In Defense of Poly Couples
by Evita Lavitaloca Sawyers
Couples Just Don’t Understand
by D. Marcella Lyles, M.Ed.
I see new couples entering into Poly that get a lot of flack for wanting this particular set up. Don’t adults have the right to desire whatever relationship set up they feel would best suit them? Didn’t some of you start out in a set up similar to that, and as you became more comfortable, you evolved? How are couples coming into Poly supposed to feel comfortable and supported when they see the amount of persons, basically, making couples the villains of the Poly world?
A lot of couples that seem to have unreasonable demands or expectations aren’t doing so because they are horrible persons, they are doing so because they are honestly ignorant to the subtle nuances that come with being in a poly relationship.
Most people would argue that all they (couples) have to do is put themselves in the single person’s shoes, but speaking from personal experience, often we don’t have any clue what said shoes look like. Poly is unorthodox. Most people have ZERO examples to draw from and it is hard to deconstruct a lifetime of hetero-normative monogamous programming.
Instead of dismissing the VERY REAL feelings and issues that couples face when deciding to open up, try to understand their position and educate them on better ways of operating from a place of compassion and wanting to further knowledge, not from a place of ridicule and self righteousness.
I have been married for ten years and have three kids; that is a BIG risk to take. If something goes wrong, my entire family could be decimated. I have a secure relationship with my husband but that doesn’t mean that from time to time, I don’t get insecure.
It takes a lot of trust to believe that a person coming into your relationship, at least initially, isn’t coming in with an ulterior motive to take your place, because, realistically, that is a real possibility. Just like there are crummy couples with ill intentions, there are crummy singles with ill intentions.
Recognize that a lot of the absurd ways that couples behave is because they want to protect their relationship. Instead of making them feel badly for a VERY NORMAL human desire, try to debunk the beliefs that those behaviors will protect their relationship.
Once again, educate. Try to help them break down the societal relationship programming that is so deeply ingrained in most of us, because, especially for women, we have been geared to regard any person that our partner has an affinity for or could perceive as attractive to them as a threat.
We need to stop making people feel bad for feeling bad. Recognize that while you may not understand exactly what that person is feeling, that feeling is valid to them and they deserve compassion, respect and understanding.
I’m not excusing poor behavior, which should be addressed, but when a person, or persons, in a couple come here (to the poly community) to get their VERY NORMAL feelings sorted out, don’t attack them. Acknowledge their struggle just like you want yours acknowledged. It’s a good thing that they are looking for answers; that is what you WANT them to do.
Couples are a vital poly component. We need to work together cohesively because eventually, couples will begin to become defensive and counter-attack and all that will do is break down the trust that is so vital to the Couple/Single Person poly relationship.
I’m really tired of seeing reasonable, decent couples, who genuinely desire to treat a single “secondaries” (for lack of a better term) ethically, and with dignity, become discouraged at the frequent vilifying of couples in the poly lifestyle.
We’re not all trying to run roughshod over people, we’re not all insensitive, and mostly, we’re all human.
by Evita Lavitaloca Sawyers
OMG!!! Why is it so hard to find a couple that understands that, while I may be interested in sex with both genders of people, I might actually have a preference for relationships, intimacy and commitment with one or the other PERSON; and that just because I like them, it doesn’t mean I want to give up my life to them?
Why can’t they understand that even though “my” primary isn’t always in the picture physically, he’s ALWAYS in my heart? We are committed to one another, and understand dating others as just a part of our dynamic. That is how the conversation of dating (couples), one or both of them, is even remotely possible.
Then, they (the couples) have that stupid little clause “no other men involved, period.” REALLY?!?! (My primary), the man who made this even possible, isn’t “allowed” to participate? DONE!!
I’m so tired of the rules, restrictions, attempts to control who I’m sexually or romantically interested in!!
I’m so tired of THEM voting on what my heart and my vagina (can) do.
I’m so tired of them approaching me despite the fact that my profile states clearly (because all my experiences have forced me to):
“WHILE I’M SEXUALLY CURIOUS ABOUT WOMEN, MY PREFERENCE FOR ONGOING RELATIONSHIPS IS (with) MEN….and I’m not a fast F*&k, or an EASY LAY….”
Still they overstep, ignore, and dismiss, anything I’ve said, for their own needs, wants, and desires.
Then, they lay their frustrations on me, and “my kind”, as if I/we don’t have any of our own.
I’m a HUMAN BEING.
I have a family. Even if I didn’t, I might one day want one, of my own. I am in love with someone who sees me as the PRIMARY person in his life. One day (we might) want that too.
I’m not 19, or just out of college, smelling like cucumbers and sunshine. I’m a powerhouse, a gladiator, a force to be reckoned with, and I am SICK TO DEATH of two people, I don’t even know, starting off the conversation with, “So, here are our rules.”; as if I’m just going to say, “OK!”, and bat my eyes like a kewpie doll.
I AM SICK of their insecurities. If their relationship isn’t already going the way it needs to, they have to be INSANE to think I’m throwing my hat in to that “mess”.
It would be nice, just once, to find a couple that was truly Polyamorous; who understood that I might desire intimacy with one and a relationship with the other; who understood that I have my own stuff going on, and that I like it that way; who can respect the fact that the only way they are going to be in my life is to see themselves as part of it…not the authors of it.
It would also be nice for them to stop calling me a “unicorn”, saying that I’m theirs, and start calling me Marcella, a person of her own regard.
by D. Marcella Lyles, M.Ed.