Is Polyamory Just Plain Weird?

My partner and I just returned from the airport.  We picked up my partner’s lover who just arrived on a red-eye from California.  We had a lovely breakfast and walk on the beach. They have not seen each other in 5 months. When we arrived home they quickly made their way to the bedroom.  They are making love in our bed as I write my blog. Sounds of pleasure emanate throughout the house.  I am happy they are enjoying each other.

David and I were just at a 6 day naturist gathering in West Palm Beach.  People from all over the country attended.  We did several presentations on the subject of polyamory.  For many, it was really the first time they’d been exposed to concepts like “ethical non-monogamy” and “compersion.”  They could understand the benefits of honesty in relationship as compared to “cheating.”  Generally cheating is much more acceptable to the masses than open relationship since it’s a familiar and known dynamic within the “monogamy paradigm.” When I happened to mention that my partner’s lover was arriving soon to stay with us, they were all speechless for a moment and then flooded us with questions. “Where are you going to sleep?” “What are you going to do while they’re together?” “Are you really okay with this?”  And finally the drawn conclusion of these people that choose to be naked wherever and whenever they can be was  ”that’s just plain weird!”

Then there’s our circle of friends most of whom have traveled the world, lived various alternative lifestyles, and searched the guru circuit and the depths of their souls to find enlightenment.  They are accepting enough when we talk of our poly lifestyle with their “live and let live” philosophy. But when I told them I’d like them to meet David’s lover while she’s here, they looked at each other, rolled their multiple pairs of eyes and mumbled, “that’s just plain weird.”

My friend Miriam has been married and divorced 5 times.  She is still sure she is going to meet “Mr. Right.”  She is the most shocked by our multiple lovers.  She is a “serial monogamist.”  She has multiple lovers, just not all at the same time.

One friend insisted that I was mentioning our upcoming guest “a little too much.”  I was really worried, sad, angry and/or confused in his eyes.  All I was aware of was excitement.  I really like my lover’s lover.  I consider her my friend.  She is intelligent, witty, interesting, considerate and communicative.  Of course I’m excited!  We all get to spend some quality time together.

It seems that everybody has ideas of what’s normal and acceptable.  Polyamorists believe loving more than one person is normal. Some believe it is our very nature and that is why there are so many problems in  monogamous relationships.  To me, it’s one of many valid forms of relating that works well for me. I love my freedom. I respect my partner’s freedom. In the words of  the Zen master Osho, “love is authentic only when it gives freedom.” (The Hidden Splendor #23)

How do you feel about freedom in relationship? Jealousy? Compersion? Love?

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5 Responses to Is Polyamory Just Plain Weird?

  1. Karl says:

    I’ve enjoyed this blog. My wife and I have been married for 17 years (almost 18), we dabbled in swinging about 4 years ago. During that time period we met a couple we’ve been fluid bonded to since Dec of 2010. It’s interesting to read your posts because many of these issues we dealt with as we all developed our relationships within this quad. All four in the relationship are straight, the four of us don’t live together though we alternate weekend evenings at one another’s homes. The issues of jealousy, control, learning to love each other unconditionally, compersion, discussions about outside possible sexual relationships. We’ve done it all.

    I told one of my swinger friends that, YES, I’d do it all over again. But it is not easy if you are not mentally or emotionally mature. It takes some pretty serious introspection and communication to stay in this type of relationship. It can be distracting, nerve reacting, but then blissful, peaceful, and over powering. No, it’s not something I would recommend to everyone, but for some reason it works for us.

    My girlfriend hates to call us poly, when she thinks of poly peeps, she thinks of granola, hippie communes. I’ve frequented poly sites and may be it does attract those who do not fill societies definition of normal, but I also wonder how many like myself and my group are living our lives quietly, no one to the wiser.

    I may just write a blog again, I did it within swinging. But poly relationships are just like any relationship, it’s personal if not sacred. I know my partners are private and would not appreciate any details of our lives being broadcast to the world. But I certainly believe talking about issues we all face are important. Thanks Polywoman
    for sharing your own experiences.

    • Naima says:

      Hi Karl, Thanks for writing and sharing your poly arrangement. I do encourage you to blog. Since there has been a reality show showing various poly situations, the interest in polyamory has exploded. However people who are new to the lifestyle have many pitfalls in front of them and people like you who have navigated many of these can be very helpful. I think that “poly peeps” are from all the strata of society. In my experience I have met intelligent people who do not accept the dictates of society and choose their path based on their individual experiences and leanings. You say “poly relationships are just like any relationship” and I agree with you. There are many rituals and ways of announcing to your friends and family the progression of a “monogamous relationship” i.e. going steady, engagement, marriage and anniverseries. However, in long-term poly relationships, often friends and family are oblivious of a significant love partner. I know many people keep their poly relationship quiet because of work-related or family-related issues, but it is exactly this situation that needs changing. It is important for people who have loving poly relationships to come forward and let others know this is possible. I want to live in a society where love is celebrated in its many forms which emanate from a place of freedom and in which we are not forced to hide the fact that we love more than one. Blogging is a way to do this and not compromise the desire for privacy that the others desire. Please let me know if you decide to do it so I can tune in.

  2. Brandon says:

    It is only weird if one makes it to be that way. Most of the world’s people were conditioned since birth to be monogamous or else something bad may happen.

    I am in a marriage and my wife and I mutually agreed for it to be open. We get along so well at that, too. We have yet to have a first poly situation of any kind, yet. Heh heh. I can be shy often.

    Don’t let society make you and your lovers feel like outcasts. Humans are biologically set up to naturally be poly anyway. Keep happy! :D

  3. David4Peace says:

    As your lover’s primary lover, thanks for this post, Naima. I agree with your assessment of her and am glad you and David and she get along so well.

  4. Keith says:

    It is the loving thing to do. I am definitely someone who feels compersion, but then I’m the kind of person who would often rather give pleasure to my partner than receive. Giving pleasure brings me pleasure. I can understand, however, that some people are uncomfortable talking/hearing about it, even some poly people. Some people just don’t like to talk about these things with people they have no plans to experience them with (some don’t even want to talk or hear about monogamous lovemaking), and other people are prejudiced against polyamory or poly people and don’t want to hear about it because of that reason. But others are eager to hear more, or supportive, even if not poly themselves. There’s much variety in humanity, and variety is one reason there is polyamory to begin with.

    Good post.

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