I suppose I’m extra reflective these days. Something, at any rate, brought this to the forefront of my mind. How sometimes people ask (me) if other people should be polyamorous. Now, before you go, “But why wouldn’t you want to increase your dating pool?,” let me please say:
“God, no!” No, I don’t want you to be polyamorous. I’ve got plenty of people to date. I don’t want you muddying the waters of my rather limited dating pool by forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
Because whatever Disney propoganda you’ve heard, we don’t all want the same things in life.
Sure, the idea of having five cakes is awesome to someone who loves cake. And maybe you think because you like the idea of a life partner, you should want more than one. But, wait.
Maybe, for you, one is enough. Or maybe you don’t want any. I happen to have a lot of “relationship desires.” I want all the love and connections. So polyamory works great for me. But that’s just me. And, based on statistics, somewhere less than 4-5% of the population.
But if it’s not what you want? I’ll guarantee you trying to be polyamorous will add a degree of misery to your life.
Just like cake. If you don’t like cake, forcing yourself to eat two slices won’t bring you any pleasure. Yes, cake is tasty (if you like it), but it’s also a lot of work to bake cakes. It especially feels like a lot of work if you resent doing it for something you don’t even want.
So, no. If anything, if you’re questioning whether you want an additional romantic partner, I would say, “No!” I mean, I’d say the same to a woman wavering on motherhood. God, no, don’t have a child just to “see how it changes you.” Spoilers: it won’t change anything about you. It might activate your maternal instincts, but if they aren’t there, you’ll just be stuck with a kid you don’t want to raise (and the child will figure it out one day and then they won’t talk to you and the whole thing will be a total waste on your part.)
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need your tribe.
None of us are meant to do it all, on our own. It’s just not possible. Those of us with less support? WWe don’t find some miraculous way to do more, or even the same, with less resources. We just learn to live with less. Or convince ourselves our needs are somehow lesser.
Whenever I say that people should open themselves to polyamory or learn about it, I don’t mean they should start dating two or three or more people. I don’t think they should start flirting with every piece of female (or male) flesh in sight. What I mean is that I think everyone should nuture more than one relationship in their life. As a confidante, a friend. As another person they can count on.
I want them to learn how to communicate and be there for more than one person on a deep, emotional level. Call it whatever you like. Tribe. Family. Chosen family. Support network. Your people.
Because when the time comes and you need them– if they aren’t there already, they won’t be then.
But I’m just not poly, you cry. No problem, you still need tribe. Perhaps your one friend says its normal to forget when you’re supposed to hang out, to cancel because they have a date. But then your other friend honors your time together. Doesn’t ditch you for her new boyfriend. And you see what’s actually possible when someone puts in the effort.
Because,you see, when relationships are simultaneous, it’s harder to dimiss your concerns about them. And the same applies to friendships. Your friend says it’s normal to blow off plans since you’re “just friends”? Fine, but when your other friend honors the commitments they made to you, perhaps you start to see that the quality of friendship can be rather more impressive than you once thought.
Or maybe you want to go on a spontanous trip, and you’d rather go with someone than alone. There are a million reasons to have a tribe to count on, rather than simply a One Twue Love.
It’s not only romantic others that will be there for you, when you need them.
Everyone needs tribe. Everyone needs a little bit of extra help now and again.
My polycule, by the way, is not the same as my tribe. My tribe is far greater and more extensive than the few I pull into my inner circle of those I’ve partnered my life with– it is everyone with whom I am close and feel a connection.
And if you want to do something alone?
Well, there’s nothing stopping you. I, too, sometimes go off on my own. So do my partners. I like my “me” time as much as anyone. Okay, perhaps less than most, but I still have my hermit mode.
But it’s nice to have the option to go with someone from one’s tribe. From time to time. It’s nice not to do it all on on’s own.