"What It’s Like to Be a Polyamorous Genius"
|(That's not him, just some illo.)|
Leon Feingold, co-founder of Open Love NY, made New York Magazine's list of the city's ten interesting outlier people featured on the cover of the February 23rd issue. The hook is his extreme IQ, but his poly life, and high-end social skills after a dorky childhood, are also a source of the magazine's fascination. The collection is called "Life on the Margins of Experience." A segment from the long (4,000-word) interview:
...Also, I’m polyamorous and I think that has a lot to do with my low threshold for boredom. I think responsible non-monogamy has an amazing benefit, because one person can’t meet all your needs, or if that person exists, I haven’t met her.
When did you discover polyamory?
About eight years ago, I met a girl on OkCupid who described herself as polyamorous. I didn’t know what it was. She explained it and I was mind-blown. I was like, How can I not know that this exists?
...Everyone I was dating had something to offer. Some were gorgeous. Some were smart. Some were fun. Some were really intriguing. Some liked to go to certain parties. So seeing so many people triggered so many parts of my brain and I was really happy with it.... I have about 30 things that are important to me, and if any one of them wasn’t met, I would get antsy.
How does it work in a practical sense?
The model that works for me is a girlfriend, and I have a lot of friends who I may have sex with. A girlfriend is somebody who is the highest priority, someone I spend the bulk of my time with. When I’m in a relationship, that slot of “primary” is not available and if someone else I’m attracted to is comfortable with that, then we will pursue something. Free love only works if everyone is on the same page and comfortable and happy with it.
...There’s a saying in the non-monogamy world, which is to be successful you should date your own species. If you’re monogamous, date someone who is monogamous; if you’re non-monogamous, date someone non-monogamous. But trying to mix and match is a recipe for disaster. So far, we are trying. I do love her, but we all know that love is not what makes a relationship work.
Is intelligence the main thing you look for in a partner?
My dream has always been to marry someone who is smarter than I am. I want to be challenged and I want to be with someone who teaches me things.
Does that mean you believe in marriage? And if you were married, would you continue a polyamorous lifestyle?
Yes. I would love to get married and start a family. I can’t imagine I would ever be not poly and I can’t imagine I would ever be with a long-term partner who would expect that of me.
...You don’t want to challenge the idea that you should be married to have kids?
I wouldn’t want my kids to feel like outcasts. I was an outcast growing up and sure, it made me stronger, but I don’t know what I would answer to a kid who wondered why I wasn’t married to their mother.
...Would you feel like they might feel like outsiders if their friends found out that their dad was polyamorous, or would you keep this from them?
I'd love to raise kids without the traditional shame associated with being sex-positive — talking about sex or relationships should be as simple as talking about how their day was at school. My concern is more with the perception of others, which is probably the biggest problem for poly families. The structure itself works, but they catch a lot of flak from society. It's sad, and while I personally don't mind being a lightning rod for criticism from small-minded people, I'm not sure I'd want to subject my kids to that before they know enough to understand it themselves. Hopefully, by the time I have to think about it, poly will have gained enough widespread acceptance that I'll be able to worry about real parenting issues, like raising awesome kids who make the world a better place....
Read the whole interview (online Feb. 24, 2015).
Labels: New York