Page 6 - LCT December 2019
P. 6

  such as they must meet and approve of all possible new love interests, whether they date them or not, and sometimes they are as simple as “Don’t be a jerk.” Polyamorous people spend lots and lots of time talking with their partners, ensuring that people’s feelings are in the right place and that everyone feels comfortable.

The next most common question I encounter is: “Does jealousy occur?” Of course, it does! We are human beings, and jealousy and envy are part of our basic makeup. This is where excellent communication skills are critical. All partners must be not only committed to one another, but also committed to talking about the times when they are jealous, envious, or just plain uncomfortable. Jealousy is a very human emotion and not an emotion that one should feel ashamed about, or afraid to discuss. Discussion is the only way of working through jealousy. Workings on one’s feelings of insecurity and self-worth or lack thereof are also critical. Discuss what it is about the scary situation; suspicion is based on fear, often fear of what might be lost. In polyamory, partners may fear the loss of their “nesting partner” – the person with whom they share a home, children, finances. Fears like these need to be discussed, and that brings me to the subject of trust.
Trust is also vital in maintaining healthy polyamorous relationships. I trust my husband to make good choices, and I believe that he loves me and will not leave me for another partner. I also imagine that should his feelings change for me; he will discuss that with me, rather than leaving me abruptly, or in some other negative way. Monogamy is no guarantee of trust, as we know so many people who have been cheated on or have been cheaters.
As mentioned in a previous paragraph, polyamory is not a lifestyle that is the norm in our culture, and none of us have grown up with resources instructing us in how to navigate these uncharted territories. Writer Amy Gahran wrote a book called Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: Uncommon Love and Life. Gahran defines the relationship escalator as,
The default set of societal expectations for intimate relationships. Partners follow a progressive set of steps, each with visible markers, toward a clear goal. “The goal at the top of the Escalator is to achieve a permanently monogamous (sexually and romantically exclusive between two people), cohabitating marriage — legally sanctioned if possible. In many cases, buying a house and having kids is also part of the goal. Partners are expected to remain together at the top of the Escalator until death.
Those of us who are polyamorous may have been on the relationship escalator multiple times, but realize that we can love more than one person. One could even say that my husband and I took the path of the relationship escalator – dating, moving in together, getting engaged, and getting married. We had many friends at the time who were polyamorous – many of them successful at it, some of them not so much. We are both adventurous in our ways, and decided to embark on learning more about polyamory

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