Truetalk has been writing since he was a teen, and only in the last five or so years has he taken himself seriously as a writer. He lives in the Vancouver area of BC, Canada, where he has lived for most of his life. He finished his degree in psychology at Simon Fraser University in ’95 when he started his counseling practice for individuals and couples. He recently completed his PhD in psychology and philosophy at University of Life in Black Rock City. His counseling practice though broad in a practical sense, is specialized in alternative relationships, including the various forms of polyamoury, polyfidelity, or what ever other poly-like relationship you may be working on. He has studied the human psyche for almost his entire life, and has a thorough understanding of consciousness, human psychology, and our current social structure and how we as individuals or groups function and dysfunction within our culture and general social milieu. He would love to hear any feedback from the readers of this community, answer questions or even take requests or topics to write about.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Poly connections

Last time I wrote about the benefit of having friends. I say that now with a subtle tone of sarcasm, in that this was a friendship which was growing, evolving and changing. So that is all well and good. I believe that it represents a kind of relationship or evolution of connection that can happen in poly. It is an important one, because I see it as representing the main relationship, or the primary, as it is called in poly circles. This evolution of friendship into a more and more intimate connection is long-term. If this relationship can survive the many pitfalls and these I will discuss soon, maybe not here though, then this relationship has the potential of becoming one’s primary connection. There are other forms of connections though in poly, and these are secondary, tertiary and still further distant or less significant connections.

Now I will discuss another kind of connection that can and does appear in poly-relationships. It can manifest in a number of forms, so the best way to label it, which I need to do in this context of writing but which I would not really do in my daily living, is to call it the non-primary kind. This kind of connection has a multitude of forms, for example, and I believe the most common, is the “V” formation. Here a primary couple creates a relationship with a third which they both can share. Then another common one would be the “L”, which can go either way, and is when one member of the primary relationship makes a connection and relationship with another, but their primary partner is not directly involved. Then there are any imagined variations of these relationships. Thus, the complexity and dynamics of these connections become fairly evident.

These dynamics are interesting, and their various configurations are limited only by circumstances and one’s own imagination. There are other more difficult formations too, like a triangle, where three individuals come together equally creating a triad primary relationship, not a dyad. As you can imagine this is a formidable configuration, one that takes even more work, care and patience then the simpler coupling of two. As well the different combinations of the sexes makes it that much more complex to analyses. This leads easily into a much less common form of poly, which some might call the poly-network or poly-webbery (as a dear friend of mine jokingly called it once). These are the most loose and open forms of poly, where there is no structure, no formal primary, and thus no secondary or tertiary couplings. Rather, these strong and secure people have the ability to allow connections to just be, to grow as they will without labels and expectation being put upon the individuals in the relationships. In life we create many forms and kinds of connections all the time, and there is the awareness of that, without the need to label or control what the close and intimate relationships will be like. In that sense it puts all connections on an equal par, allowing time and love to dictate what the connections will look like, not rules and expectations. It is a radical use of non-labeling, and creates a radical freedom in people’s ability to explore love and intimacy that is paralleled by nothing I am aware of. I am not going to continue with that breakdown of the various forms of poly relations that can potentially manifest. Instead I will have a look at what I actually know through my own wonderful experiences.

I have recently become involved in what seems to me to be a kind of V formation (in reality I should not use this or any label, as we are of the poly-networking philosophy, but for the purpose of analyses and exploration of feelings I will use labels here). I want to first just marvel at the beauty and openness that the relationship represents to me. This is mainly done by holding what we are doing up beside the traditional non-sanctioned affair that so many monogamous couples put themselves through. There is no guilt. This is new for me, not that I have actively ever created a love affair type of relationship where there would be guilt, but just thinking about what we are doing creates the illusion or expectation that we should feel bad about what we are doing. But that is completely absent here. There is a tremendous sense of freedom of love’s expression because we have allowed this to be honest and good love. It is not forbidden, it is pure; it is not wrong, it is instead healthy; and it is not hidden or secretive, thus it is open and honest love. That is the first thing I felt in this new connection: the freedom and honesty of it, then also the absence of guilt or even the need for guilt.

This creates an atmosphere where we do not have to hide or control our feelings. Not just love either, because it is all allowed and even encouraged in the polyamorous connections. Again, if one is involved in a monogamous relationship, and then starts an affair, the feelings of love will need to be repressed. Unless, of course and this does happen, you are using this new connection to end an old one that is over or dying, then the new love will be encouraged with each other, and the older love relationship will need to end, and the ensuing drama will accompany that scenario. In general though, I would say that love is being controlled in monogamous relationships when dealing with “affairs”. In poly though there is no real reason to put these psychic blocks up against love and the associated feelings that come with love. Thus we are free to feel, to love and to be. That is one of the beautiful things about poly, there is no need to hide from your own feelings; and in that capacity we are able to explore our feelings, we will be able to learn about love and it’s associated feelings in a positive environment.

This freedom to explore one’s feelings allows the relationship to go beyond the physical connection that so many relationships start as. Thus, as we explore each other physically, and enjoy our physical connection without guilt or fear of being caught and the drama that would accompany that dreaded scenario, we are able to also expand the connection into the psychic, to expand the love we share, and those associated feelings. If it did start as a psychic connection, again there is the built in freedom to take the relationship into the physical. Either way there is a greater range of movement in and around the normally taboo experience of multiple lovers.

I am still new in this exploration of love as a third in a strong primary couple, but I will say a few more things here and now (Again, though they are perceivably a primary couple, they do not label themselves as such. Instead, just through their being so long together, and in love and so close to each other their relationship looks as such, but these wonderful people do not label themselves a primary, and thus seek or find other secondary people to bring into their circle. Rather, we met, we connected, we met again, we connected some more, we grew closer, and that is all, there are no labels, expectations, on either side of the connection and we each are free to just be ourselves. This is an amazing feeling of freedom and respect for the individuals that we are, and creates opportunity to explore the true nature of the potential between us in our new connection). Our connection did start pretty much as a physical connection, but I can see already how we are pushing those boundaries and coming to a place where deeper feelings of love and appreciation are starting to become clear and expressed. As we learn more about each other and discover the wonderful things and thoughts and beliefs about each other we are learning to love each other on a deeper level. I feel this freedom to explore those feelings of love and appreciation that I would normally have to repress. This repression, for me, is about not having the freedom to express those psychic feelings. I know they are there, but I would be reluctant to say anything about them, or to express them because they would be blocked or not received as I expressed those feelings and thoughts. That is there would not be a reciprocal expression of love and appreciation for each other, because the other person would not normally be allowed to express similar feelings since they are in a closed relationship. Here though we are open to such feelings, and in fact, so I am learning, we want to feel these things, because this is a potential for real love—if it is there. It is not a taboo connection; the love we may or may not feel for each other is sanctioned by the fact that we are both of a polyamorous mind set.

In conclusion, poly-connections, no matter what form or style you prefer, allow people the opportunity and freedom to explore the full potential of love with multiple partners. This is of course not for everyone. Some people like to have the security and stability of knowing that their lover is theirs, that the partner they are with (have?) has agreed to be with them only, and they together are to explore love alone and with no one else. They can explore love within the bounds of the relationship that they are in, or that they will eventually have, and that kind of love is enough. For the security and stability of certainty in love, they forgo the potential of having multiple loves, and the associated feelings and experiences that can or will create. People who have taken on the poly-lifestyle are free to explore deeper into the realms of love. They have sacrificed the stability of one lover, for the excitement (this excitement is not always positive, there can be pain and confusion here too, and in all likelihood will indeed) and freedom of having multiple lovers. This does not guarantee that there will be many lovers, but for some even having the opportunity is all they need. Just the controls and rules of monogamy is what is being avoided. For others there is a real need and desire to experience love’s expression with multiple partners. There is a new set of feelings and experiences when you are in love with more than one person, and receiving love back from more than one person in an intimate format.

Truetalk is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. He can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Truetalk ; July 19, 2007


folks have read this article.