Image via iStock. By Alexa for Ravishly.
My husband and I went through several drafts of our wedding vows, but none of them included a promise to “forsake all others.” We have been polyamorous since we met, meaning that we sometimes have romantic or sexual relationships with multiple partners.
One of my favorite definitions appeared on Offbeat Mama: “believing that love does not have to be limited to one partner any more than it would have to be limited to one child or one friend.”
Marriage was never about exclusivity to us, because we don’t view love as a finite resource.
What is marriage about to us? What did we vow to do? We promised to be partners in life; to build a home and a family together. To love and stand by one another. To encourage, comfort, and protect each other. To live and laugh together. To share the beauty we find in the world. (The Mamamia Team on their biggest wedding regrets. Post continues after video.)
None of those things require that we stop dating other people. I don’t need to know that I am the only person he laughs with, and it doesn’t harm him when I share beauty with other people.
Marriage isn’t about shrinking our worlds, it’s about growing them. How can we help each other grow?
Many marriages suffer from unspoken expectations and resentments. It is extraordinarily difficult to be all things to someone; to fulfill every need they have without losing ourselves. We put pressure on ourselves and our partners to be our ‘everything,’ which often results in disappointment and settling.
Polyamory doesn’t settle. Polyamory looks for the unique connections we feel with the different people we meet, and gives us what we need from a variety of sources.
This can range from the shallow (“Hey, I really don’t like that TV show — can you wait and watch it with her instead?”) to the significant (“I know you need to explore this element of your sexuality, but I am not comfortable participating. (Post continues after gallery.)
I’m glad you have someone you can share that with.”). To poly people, it is a natural way of building the relationships we need.
What is “natural” anyway? Monogamy originally developed as a way to ensure the rightful inheritance of property. Limiting sexual partners was the only way to feel confident about who had fathered which children and thus whose land and goods would be passed down.