"Polyamory Was Just a Distraction From My Failing Marriage"
It's a poly cliche: "Marriage in trouble? Add more people," followed by eyeroll. Here's a story that helps the cliche along, just up this afternoon in xoJane, a peppy online women's magazine.
Polyamory Was Just a Distraction From My Failing Marriage
It is much easier to ignore the hard work to be done in a marriage when you have someone else who can make you feel good.
By Kate S.
I have spent just over a year living and loving as someone who identified as polyamorous. After 14 years with the same man and nine years of marriage, I asked my partner if we could open up our relationship and I could date my best friend.
"It’ll strengthen us," I said. "It’ll fulfill desires we don’t meet for each other," I pleaded. "I love you and I love him, the human heart can experience boundless love and dedication to more than one person," I persisted.
I was full of crap.
At the time, and for months afterward, I truly felt that being poly would strengthen our communication, make us more honest and adventurous, and teach our children that love knows no bounds. What being poly really did was highlight how far apart we had grown, and how different our needs were.
...My husband and I did not just go wrong at practicing polyamory. We went wrong at being married; at identifying what we wanted as people and integrating that into a strong partnership. And how could we possibly work on healthy interdependence when we both had other new and exciting things to turn to?
Other poly people will tell you they keep the health of their relationship a primary goal, but I still contend that it is much easier to ignore the hard work to be done in a marriage when you have someone else who can make you feel good. I have come to realize that sustaining a long-term relationship with just one person is so time-and-energy-consuming that it's difficult to divide your attention from it. And if you want to turn your attention away from your initial relationship, maybe you don’t want to be there in the first place.
For me, this realization came about when my boyfriend started dating outside of his marriage and our relationship. I begged him not to, telling him me and the wife were plenty and why did he need more? I was jealous of women he was interested in and the first time he did physically interact with someone, I did not take it well.
...“Mom, why did you call him ‘sweetie,’ don’t you love Daddy?” Knife to the heart there, kiddo.
I had already run into so much prejudice and judgment as a polyamorous person that it was difficult to picture putting my children through that as they got older. I lost friends when they found out we were poly. I alienated family members. Most people view monogamy as the "right way" to stay connected and committed to someone. Would my children have to tell a schoolmate that is wrong? That what Mom and Dad do instead is perfectly acceptable and right? I don’t think the world is ready for that. Since poly is a choice, not an orientation like sexuality, I choose to protect my children from the judgment of society.
So now, I’m a monogamous woman and mother who’s about to get divorced and is sort of dating someone who is also about to get divorced after a trip to poly land. We still struggle with our relationship style and our future. It’s not ideal, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being poly.
Read the whole article (Sept. 24, 2014).