Monday, April 5, 2010

Walking Through Gardens

I believe character is illustrated through commitment and stamina.

Many examples come to mind. Runners who train hard and compete every chance they can. Writers who push themselves through thousands of pages of tedium and bore to earn their voice. The oldest among us returning to college so they might finally receive their degree.

And they may never win. They might never publish anything worth a damn. They may simply retire after earning their degree.

We are quick to relate success to trophies, medals, published books, diplomas; vestiges; artifacts; money; certificates and relationships. We find success in the trappings of what's found at the end of something than within something, as if the long process had little to do with the reward. The journey just a time before reaching our destination.

Nothing's easy. Relationships certainly. Polyamory more so. This isn't a lifestyle for wimps. It a exposes our naked vulnerabilities in very critical and painful ways to many people, and forces us to embrace ideas that others - monogamists - just shut out, ignore, turn-away from, or disregard because they are, in fact, overwhelming and challenging. It's an idea about Love where we might transcend the complex tapestry of ownership, jealousy, fear, anger, pettiness, and joy and see ourselves for who we honestly are. We embrace the difficult journey because of what we might learn on the road; in enthusiasm for who we might become.

My two best friends announced they were separating last week. There's nothing easy in that. Not for anyone. And there'd be those critics of Polyamory who'd look at a marriage at its end and say the outcomes speak for themselves; that the end was ruinous and the time spent within it was pointless. Polyamory didn't make things happily ever after; it was the instrument of catastrophe.

In retrospect, maybe I took the easier way out to end my marriages: drawing documents, setting timelines and court-dates, separating property. Relatively speaking, that was easy. Quick, efficient. The Law provides a means of resolving the matter. But it had little to do with my character.

The harder way would have been to stay, to listen, to work out the smaller of details, and try; push for a few feet and then be brought back a yard; to hear, be heard, and restate all of the ugly truths that make us cringe; to re-hash and re-think and recycle all of the pain. Easier to shut off the lights, close the door, and leave, than to stay. That's what I did. My friends did it differently, though. They tried, tried, and tried again. And in my own marriages, I did nothing of the sort. I wasn't that brave.

Inasmuch, I'd be the first to defend their character, and bear witness to their commitment and stamina. Their journey together will make their life apart even more fulfilling. And in my way of seeing things, there isn't an end here, but a maturing, an evolution, a change, that will grow something more between them than what was possible within the garden of their marriage.

I've no doubt: Polyamory ... flourishes.



Anonymous said...

Wow. You can hear the respect and devotion you have for them.

Anonymous said...

True, but it takes more than one person to try and work this out. If only one person is trying to improve the situation, you might as well give up because your efforts will be completely wasted.

Unknown said...

Love this. :)

Anonymous said...

First off, let me say that I am monogamous and have been reading your blog for about a year. I like the openness that the three of you seem to have, and I am very sorry to hear of the recent separation.

One of the reasons I continue to read your blog is because the three of you seem to have an ethical and honest approach to relationships. I am trying to learn and apply those principles in my love relationships, even though they are only one at a time.

I was disappointed to see your characterization of us monogamous folks as jealous, petty types who are too lazy to understand the complexities of the poly lifestyle.

Maybe, just maybe, we're making a conscious choice, just like you. It's just that our choices are different. :-)

polyfulcrum said...

For Anonymous:

I'm going to speak for S here a bit and say that he is sharing his own experiences in monogamy, certainly not generalizing to everyone who is monogamous.

What makes the difference for me is that whatever way you choose to love: celibacy, monogamy, polyamory, swinging, kink, whatever it is, is a deliberate conscious choice, and something that is paid attention and given effort.

My parents have a lovely monogamous relationship that has given me many of the skills that I value in myself as a poly partner, and I've seen them work at it.

Far too often, mono is not a choice, but a default, as with S's previous relationships, and going through the motions isn't the same thing as making conscious decisions, as you seem dedicated to doing within your own relationship. Kudos!

Thank you for the feedback. Hope you keep finding some value here for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Mono Anon again. Thanks for your response PF, but Simon's argument that poly takes more work than mono is specious at best. The work is different in both lifestyles.

Being monogamous takes different kind of work, and I know of some poly folks who, rather than work out their monogamous lifestyle, turn to poly as a default. And I've seen a handful of marriages fall apart because neither partner knew how to be honest and poly.

Sorry, but you lost a reader. Best of luck to you all.