You know, I want to start out by pointing out that I don’t connect to many people (ever), so to those that I do, I look at each special piece they bring into my life without comparing against other people in my life. I guess in some ways my relationship history could be described as one long stretch of “Relationship Anarchy”
When I look back at my relationships, a large portion of them would be considered monogamous, open, or friends with benefits. I have also had a true poly relationship (e.g. Polygyny). But no matter what the ‘relationship box’ I’ve checked was, I’ve always held a space of love, respect, and honesty for the few people I do choose to get close to – with or without the relationship aspect.
There are many different flavors of poly (polygamy, polygyny, polyandry, polyamory, poly-hearted), but they all conform to the same principle guidelines.
What I’ve noticed in a retrospective of my relationships (no matter the form) is that:
- My increase in love for a person isn’t conditional upon a decrease in my love for another.
- Love, care, and commitment doesn’t have to be sexual.
- I don’t switch partners easily.
- I may add more people that I care about, but you have to really screw up for me to stop loving you.
It is that last way that I have come to think of myself as a form of poly-hearted – a term I learned to understand and appreciate through my time spent with B_V, whom I still love dearly.
Poly relationships requires the following things. They are commonly called the Pillars of Poly:
- To thine own self be true
- Be free to be yourself and make your decisions
- Be forthright and willing to share
- Firm belief in ones truthfulness, intentions, and abilities
- Gender Equality
- Same rules for all who are involved – some lifestyles variate these rules – but with agreement by all parties
- Speaking the truth and sharing thoughts, desires, emotions, concerns
- Open Communication
- Do not be afraid to speak, share, and LISTEN
- “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was. We do not possess anything in this world, least of all other people. We only imagine that we do. Our friends, our lovers, our spouses, even our children are not ours; they belong only to themselves. Possessive and controlling friendships and relationships can be as harmful as neglect.”
- No cheating duh
- Accepting of Self Determination
- Everyone is different in their goals, ideals, wants and needs
- Sex/Sensual Positive
- Communicating needs/wants, accepting, understanding
- Non jealousy, but more so: The feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy. – being happy for and encouraging each others joy and euphoria
Did you notice that in a lot of ways it is very similar to a healthy monogamous relationship checklist? I think that perhaps it’s a good checklist and Pillar system no matter what you define yourself or your relationship as.
As I end this, I want to share one final thought:
Lately, I’ve seen the term poly get thrown around rather easily, without thought as to what that means, with disregard and disrespect towards the pillars, and other partners. It is insulting to those who are poly. I’ve seen it used as an umbrella to promote promiscuous, underhanded shady activities – even seen the term poly-saturated used as a cute way to express the statement of having “too many partners.”
That’s not poly-saturated, that’s a slut. There’s nothing wrong with being that: – just own the choice, communicate, be honest and true about who you are – and to yourself, and you will find people are way more likely to appreciate you for who you are.
12 Pillars Article