"Moving In with Polyamorists"
Ruth Fowler, a British novelist and screenwriter living in southern California, tells the tale of when a poly group took her and her husband in from the street, and they saw poly culture up close.
Moving in with polyamorists
By Ruth Fowler
We were newly married when we came to live in their home — and realized how badly we were failing at love
Three things happened the year we lost our love. We got married, we went bankrupt and we moved into a house with a polyamorous family.
Bevan Von Weichardt via Shutterstock/Salon
...It would be easy to blame the cracks in a monogamous relationship on proximity to friends committed to loving more than one person. But just as gay marriage probably isn’t the reason for your divorce, polyamory wasn’t the reason for our problems. By then we’d been broke and bickering and living in a van for three months, the romanticism of our itinerant life frozen by a bitter Pacific winter....
We argued through Christmas and the van shuddered into the New Year, where it, like me, promptly collapsed. By February, at a loss about what to do, we moved the van into the backyard of our friends’ home. We became a newly married monogamous couple, living with a polyamorous family in their new home.
In the face of our distressed and suffering love, living with a family who had committed to loving more than one person was not challenging to our monogamy and commitment to each other; it was simply a depressing example that we were, both of us, malfunctioning beings incapable of any relationship that wasn’t incredibly painful.... Here we were, just two people, struggling to communicate and make it work, and yet we were living with a family of four who put daily, exhaustive effort into making their relationships with each other and their multiple other partners work....
So many misperceive polyamory as either “cheating” or free love — some strange kind of permissive, boundaryless no-man’s land.... In reality... it’s the polar opposite of “cheating” — it involves an incredible amount of introspection, self study and communication skills. And free love? Love is never free....
The man and I would watch and feel quietly ashamed that our efforts to communicate were shrill, giddy, high-pitched and panicked, that unlike the hours of calm, often emotional, discussion which our friends patiently devoted to their love, we tried to plaster over the cracks of our pain with mutually silent pleasure: the joy of eating sushi without resorting to crying, the achievement in watching a movie together without hurting the other, getting through an entire day without a personal Chernobyl....
Read on (Nov. 3, 2013).