Saturday, 28 January 2012

There Can Be Only One: Poly Myths 1

There is a pervasive idea that poly living breaks down the emotional bonds between pre-existing couples, as they are distracted by the new love interests in their lives.  There's a corresponding idea that poly makes it difficult for people who are single to build the 'exclusive couple bond' with their new poly partner that we all, apparently, need desperately in our lives.

When a couple has a child, both parents bond with the baby *as they should do*. Should either parent feel that they are less important to the other because their partner has bonded with the infant? Of course not. That would be very unhealthy for the relationship and for the child. In a healthy couple relationship, when a couple has a child, the adults still feel securely bonded to one another, and still know that they can rely upon one another.

Similarly, if we start a relationship with a single parent, is it reasonable to assume that we cannot properly bond with our new partner because their child is 'in the way' of our relationship?  It's a ridiculous assumption, isn't it?  Beginning a relationship with a single parent is bound to be more complex than beginning a relationship with a childless person, but that doesn't mean we can't bond strongly with that person, especially if we take a genuine interest in their child.  Similarly, beginning a poly relationship is bound to be more complex than beginning a mono relationship, and it will work better and more easily if we have genuine concern for our metamours.

In a healthy poly relationship, there is the same sense of being securely bonded to one’s partners as there is in a mono relationship.  Emotional bonding with an adult no more precludes the possibility of additional strong emotional bonds with other adults than being part of a loving couple precludes building strong emotional bonds with your baby, or than being a single parent precludes building strong emotional bonds with an adult.

Friday, 27 January 2012

What are Poly Myths?

I've been meaning to write a series of posts about poly myths for a long time, but just haven't got around to it.  However, recently I read a blog post that condensed the majority of negative poly myths into a few brief sentences, quoted as expert opinion.  Needless to say, this expert was clearly not an expert on poly relationships.  Cue much steaming at the ears and a lengthy response from me in the comments section.  I'm reposting those thoughts here, in an expanded and more comprehensive form, as a series of posts subtitled 'Poly Myths'.  Like the 'Trouble with Triads' posts, these will be added to on an ad hoc basis, by one or other of us, in among other posts.  

So what do I mean by Poly Myths?  I mean the ideas or concepts that many people (mostly mono) have about poly people.  But we poly people are not immune to believing these myths.

They include the concept that the way poly people live is bizarrely unique to us, unparalleled in the world of mono relationships.  It's easy to overlook the similarities of the challenges poly and mono people face in relationships because mono relationship issues are so socially normalised as to be almost invisible, whereas ours are framed as 'unique difficulties'.  Like a toddler insisting that 'Men all wear trousers and women all wear dresses' despite clear evidence to the contrary, it can be hard for us to see our own situation clearly through the veil of social convention and immersion in our own lives.  Does a fish 'know' that it swims in water, or is it only aware of the food, plants and other creatures around it?

I am a fish in my own life, too, a toddler in a complex world, and I miss a lot, just like anybody else.  These thoughts on poly myths are just my own musings, and others may have very different points of view and opinions.  And with that said, time to debunk some overused myths!