Here, in the ‘Coming Out’ series of posts, I write on a different topic every time. Generally they will be stories of me coming to terms/coming out about various ‘taboo’ subjects. These posts are a blend of the personal and political, so stay with me!
So. I am polyamorous. This is a very new discovery. I’ve only realised this in the last couple of months.
Some misconceptions about polyamory.
1. I’M NOT A SWINGER.
Swingers have sex with other couples/partners in a non emotionally intimate way. Poly-amory literally means many-loves, and although my partner and I will ‘play’ with people we’re not emotionally attached to, that is not polyamory, and the people that we are polyamorous with mean something to us. I care about these people deeply. I offer, and receive from them, the same level of emotional support and care that I offer and receive in my relationship with my live-in partner. I am open to the potential of a live-in relationship with more than one other person.
2. IT IS NOT A CHOICE.
I like to call it ‘relationship orientation’. Like sexual orientation, it is not something that I’ve chosen. Like sexual orientation, it fluctuates and changes throughout my life. Many people would not be suited to intense emotional and romantic relationships with multiple partners. But to me, discovering that I am polyamorous is like coming home. I’ve always been a very tactile person and a very loving person, and always had an excess of love and loyalty to give. Having multiple partners allows me to give and receive as much love as I have always wanted to without holding back. It’s just right for me, in the same way is it feels right for me to be with both women and men.
Politically….polyamory is difficult. Simply put, society seems to view polyamory these days in a similar way to how it viewed homosexuality thirty years ago. We have no legal rights. Our marriages are illegal. Our practices are frowned on. Being in multiple relationships is regarded as cheating, when actually, central to polyamory is being open and honest with all partners about outside relationships.
My opinions of marriage have changed as well. I’ve suddenly been given new insight into how it feels to be outcast from society’s narrow ideas of what the main ‘acceptable’ idea of relationships are. And it makes me angry. Marriage doesn’t mean much to me, with its’ history of religious and ownership connotations. However, it means a lot to society, and having your relationship denied by society, when it’s a consensual loving relationship, is intolerable.
Coming out as polyamorous is harder than coming out as bisexual has been. I’m still not fully out because I know that judgement is rife against polyamorous relationships. Mainly because of misconceptions I think. Still, I’m not ashamed of who I want to love, and how I want to love, and whatever the reactions are to my lifestyle, I won’t be shamed out of what is the best expression of who and what I am.