I recently stumbled across a piece by Heina Dadabhoy called “Polyamory: What No One Warned Me About.” As Dadabhoy writes:
Polyamory makes it worse in that the usual rationalizations for getting dumped don’t work when you were poly with the person and they remain poly after the break-up.
“They left me so they could date someone prettier/smarter/easier/better than me”? No, they didn’t have you dump you to do that.
“They left me because they couldn’t see a long-term future with me by their side”? No, you were never going to be the only person at their side and you were both happy with that.
“They left me to explore their submissive/dominant/gay/straight side?” No, you would have encouraged such exploration, if anything.
No, what it comes down to is you. When you’re dating someone who is free to date others, the reason you have for them dumping you, the reason behind all break-ups, stands stark and free of all those cozy rationalizations: They don’t want to be with you anymore.
“It’s Complicated” Makes Things More Simple
And the author is right. There are fewer easy excuses in polyamory for why something works out or doesn’t. There are fewer places to hide. “It’s complicated” makes it all more simple: They either want to date you or they don’t.
The Simple Dishes Are the Hardest to Cook
In some ways, polyamory is a lot like when you’re cooking a very simple dish.
For years, I cooked only complicated dishes. Many layers. Lots of spices. Because of this tendency, there’s nothing I can’t curry.
But it’s only recently that I mastered cooking a thick cut pork chop. Getting the doneness and the seasoning just right (FYI, this method worked well).
Paradoxically, it is often the simplest dishes that take the most skill to perfect. They require finesse. A sense of balance. And yes, there’s nowhere to hide.
If you mess up? You can’t blame the recipe. It was you.
But when you really nail it? There’s nothing more gratifying. If you can elevate a simple dish solely by executing it perfectly, then you know you’ve got it.
Reading Dadabhoy’s piece, I was reminded of this: When you get rid of all of those excuses why it wouldn’t work, when you give someone every opportunity to pursue others (and yes, to potentially replace you), and they don’t?
It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. To know that your partner actively chooses to be with you.
Because it doesn’t just apply to rejection but acceptance as well. “It’s complicated” makes everything simple. There’s nowhere to hide. And they actually want to be with you.