This comment was made in a support group in which I offer advice. It’s not the first time someone has said it and it won’t be the last! I’ve said it MANY times myself. This polyamory sh*t IS hard!
Consensual non-monogamy REALLY isn’t for the faint of heart.
It asks us to be more SELF AWARE; to learn about our insecurities and how to manage our emotional reactions.
It asks us to make and honour boundaries; to communicate them clearly and with compassion, and to be firm in them when we need to be.
It asks us to be transparent with ourselves and others. It asks us to see love as infinite and tests all we’ve been taught about what love is and isn’t.
It asks us to be the BEST partner we can be, even when we are struggling ourselves.
Yes, it is hard.
But when I think about it, it is SOOOO much better for me than my previous monogamous versions of relationships in which little or no self reflection or work was demanded of me or my partner. In which we showed up for one another, not because we WANTED to… but because we felt we HAD to. In which my partner felt he had a sense of ownership over me and my body, and vice versa. In which “You’re Mine” was a Valentine.
I was programmed to be monogamous, despite my inner yearnings…so I had to repress all of those feelings and needs. I became half conscious, filled to overflowing with unrealistic and impractical assumptions, unmeetable expectations and enormous and repeated disappointments – in myself as well as my partners.
I relied heavily on fairy tales, novels, movies and song lyrics to tell me what I should be feeling, thinking, desiring, needing and fearing. You know the ones…relentless pursuit despite someone’s rejection ends in WINNING, or stalking is a form of LOVE, or unless you NEVER think of/are attracted to/desire someone else it isn’t TRUE love.
My role models were steeped in toxic behaviours like lying and cheating, desiring and repressing, staying small and becoming what’s expected. So called “monogamous” couples abounded that had SECRET emotional and sexual affairs. And who righteously condemned those who chose non-monogamy.
I fumbled forward looking for something I was TOLD I wanted and needed, and I believed what I was told, blindly.
But I was wrong.
What I actually needed was a sense of AUTONOMY and freedom. A sense of self. You know when people say they LOSE themselves in relationships? It’s because of a lack of boundaries. And usually a lack of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. I needed to take the reigns back on my life. I needed to own who I AM, challenge my toxic beliefs and behaviours and change them, and advocate for my needs, wants and desires.
I needed to love someone WITHOUT controlling them. I needed to be loved without BEING controlled. I needed to stop believing control equates to love.
I needed to be afraid and witness my beloved to do as they desired ANYWAY. To show up for me when they TRULY wanted to and HOW they truly wanted to.
I needed to look myself in the mirror and change my habitual thinking, my judgement, my black and white notions of “right” and “wrong”. I needed to question everything I’d been spoon-fed about love and it’s limits. What if love is LIMITLESS? What if what I want is not only POSSIBLE but GOOD for me?
I needed to EXPAND not contract.
To CONNECT not protect.
To live lovingly and openly NOT fearfully.
I needed to trust that no matter what I will be okay because I have my own back and I do NOT need a partner, nor do they need me … I CHOOSE my partners and they choose me.
And yes, you can do this in monogamy too. But for some reason, when we can no longer lean on the foundational principal that your intimacy is ONLY for ME, that I am your ONLY source of romantic love and sexual connection… it pushes us to become more aware, more conscious, suddenly very awake…as if we got up from an uncomfortable bed in a one room cabin, opened the door and jumped into a sunbaked lake we hadn’t seen before.
And how I LOVE to float in that lake! Just make sure you know how to swim before you dive in.
#polyamory, #polyamorous, #ethicalnonmonogamy, #autonomy, #relationshipadvice, #openrelationships, #consensualnonmonogamy