Polyamory, Revisited

So, I mentioned a while back that I’m exploring polyamory. I think I was pretty clear that, at the moment, I’m with 2 men and no more; and thus far, that seems to suit me (or it suits me better than my relationship with my partner was suiting me; for a variety of reasons, we’d grown… eh… a bit less close, but still deeply in love and committed to each other’s well-being). Our current situation does feel like something of a compromise–but then, when is love *not* a situation requiring compromise? (No, the compromise is not all on my lovers’ side, although I imagine that’s the first conclusion someone who doesn’t know the situation well might jump to.) One of the compromises I’m making involves exploring the ins-and-outs of polyamorous ideas and models, whether or not they coincide with my own ideals, and trying to ensure that my approach to my romantic relationships is as balanced as it can be. (I’m no great arbiter of balance and circumspection, you understand, but I do my poor best.)

Currently, I’m reading a book entitled, “The Art and Etiquette of Polyamory,” by Francoise Simpere, who’s something of a self-proclaimed expert on the topic. Don’t get me wrong, she has a lot of good points to make (many of them about the traditional roles of men and women, and the benefits of polyamory in redefining those roles) but I can’t help but think her ideals are so farfetched as to be virtually unobtainable. Without giving specific examples, there is a distinctly Utopian slant to the author’s writing, that makes it sound as if everyone in the world were capable of fostering relationships completely devoid of jealousy, possessiveness, or sordid curiosity. In one chapter of the book, she does address the “infidelity gene” that some people have (though she objects to its name) and muses that perhaps not *everyone* can reach these glorious heights of self-expression, romantic freedom, and boundless love… but overall, she certainly seems to think that it’s an ideal that’s perfect for many people.

Personally, I find I regularly vacillate between the 2 dominant views discussed in her book, namely, monogamy and polyamory. I can see numerous pros and cons to each; and, like the contrarian I am, I tend to admire the lifestyle I’m *not* engaging in at the time. (Yes, that’s a not-so-subtle hint that monogamy is starting to look more attractive to me, again–but in the clear understanding that, every time I’ve thought that and tried to practice it, I’ve come to the conclusion that 1 man is never going to be enough for me.)

If there is an infidelity gene (by which I mean, if that’s an accurate name for it) I have little doubt I’ve inherited it. As I love to say, my dad not only chases skirt, he chases it in much the same way as I chase trouser (similar MO, similar goals from what I can tell, similar rewards reaped in succeeding). And it’s not that I’m not more than the sum of my genetics–I am, as are we all–but there is a certain point which, when reached, does just leave you wondering why you would even bother to fight your nature. I’ve given up on the idea of eternal punishment (mostly) and I go out of my way to be kind and compassionate to my men (more so than many wives/girlfriends I know, at least as far as I can tell)… that ought to count for something. Right?

One final thought: I’m not going to load the dice by stating what it is… but I hope against hope and wish against wish that someone would ask the pertinent question, about the above.


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