Polyamory for Misanthropes: No Kumbaya? No Problem

a black and white picture of 2 bongos, shot fairly close up
Image by Glen Edelson / CC BY

“Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you…The twenty-five percent is for error.”

-Linus Pauling

*

“I guess that’s what’s making me sick about polyamory. The idea that I need to love everyone,” she says.

I frown. “Who told you that you need to love everyone?”

“Really?” she says. “And from you of all people.”

“From me?” I say. “Hold up. What exactly are you talking about?”

You Have to Fall in Love with Metamours,” she says. “Does that ring a bell?”

“It does. But even in that piece, I did say that you’re not going to be best friends with everyone. And that you may not even like some of your metamours.”

“So what’s the point then?” she asks.

“That you try to get along. And not always view them as potential negative but as a potential positive.”

“So it’s less about actually getting along and more about wanting to?” she says.

“Yes. Although I find that one tends to lead to the other,” I say.

“Oh?”

“You can’t guarantee that you’ll get along with any one person. Maybe your values will conflict. Maybe you’ll find them annoying. Or maybe they won’t presume positivity towards you. And assume you’re up to something because of their own baggage. But you definitely increase your chances of getting along by starting there. By wanting to. Being the first person to trust. No kumbaya required.”

“Ah yes,” she says. “Be the bigger person.”

“Sure,” I say. “If it helps to think of it that way. Except not in the adversarial way. You know the sort of thing I’m talking about. ‘Well, I’ll show her. I’ll be the bigger person here.'”

She nods. “Bigger people don’t feel a need to broadcast it. I’ve always taken issue with that.”

“Yes, but I say you can be a little self-congratulatory in your own head, if you need to be. That’s sort of a victimless crime.”

She laughs. “Fair enough.”

“Feel better?” I ask.

“Yes,” she replies. “I suppose this means I can put the bongos and the hackysack in storage. Stop worrying about the lesser known verses of Kumbaya. Without feeling like a terrible poly person.”

I nod. “It does.”

*

My book is out!

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory

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