polyculeImagine now a case where you are starting to feel strongly and deeply for another. You discover that they are having feelings for you as well. Instead of starting an affair, you approach your current partner and bring up the subject of polyamory. If the two of you agree to try the lifestyle, there is no cheating (Because you have permission) and there is no lying (because the other partner knows about it). However, there are two dangers to approaching your partner to try it. One is your other partner is absolutely against it and you either have to lie and cheat to have an affair to pursue your desire or the other partner even decides to leave your relationship. There is a huge risk in trying to get your partner to be open to a poly relationship. Both of you must come from that discussion feeling that you can still trust each other for either a monogamous relationship to continue or a poly one to start.

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The other danger is now that you are free to date another, so is your partner. I have seen quite a few (mostly men) who convince their partner to try the lifestyle only to find that they cannot handle the thought of their partner with another. The insecurity leads to panic and if not resolved, can lead to their breakup.

But, for every reason to be careful or cautious about this lifestyle, there can be just as many reasons to consider it. If any relationship partners connect and become one or a team with the same focus, they are stronger together than apart. This works for the average couple. It can also work for the average triad. It just takes longer and is harder to attain.

There is much more to polyamory than just this brief introduction. That is why it is called 101. It is a start. There are the previously mentioned poly terms BDSM or unicorn along with NRE or closed poly and fluid bound. You will notice my icon on top of being a parrot. The parrot is the symbol of polyamory as in “Poly want a cracker?” Get it? So, if you see a parrot, it might not mean a pirate. Or it could mean both if you think about it.

To paraphrase Jimmy Buffet, “Yes, I am a parrot”. I first entered a three-person polyamorous relationship back in 1999. First heard the word in 2001. One partner recently left the relationship two years ago after 16 years of the three of us together which is longer than some marriages. We are currently enjoying the company of a new third poly person. At times, we even had a fourth. Poly is self-defining and ever-changing.

The final thought to consider: I have seen a few monogamous couples point their fingers and decry sin or it is another way of cheating or swinging. I have also seen a few poly people point their fingers at monogamous couples and call them backward or too insecure. Neither side is right. The truth is that monogamy and polyamory are just different choices. Neither one is better than the other. Each person gets to decide for themselves what works best for them. To accuse the other side of being wrong is no different than claiming one religion over another. Another skin color over another. A different gender identity over another. None of these are wrong. And we are lucky if we live in a world that allows us to choose. A world that allows us to define ourselves without hate from another. That is what poly is all about. Loving more than one.

photo credit: theslowlane The banner via photopin (license)

photo credit: theslowlane I was invited to march with the Vancouver Polyamory group in the 2011 pride parade via photopin (license)

photo credit: theslowlane Not necessarily just being attracted to one person via photopin (license)