I was chatting with one of my polyamorous friends the other day, when a familiar theme arose: How much pressure there is to be appear perfect at all times when you’re polyamorous.
“If you’re having any trouble, people automatically point to the polyamory. They say ‘aha, that’s what it is,'” my friend said. “Even if your trouble has nothing to do with relationships, let alone the fact that you and the ones you love are having multiple.”
I nodded. “I get that a lot writing in public.” It’s especially true in my case because I’ve written some very honest things that share the ugly bits along with the pretty ones. “I set out saying the things I didn’t hear anyone else say but that I had surely lived as a polyamorous person. And I was very quickly met with the reasons that other people don’t say it.”
“Because you get a lot of grief when you talk about it?” my friend said.
“Because you get a lot of grief when you talk about it,” I replied. “A lot of ‘you’re making us look bad.’ And I get it. I do. Because people who don’t understand polyamory really are on the hunt for reasons why it’s a terrible idea. But I was never writing for them. I was writing for the people who were living through the tough times and wondering if it was only them experiencing it. If they were defective somehow.”
“I know,” my friend said. “And I’m glad you did. Someone had to. It’s really easy to get into this mindset that you have to be freaking perfect to be polyamorous. Because everyone’s so afraid of making polyamory look bad.”
“Yeah,” I said, “when the reality is that you don’t have to be special or enlightened to live a happy polyamorous life. You just have to do your best. And most importantly, when opportunities for growth come up, run towards them instead of away. Being successful at polyamory really is about choosing the hard thing that helps you grow.”
“Over and over,” my friend agreed.
“Over and over,” I replied.