I don’t know about you, but my news feeds are regularly flooded with content praising the advantages of polygamy, (the algorithm may have something to do with it). I see couples involved in multiple relationships deciphering their ways of communicating, speeches explaining to me that exclusivity is out of date or even humorous videos depicting comedic situations in which multiple partners find themselves.
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Seeing these contents, I felt a little worthwhile for not feeling like committing to this kind of relationship, and doubly useless for not feeling capable. I often felt unwilling to imply that I wasn’t open-minded enough. In some conversations I’ve had about this with polygamous people, I felt like I was a bad feminist, as if polygamy was the next level of “deconstruction” and I was stuck at the level of fall-backs.
So when I had the opportunity to try it out, without really expecting it, I took the chance. Not that polygamy is an experience to be tested at all costs for pleasure, but above all because guilt for not being prepared for it questioned me.
How did I find myself connected to so many people
My friends in free husbands or in polygamous relationships have shown me the entry points and generalities of how they treat many people. I admit it unashamedly, my mind was flooded with false thoughts: I especially thought that being polygamous meant not to feel or show jealousy. I also thought that sharing your life with many partners means that you have distilled your love. However, there are people for whom it is quite possible to experience love more or less equally for various individuals. Moreover, I have been told many times that polyandry is not a matter of an explosion of passion and interest, but rather of participation. A friend who identifies as a polygamist told me that she views romantic relationships as friendships. As in friendship, she has one or more close friends, other acquaintances with whom she also shares her time. “It’s the same thing in love. I have my primary partner and my other relationships. She tells me, however, that I have no less love to give to everyone. In theory, that makes sense, and it’s one of dozens of ways to experience polygamy. But in practice, I didn’t have the energy Nor desire, which is legitimate. But I have repeatedly felt that non-polygamy means a closed, semi-reactionary view of intimate relationships.
The opportunity came within the framework of a rather ambiguous relationship, “attitudes” so to speak. The boundaries of our relationship were blurred, we were in love, we acted like a couple, but we are not officially one, especially because this person does not want exclusivity. So I dug into a relationship that actually involved many people, not really asking myself if it was right for me, but telling myself this was an opportunity to find out.
In parallel with this relationship, which had already occupied most of my thoughts and mobilized a large part of my energy, I began dating other people, two more people in total. First with a certain enthusiasm, perhaps under the influence of modernity, but then with great sadness. I’ve had a great time with these partners, meeting up on Tinder and at parties, but my initial relationship still hung over me and I just wanted to explore it more without the distraction of others. dating
My anxiety has skyrocketed
I am not the most organized person when it comes to spending time with my loved ones, nor am I the least anxious when it comes to meeting the needs of others. So much to tell you that having to “reconcile” so many romantic and sexual relationships has been a disaster. It’s simple, I always had the impression that I wasn’t present enough for each other and had to repeat myself, I was afraid of getting tangled up by mixing up certain conversations or anecdotes with these other “partners”, and above all, I didn’t have the energy to keep up with much from the flames.
In the end, I realized that although we discussed the outlines of our relationship, talked about the importance of communicating our needs and discussing our concerns, the framework of my initial communication remained unclear. I was trying to convince myself that everything was fine and that the formation of our relationship was right for me, only for fear of losing him. The result: my anxiety was at its peak, especially in the evening when I imagined him spending time with his other partners.
Love relationships, heterosexual or not, are steeped in heterosexual sexual norms and dynamics. However, placing new injunctions for those who do not wish to invest in this method of association seems to me anything but liberating. Finally, sexuality like love can and should be discussed, “disassembled” and rethought, but not at the expense of each person’s desires and possibilities. Not if it turns into a new cleaver. Especially if this dismantling is done without a framework. Looking beyond the fixed boundaries of exclusive and heterogeneous relationships, yes, but not in the absence of communication, tolerance and honesty. You obviously don’t want that if you don’t.
My friend Dos Dibondo, an Afro-feminist journalist and writer, recently wrote a text about polygamy that sets me apart. You talk about the illusion of making relational pluralism the main door to liberation. “On paper, the idea was good. You write about a sexual and/or romantic relationship with several people on different terms of time or equality. […] With an emphasis on trust, communication and honesty. It is then spoiled when you think of polygamy as a revolutionary end by minimizing the relationships of domination at stake. “Not only is polyandry excluded from patriarchal dynamics, but at times I have had the impression that this relational polyandry has been transformed into a new injunction. An injunction that does not take into account the limits, desires, traumas, privileges, and insecurities of each.”
If Dos Debondo sees relational pluralism as a way to “out-of-box”, she also warns that this way of relating is limited by our pitfalls and our “personal responsibilities”. “Many people see polygamy or relationship chaos as a way to escape from their relationship with themselves and their attachment style,” she says. […] I always wonder about the motives of people who swear quickly. “.
Polyamory, a priori, that’s nothing and it’s okay
No, polyandry does not liberate everyone. I, for example, felt torn between wanting to confront my fears about non-exclusive relationships and the fact that doing so in the context of love might not have been the right answer. Furthermore, my partner at the time told me, “You don’t have to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation to try to conquer your fears.” And you don’t have to go through all of them either. I felt caught between the vice of my feelings and my deepest desires. I had no desire to date other people, especially during the somewhat “honeymoon” period when I was learning to discover the couple, who weren’t officially. I tried to date other people regularly, but the heart was not there. I ended up getting entangled in a whole bunch of casual, fuzzy, and limitless relationships, partly because I found communicating around these intimate relationships with so many individuals energy-intensive and worrisome, but also because what I wanted above all was to maintain the initial contact that I had. I set it up. I wanted to pamper the relationship I had with the person I was madly in love with, develop it, build trust, and enjoy carefree beginnings, rather than distracting my energy and attention elsewhere.
In the end, this experience taught me to take things a little more easily. I am exhausted from trying to be the most liberated and detached of all possible classifications. I don’t think I have a particular problem with jealousy or trust in exclusive relationships and I’m not against the idea of opening a relationship once the bonds of trust are established, but I do think I need more communication for that. I need to listen to my limitations and maybe try again in a more formal and stable relationship. Committing to polygamy out of love for the person you fear losing is not the right way to approach it. Polyamory does not liberate everyone because it is not an end in itself, just as an exclusive couple cannot cure us of our fears and mores that overwhelm us. Connecting with many people is one way we can try to rethink love, but it is neither the only way nor a necessity.