"We don’t have the language to reflect the diversity of connections we experience."
Following my last post, this morning another example popped up of how poly ideas and culture are catching attention as, sometimes, useful ways for other people to think about things too.
The New Statesman is a British weekly magazine of politics and culture that goes back 100 years. Originating in the Fabian Society, it has always been left of center.
Isn’t it time we admitted we’re all a bit polyamorous?
Monogamy is rare, no matter what we might tell ourselves. We need a new currency of commitment.
By Rosie Wilby
"We don’t have the language to reflect the diversity of connections we experience." (Photo: Getty)
...Human connections are the lifeblood and oxygen that aid our emotional survival. Even the most fleeting kindnesses and flirtations with strangers enhance our wellbeing. These brief moments of love feed our key relationships. Three and a half years in, my girlfriend and I might not always find it easy to generate huge sexual energy in a vacuum on our own. But if we go off into the world and connect, communicate, flirt with and enjoy other people, become energised by them and then come back together, our passion can still burn strongly. Other people act as our kindling. Love breeds love. It isn’t a finite resource that we need to hide away in the attic.
...It struck me that we don’t have the language to reflect the diversity and breadth of connections we experience. Why is sex the thing we tend to define a relationship by, when in fact it can be simple casual fun without a deep emotional transaction? Why do we say “just friends” when, for some of us, a friendship goes deeper? Can we define a new currency of commitment that celebrates and values this? Instead of having multiple confusing interpretations of the same word, could we have different words? What if we viewed our relationships as a pyramid structure with our primary partner at the top and a host of lovers, friends, spiritual soul mates, colleagues and acquaintances beneath that?
This isn’t a million miles away from the central ideas of polyamory – consensual multiple loving connections, some sexual, some not, in a myriad of combinations and hierarchies. It was a new word and world to me, yet when I interviewed a few polyamorous women (meetings had to be scheduled months ahead due to their ridiculously hectic romantic and social diaries) it struck me that they weren’t behaving so differently to anyone else I knew. Yet instead of shrouding some of their most intimate connections in secrecy as many of my “monogamous” friends have to, boundaries and priorities were honestly negotiated and declared.
Perhaps holding our hands up and owning the fact that we are all indeed a bit poly would be a solution to the growing problem of serial monogamy.... So, what if instead of serial relationships one after the other we had parallel ones running alongside one another? Would this improve the odds of some of our key partnerships lasting?...
Read the whole article (July 30, 2014).
Update August 1: The article was just reprinted in America on The New Republic's website, under the title You're More Polyamorous Than You Think.