With Valentine’s day around the corner I wanted to put something out there:
Polyamory is the belief that we can love more than one person. There’s no reason why the love you give to multiple people has to be any different than the fairy tale love we’re familiar with. Polyamorous romances can be just as intense, long-lasting and committed as monogamous ones.
The thing is that when I fell in love with my husband there was a script for what to do with our feelings as a young, monogamous couple. We could easily google, for example, what we legally needed to do to become wed. We could find out about the process of applying for a marriage license, where to send it, what documents we would need to complete this process.
We could also find endless resources for how to plan a wedding. We could get ideas on how to make our wedding come together from tv shows, pinterest, magazines, friends or family and everywhere in between.
It’s a little different when you’re polyamorous and fall in love.
There aren’t tv shows about planning a poly wedding. And because in Canada where we live you can’t legally marry more than one person it’s much harder to just google what the process might look like.
That’s kind of scary, for about half a second, and then it’s totally freeing. There isn’t a script – we get to write it!
So here are a few thoughts on commitment when you’re in polyamorous relationships!
Living Outside the Closet
I have a great respect for people who keep some aspect of themselves and their love lives “in the closet”. Whether it’s polyamory, a matter of sexuality, or gender identity – it isn’t easy. We kept our polyamorous relationships secret for the first couple months while we all developed our own understanding of what was happening. We didn’t want to tell people what was happening before we had all the answers. At first, we didn’t even know what to call each other, much less if this was going to last. Until we knew those things, we worked on our relationships strictly in private.
It was hard. Given that we’re all reasonably privileged and had never had to hide a
relationship before it was frustrating and a constant, irritating limitation to check ourselves – not reaching for each other’ss hands or kissing in public.
That made the decision to come out easy for us. Make no mistake though, not all of the responses we got were easy to handle. We have a strong appreciation for why some people never come out.
But we’re glad we have and it makes thinking about living together, and staying committed easier to be excited about since we won’t have to hide the true nature of our relationships.
Where Do We Live?
Of course Ben and I had a perfectly happy little home, as did Maggie and Tom, before we all started dating. As the feelings grew stronger we had to start seriously asking ourselves where this could go. When we started dating our spouses that script was there to support us: if it’s going well, make it facebook official. When you don’t want to sleep without them anymore move in, and so on.
What about us now? Do poly people follow that at all?
The answer is – sure, if they want to!
And we do, so we are. Ben and I are moving into Maggie and Tom’s house. We have all acknowledged that this isn’t really for practical reasons – we were all perfectly able to run our own households. But we wanted the time together. We spend more time than we care to admit driving back and forth. Our current houses are about a half hour apart so it’s kind of a pain to always be commuting here and there.
When we sat down and thought out what we all value in our households, the presence of the people we love was number one. More broadly, our priorities and goals about how we believe a household should be run were compatible so the move makes sense for us and is underway.
To Ceremony or Not To Ceremony
Maybe we won’t do anything. Maybe we’ll just make our home and keep living our lives, happily ever after. Then again, just because we can’t legally marry our new partners doesn’t mean that we can’t have a wedding. After all the legal part of getting married is a 30 second moment after the ceremony when we actually signed the paperwork. It’s still a wedding without that moment.
As far as the ceremony goes… we get to make it up! We can say vows that make sense to us, involve a wedding party or not, invite whoever we want… there aren’t a whole ton of rules for how this is done!
Just think – when I married my husband there were magazines and a tradition full of must’s and mustn’ts that I needed to follow in order to participate in the tradition. Now though, commitment means designing something that reflects only us and nothing else.
At this point, children are probably the most popular thing for people to ask us about. Each of us being a couple years into our marriage, and between us having good jobs and stable relationships people were starting to ask us as married couples when we would have kids even before we got together.
The reality is that any thoughts of having kids have been shifted back a few years. We all really value forming tangible commitments before bringing children into the picture. Give us time to live together and continue building our lives to match the new family structure before expecting us to add to the family!
That being said, people’s main concern seems to be who will parent the children. The short answer is: it’s not their business.
We all love each other. I don’t know who will create children with who, but I know those children will have 4 parents to love them unconditionally. And I expect that to be enough knowledge for the others who love our children.
All in all the most complicated part of being committed and polyamorous is figuring out how holidays like Valentine’s day work! We get to write our own script and I love that about the direction our lives are going.
Comment your questions and thoughts!