"The life of a blended family". Our Poly Life is written by any one of a poly-fi quad. Each month they will share with readers about issues they face as a blended and committed poly family with nine children still at home. You can read more about them at their website; Our Poly Life.

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

Are you Hungry for More?

The term polyamory simply means, "loving more". That is a Poly 101 concept; it's the basics. Being polyamorous means one can have any number of emotional/intimate relationships; and for each person, partnership, or tribe just how many "more" is a different number. But how do you know when enough is enough? When you know you're full, both physically and emotionally?  

Sometimes when we are full, our bodies don’t get the message until too late. Rarely is there a Thanksgiving meal when we don’t leave the table overstuffed to the point of being miserable. We know at some point during the meal that we should stop eating, but surveying the table in front of us, we find a delectable array of foods that call to us. How does one choose between the sweet potatoes smothered in marshmallows and the flavorful giblet sage stuffing we make only once a year? So many choices, so little room in the stomach.  

Similarly is the choice to bear children. Individuals and couples alike labor over the idea of reproducing. Do we want kids? When should we have them? And once you have had one or two, how do you decide when to stop? How about those of us who want more? There are some of us who do well with three, four, five, or more. We presume most feel that they possess the ability to love many children. Some of us could possibly have a dozen and love each of them with the same unconditional fervor. Regardless of our capacity to love, there comes a point when you have to look inside yourself and say “ok, that’s it, we’re done.” Maybe it was economics or time management or emotional overload or housing size or perhaps the possibility one child had needs that were incompatible with adding more. But whatever reasoning brought the conclusion, there came a time to cease procreating and call the halt.  

Poly relationships are similar. In Polly-ville there are few rules; and the ones that do exist are flexible and made up as you go along. So there are no hard and fast discourses to making decisions about what the best case scenario is for each of us. When do you feel full? What is the trigger that tells you this is all the love you can handle?

Maybe it’s not the inability to deal with more loves, but perhaps another, more logistical reason. When is our time and resources stretched to the point that we begin to give each love less of us, not more? When are we emotionally incapable of dealing with anyone else’s drama? And when does our need to “love more” infringe on your need to have more (more of our time, more of our attention, more of us)?

We think the trouble comes because we as humans are always hungry for more. As Americans, we’re taught to think smarter, reach higher, drive further, and strive harder. This mindset encourages us to press on and on until we get to a point that we realize we’ve overdone: too many second helpings, too many hours behind the computer, too many miles in the car without an oil change. If we push too far, eventually the way we realize our mistake is by the pain involved. We have to loosen the belt (or buy bigger pants), go for new glasses, or replace the engine in the car.

Unfortunately, when you are dealing with people and relationships, realizing you’ve gone too far or have bitten off more than you can chew may be a painful extrication for one or all involved. One thing we can do as mature and responsible adults is approach our choice to “love more” slowly and with judicious regard for the soul of those you espouse to care for so deeply.

This is a topic which has surfaced lately at home. In our quad, three of us have made a fidelity choice. We are “full.” Our fourth is following along “fi” for now. This is what works for our relationship as the dynamic currently stands. We think we all realize a differing dynamic, perhaps, if we lost a love in some way, would have tremendous impact on whether or not we would consider revisiting our idea of “enough.” The future is uncertain, so we allow ourselves the freedom of fine tuning our life choices as destiny unfurls.

If Thanksgiving is a time of grateful overindulgence, let us not be tempted to do the same with our relationships. May we know ourselves well enough to sense the point of satiety before we do any damage to ourselves or those we love. This season, shall we be ever mindful of the needs of others.

Temptress and The Laundry Goddess; October 13, 2006

The Poly Quad are contributing writers as well as members of this online Community. They can be contacted via the email addresses listed in the Contact our Writers section, or through our message board Forums.


folks have read this article.