After posting my most recent entry about polyamory, I received a few comments calling the lifestyle, and myself, selfish. These comments claimed that it would be unfair to my partners to divide my love among more than one person, and saying that I would be denying my partner 100% of myself. I can understand not wanting to partake in this relationship dynamic; just as monogamy is not for me, I don’t expect polyamory to be for you.
First of all, the idea that I would have to divide my love across multiple partners is incredibly inaccurate. I wouldn’t love one sibling more than another. I wouldn’t have to love one child less if I decided to have another. My love would expand. I would love them for different reasons and in different ways. So why is it such a difficult thing to imagine loving more than one partner?
From my point of view, what’s more selfish of me:
Expecting my partner to meet each and every one of my emotional and sexual needs?
Having multiple partners to reach out to when I feel as though my needs are not being met?
Is it really all that selfish to not expect your partner to sleep with you every time you’re in the mood to do so? What about if, instead of having an emotional meltdown to your significant other, who is also experiencing a difficult time, you reach out to another partner for help. When we stop expecting one partner to sacrifice themselves to satisfy our own physical, emotional, and mental needs, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off of the relationship.
What’s selfish to me is that, we have been taught that we should expect our partners to give all of themselves to us, without any consideration of their feelings. If they don’t, this means that they don’t love or care about us. Whether we want our partner emotionally or physically, if they say they aren’t in a good place to do so, we’ve been taught to automatically assume that we are the issue. We take it upon ourselves and assume our problems aren’t worth listening to or our bodies aren’t what they want. We never stop to consider – or even ask – what’s going through their heads. I’ve been on the other side of things and have been shamed for not “wanting” them, when really, my mental health was struggling.
What one would call selfish, I would call “the understanding that I can’t meet my partners every need and he can’t meet mine”. Polyamory doesn’t make us love or care about each other any less. In fact, from my experience, I’ve found that the feelings my partner and I have for each other grow and expand every single day. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but one I would never sacrifice.
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