Adam (PolyN00b) is a 30 year old, bisexual man living happily in an FMF triad with hetaera and independently happy. His other writings can be seen at http://bisocialnews.com.
One of the most common questions I am asked about my triad is: "Don't you ever get jealous?" Of course my answer is almost always the same; and at this point sounds somewhat canned: "Of course I get jealous, and so do my girlfriends. We just try to handle our jealousy responsibly by seeing it for what it is."
A lot has been written on the topic of jealousy, its roots as insecurity, what causes it, and how to deal with it. In fact, most polyamorous people have spent at least some portion of their relationship devoting time and energy into slaying the green eyed beastie and limiting its effect on their relationships. I myself have explored the roots of my own jealousies and taken up a personal crusade to expunge all jealousy from my life and be a fully functional compersive individual.
What is probably the second most common thing I am asked about polyamory or my triad is: "Why?" (Meaning, why I am polyamorous.) Why do I need multiple lovers and why am I okay with my girlfriend having multiple partners? This is another question that most polyamorous people think a lot about. The answer to this question would seem to be unique to the individual. Some people are just very free and celebrate that freedom. Others, such as me, see fundamental flaws in the relationship model and so choose to not limit themselves.
There are other things that need to be worked on that aren't so evident in a poly relationship. In my experience-which, by my own admission, is limited-poly relationships can be guilty of something that I like to call "The Fairy Tale Syndrome." Simply, it is the belief that your relationship will be perfect as in a fairy tale only with multiple Prince Charmings or Princesses. The fact is that most relationships in general and most certainly poly relationships are not without their own foibles and their own trials. In fact, no relationship is perfect and there will be turbulence, choppy waters, hard work; whatever metaphor you like.
What has been on my mind lately is a very simple belief, or pattern of belief that people mix with romance. This is the belief that: "if this person loves me then they won't hurt me." This of course is true of actual harmful abuse-I'm not speaking about abuse; physical, emotional, verbal or otherwise, in fact I would say to anyone in an abusive relationship to get out! No, what I mean is a general, emotional hurt. Throughout the course of a relationship-particularly long term relationships, I have been hurt. I have always allowed those hurts to cut me very deeply, affect my ability to trust my partner(s) or even determine if I stay with them. In some cases this has been very necessary.
However recently, upon evaluating a lot of what I've gone through in my exploration of polyamory and my journey to be a less jealous person, I have come across several things that have made me question this thought process. Put simply: is it wise to expect a person that you will be with for a lifetime or even just in a long term committed relationship never to hurt you? Most poly people will admit that jealousy happens and what is equally important to accepting it as a normal response is to acknowledge it and handle it responsibly.
Why then is any other relationship different? Is it really fair to expect that my lovers will never ever hurt me? That there will never be a misunderstanding or an omission or mistake that has led to my feeling hurt even if that wasn't their intent? I don't honestly think that's realistic. In fact, I think it's far better to acknowledge that, like jealousy, hurt will happen. It's best to acknowledge it and then focus on how to handle it and heal from it.
I expect to hurt my lovers and I expect to be hurt by them-just as I expect to be jealous when I find that they desire someone else or to be insecure when they are away. These emotions are normal and they are to be expected as a result of all of the programming that we have to work through to arrive at our own personal truth. I have learned, for myself, that considering the source, it's not so much that this person will never hurt me if they love me-rather, its that this person will not /intentionally/ hurt me /because/ they love me. Thinking about it this way allows for a lot less angst in the realm of romance, at least for me.
Posted on Polyamorous Percolations 1 June 2010 at 15:00 USEDT