Today's post brought to you by the generous and anonymous monogamous heart-friend of the blog who we'll call Lily because that's a nice flower. That's a stock photo because, well, a real one ruins the anonymity. A link to the charity or cause of the writer's choice will follow the piece and precede the usual blog panhandling, because, well, also anonymity, we can't link her actual projects and work.
When Laura asked me to write a blog for this series, she suggested that I talk about the fact that I, a monogamous person, have many close friendships with people who are polyamorous, and how that affects my life. Honestly, having friends who are poly hasn’t really changed my life all that much – except I know and hopefully understand more about polyamory, which I love, because it allows me to understand my friends more, and also understand the rich tapestry of humans better. (Understanding “the rich tapestry of humans” often makes me want to have a rage stroke these days, but this is not one of those times).
But what does having poly friends mean for my friendships? Here’s a little listicle about how my friends’ polyamory intersects with my life!
We have excellent heart to hearts and gossip sessions
Much the same as with my monogamous friends, I have lots of deep talks with my friends about our love lives, but with this extra added dimension of added partners. Sometimes those talks may or may not devolve into gossip. Do I love hearing about your friend’s polycule that is extra messy right now? YOU BET I DO. But do I also love that my poly friends’ perspectives on relationship dynamics are different than mine, and they’re able to bring them to bear on my relationship problems when I need help? Absolutely – jealousy, compersion, love, trust, and sex exist in both monogamous and poly relationships, and I appreciate every single bit of advice that my poly friends give me from their perspectives. In fact, I often feel like my poly friends give better advice, because their understanding of relationship dynamics is more complex because of the variety of relationships in their lives!
I feel like I know more about myself
My friends are wonderful, intelligent human beings, and their style of living and loving and being is different than mine. That is totally ok! But because my friends and I talk often and candidly about our lives, and I respect them and their opinions, I have often asked myself honest questions about polyamory. I agree with my friends on many things, so why not also this thing? A lot of what Laura says about polyamory makes logical sense. Do I want to try it myself? Am I monogamous, or just socially conditioned? Is polyamory an orientation, or a conscious choice about how to live one’s life? I’ve asked myself these questions, and come out with an answer for myself: I don’t think that I would do well with sharing a partner, due to my own personal cocktail of anxiety, fear of abandonment, and incredibly busy schedule. But I also constantly question myself and my views, in part because my poly friends have modeled good practice!
I feel like I know more about other people
Just as having poly friends whose decisions and ethical positions I trust and respect makes me think about myself, knowing about polyamory and how different dynamics within it work makes me think about other people a bit differently. I don’t assume monogamy is the default anymore, and I definitely talk about open relationships and other polyamorous configurations as though they are just other points on the possible spectrum of relationships. It makes me think about how humans make connections, in a kind of navel-gazing contemplating the vast beauty of the universe sort of way. (Not gonna lie, it also does make me think, in my judgmental Lady Catherine de Bourgh way, that some people would really just be better off in a polyamorous relationship, rather than continuing to be miserable and non-monogamous in their supposedly monogamous one) In a completely non-cheesy very earnest way, knowing about other ways of being allows me to appreciate how cool humans can be sometimes.
I know a lot more nerdy people who play Dungeons and Dragons and go to Ren Faires
Through my friends’ polycules, I have grown to cherish the fact that my circle of acquaintances now automatically includes a lot more lovable nerds. This is a non-negotiable part of having poly friends, and will enrich your life in both a chaotic and good way. <3
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