“Wait, Are You Saying that Everyone Has to Be Polyamorous?”

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Umm… I read your article from August 5, and I’m super confused. Are you saying that everyone has to be polyamorous?

*

For more information about that post, feel free to read it. The quick and dirty summary is that I answer a question I get a lot: “Can you learn to be polyamorous?” And to quote from the article, I think what people really want to know when they ask “can you learn to be polyamorous?” is this:

“Can you learn to thrive in polyamorous relationship systems if polyamory isn’t natural for you?”

And the answer to that is — a resounding yes. But only if you’re someone who has the right attitude. And that mostly hinges around whether you believe you can learn anything.

This Doesn’t Mean I Think Everyone Has to Be Polyamorous

Does this mean I think that everyone has to be polyamorous? No. Just because you can do something (and in that article I’m careful to say that whether you can depends on your attitude surrounding learning), it doesn’t mean you have to do it — or even that you should.

The reality is that the ability to do something and the desire to do it are two different things. Can you do something is not the same question as do you want to do it?

I’m not about to say that people have to learn to do things that they don’t want to do. I can think of numerous things I could learn to do that I don’t want to learn to do — and that I’m not going to learn to do.

I was kind of confused when I got this reader question… because it seems like a giant leap to me — “can” to “have to.”

But I think we can learn a lot about why it’s easy for folks to go there. I think it’s related to why the “it’s a choice” versus “born this way” dichotomy is such a fraught area of debate for people in many dimensions. Where for me, I often find myself thinking, “Okay, but something being a choice doesn’t invalidate it or make it automatically wrong, so I’m confused by the heat of this argument.”

*

Have a question about a post? Maybe need some advice about a relationship or situation? Write me. I love getting messages from you.

Your letter and my answer might be featured in Advice Friend. I regularly change identifying details and/or completely rewrite letters to preserve anonymity.

Featured Image: CC BY – Jurgen Appelo