“Polyamory?” I’m sometimes asked. “Isn’t that a lot of hard work?”
And the poly honor student answer goes a little something like this: “Of course it is! But it’s well worth the effort.”
But I’m not much of an honor student. And the truth is? The way I’ve learned to approach polyamory, it’s as comfortable as a pair of yoga pants.
For me, the upside of polyamory has always been as much about having the freedom and autonomy to explore potential new relationships as actually having the relationships themselves.
I’m by and large not a person obsessed with finding new partners. Sealing the deal. Filling up my dance card.
True, I’ve done a little online dating (focusing on those who identified as polyamorous or in open relationships). But my natural instinct was just to tell friends (old and new) that I’m polyamorous. Back when I started down this road 8 years ago, I usually had to explain polyamory to them. Usually that went well, sometimes not so much. But I didn’t push. And I tried my best not to preach the Gospel of Poly. And simply by coming out to just a few people, I’ve been able to explore relationships that probably would have remained friendships if others had assumed that being in another relationship rendered me off limits.
Eventually, as I was introduced to the kink scene by a girl I met online, I found an even wider social community of folks who were very frequently in open relationships. And the ones who were monogamous were at least poly-aware and had folded in a lot of what I loved and found exciting about polyamory: an embrace of non-traditional values, a thirst for adventure, a focus on consent, and a commitment to not taking “truths” surrounding relationships for granted, as “givens.”
They acknowledged the reality that relationships are custom jobs. Because it’s harder to kid yourself that there’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct relationships when you’re in an alternative one — and blissfully coloring outside of the lines.
The Yoga Pants of Love
A big key for me has been focusing less on results and where things will lead and more on enjoying the process. Exploring, but not conquering. Letting things that want to be a question mark stay that way. And accepting the answers if and when they arrive.
Now, everything in life has its uncomfortable moments. Sometimes I have a difficult moment or two, but even a pair of comfy pants can get a vicious knot in the drawstring. Or itch you with a petulant care tag.
And now that I’ve gone through the hardest part, figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t? Well, polyamory is largely something comfortable. I slip into it easily now. It fits me.