I have intentionally not written much on this topic because about a year ago I went and posted a bunch of links and good info from other sites. There are so many aspects to look at and perspectives to consider that it is all just too much for me to even attempt.
However, Nathan suggested that I write at least once on my experiences and opinions on the matter. So, I’m taking his advice.
First and foremost Polyamory is many loves, a plural relationship based in a foundation of love.
From the view of a successful balanced poly family, I’ve not had much luck, at least in maintaining such a plural commitment. However, I have had lots of fine tuning and reevaluating, which Abraham says is always a good thing. I’m going to agree.
Nathan and I used to be, what gets labeled “Unicorn Hunters” by more forceful poly opinions. We were ‘significant-others’ seeking a single bisexual female to balance my bisexuality. After several failed attempts to find our good fit, we relaxed into accepting that our perfect woman might come attached to another person. It might also happen that we find several people to meet both mine and Nathan’s needs and desires.
Our hesitation with accepting the concept of multiples, initially was brought on mainly by fearful thoughts of: how do you get multiple adults on the same page and keep them in agreement and in cooperation. Especially regarding children in the family, rules of behavior, setting expectations, and even logistics of cleaning and cooking. However, at this point in our marriage we have come to the conclusion that those are challenges any relationship faces regardless if there are 2 or 12 people. We also now have lots of experience dealing with each other and multiple attempts at significant-other additions. We’ve also come to conclusions that some things are easier if approached like companies handle staffing: creating schedules and assignments of tasks, which can always be adjusted and changed as needed.
So at this point we’re much more open to alternate options and arrangements for our family structure, and have a better grasp of the interpersonal needs that entails. Our main goal now is that a variety of needs and desires are met, and that all adults act like adults and remain considerate of the family as a whole when making significant decisions. If those decisions are likely to impact the family in a huge way (move, replace belongings, or decisions regarding educational or medical concerns) then the family should be consulted with a proposal before final decisions are made.
Informed consent is a mainstay of poly whether it’s in regards to sex, reproduction, or any familial life event. Furthermore, informed consent requires a certain level of communication skills. You may have a great idea, but if you can’t make your case well to those involved it’s likely to fall flat.
So those elements have become our biggest priorities.
Beyond that, previous relationships ended due to factors involving but not limited to: personality clashes, instability due to processing previous traumas, and a lack of commitment by one or multiple parties. So we have simplified our request to the Divine that: future partners have their own stuff figured out at least well enough to cause only more minor bumps, previous severe traumas have been healed likewise, and that all parties be willing to commit enough to work through remaining glitches. All relationships have bumps, bruises, and fights, but it’s the severity and willingness to work through them that enable the relationship to last. Everyone coming together to learn and grow and heal, leads to happy long lasting family.
Acceptance of our humanness, and unconditional love allows for infinite growth. To me that means that I might get mad or frustrated with someone, but as long as I can refocus and remember we’re all human and that I do love them, then I can work through the upset to find a solution. That is the place of understanding that I aim for everyone in my family to hold.
There are also factors like honesty, openness, truthfulness, cooperative attitudes, and open mindedness which would be very important.
Finally, I wish to add compromise. A mainstay of finding solutions is learning how to compromise. There is almost always an answer that everyone can live with. It may not be perfect in everyone’s opinion, but gets the job done. Finding those compromises is paramount to maintaining family cohesion, and adults wishing to be in my family need to demonstrate an ability to compromise.
In conclusion, my ideal of Polyamory has evolved over the last 15 years to be less about the fine details and more about overarching qualities that I wish for people to exhibit.
Not to be too cliche, but can’t we all just get along, and all you need is love, would be the more concise mentality.
May you all find your family based in love and acceptance, but which committedly works through compromise to ensure everyone just gets along.
With love, be well. Siva Hir Su.