and help whoever made them be a little better educated. That can drag me into longer and deeper conversations but as our relationships are built on honesty and trust, and no small amount of communication, I tend to focus on that to explain how our poly setup works.
Unfortunately not everyone is open minded.
Kirsty was on the receiving end of some nasty comments when someone found out she was in an open relationship. He called her a slut among other things. Still make me angry, even typing that. How dare he! I can only presume that statement is built on many misconceptions and assumptions. Horrid.
Thankfully aside from that, the four of us haven’t had too many negative reactions, certainly nothing as strong and ill-informed as that. Most of the questions are fairly standard and certainly seem to be driven by the curiosity of something new.
Let’s play Poly Misconception Bingo!
Are you Mormon?
No, and you are thinking of polygamy (plural marriage).
Are you afraid of commitment?
Quite the opposite, I am very committed to my relationships and worked hard at both of them.
How do you have time for all that?
It’s not always easy but try and keep a balance that suits everyone, we probably schedule things a little more than those in monogamous relationships.
Where do you all sleep?
We don’t live together, so … in our own beds? Why do you think we all live together?
Don’t worry. You’ll find the one someday.
I did. Then I ‘found’ another one. I’m very lucky. I also believe that I can be in love with more than one person at a time.
What happens when you say the wrong name in bed?
Depends. Mostly you get teased or called an idiot. We are all adults and know that these things can happen.
What about diseases?
A sensible level of testing and precaution is needed and understood by all of us. It’s the same level I’d imagine most sensible single people take.
When are you going to pick one?
Because I don’t need to, we believe that it’s possible to share your love and life with multiple partners.
Were your parents like that?
No they weren’t. They also don’t have tattoos, they’ve never been to Africa, and I’m about a foot taller than both of them. They might have been if they’d had the chance but I think society is more accepting of alternative lifestyles these days (still not as accepting as I’d like). I was brought up to be kind, caring, and open-minded though so yes, my parents probably played a part.
Do you every get tired of having sex all the time?
Yes. Sex is RUBBISH isn’t it… Seriously though, the relationships aren’t about sex, they are about being a relationship, companionship, shared interests, all that good stuff. I just have the opportunity to have sex with two different people on a regular basis.
I could never do that.
It’s not for everyone for sure, a lot of people are very happily monogamous. I was for a long time too.
Marriage is between one man and one woman.
Actually it can be two men, or two women these days. Governments are still trying to get their head around any further possible gender assignations though (they need to sort that stuff out).
You just sleep around, then.
Nope, I have two partners. I don’t go out looking for one night stands, not that that is a bad thing either, as long as you are upfront and honest about it. Adults are allowed to have sex.
Isn’t that cheating?
Definitely not. Honesty is a massive part of polyamory, both my partners know each other and know that they are my partners, same for Kirsty’s partner Mark.
Oh! So you’re swingers!
Nope. We just have a set of interconnected relationships.
Which one is your favorite?
Well that depends, one is my favourite girl with dyed red hair, the other is my favourite girl with dyed purple hair. Or, I love them both very much, they are both my favourite person to hang out with.
You people must never have body issues.
I can’t even… wow. We do. Trust us. We do.
Will you have a threesome with me and my partner?
Depends, send me some photos…
What about the children?
That’s illegal!! Ohhh.. you mean poly families with children? No idea as we don’t have any, try Red Peril’s blog.
So you aren’t satisfied with just one person?
Yes I am, very. But I believe my life is richer with more love in it.
I wish I could do that!
You can. It’s not easy, and it might be painful to get to a position in your life where it could be an option. Try reading some of the posts on www.polymeansmany.com for some further thoughts.
What will happen when you want to settle down?
What do you mean by settle down? Today I am in two relationships and have been for over 10 months. We are pretty settled thanks.
If my wife slept with another woman, that would be okay, but definitely not another man.
I think you have your own issues to deal with before you worry about any you think I might have…
Don’t you get jealous?
No. Envious yes, but there is a distinct difference between being jealous and envious. Don’t get me wrong, there were jealous thoughts in the beginning so if you are going to try this be aware of that, but we got through those with some talking and a lot of cuddles.
And there’s something that rarely figures in any discussion about poly relationships, do you realise how many more cuddles there are to be had? And more cuddles is never a bad thing!