partner. He explained to her that he was exploring the poly lifestyle and wanted to be open and honest. She appreciated his honesty and they all began to build. Their other partner, Joanna*, wasn’t interested in legal marriage, but embraced the polyamory as they did. Ann-Marie lives with her husband and Joanna lives in an apartment in the building across the street. They spend a lot of time together and they make it work for them. Joanna occasionally dates outside of their triad, but for the most part, it’s the three of them in their unit—and according to Ann Marie, they’re all happy with the arrangement. (None of them have children, which one would imagine makes things less complicated.)
At what point do we begin to accept that people have the right to choose the relationship dynamics that work best for them? We might not understand why people do what they do or even agree with it, but that doesn’t give us the right to be overly judgmental and insult or ostracize people when they’re not breaking any laws or hurting anyone.
I don’t condone “settling” for a poly lifestyle; if you don’t want to share your significant other, then stick with that and make it very clear early on. Don’t feel you have to agree to one to keep your partner. That simply isn’t healthy.
Polyamory is still pretty much a fringe lifestyle that continues to be condemned as immoral, so it can be difficult to find others who are into the same lifestyle. However, there are some resources online that can help those interested in learning more or possibly exploring their options. The most important thing is that you figure out what you want and are open to (and remain honest with) potential partners, even if it means losing out on a few good people. We don’t all have the same relationship goals, and if polyamory is yours, it’s best you let those interested know early on. You might just find someone who’s into it like you are just by being honest.
Feminista Jones is a sex-positive Black feminist, social worker and blogger from New York City. She writes about gender, race, politics, mental health and sexuality at FeministaJones.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FeministaJones.