How polyamory can help you overcome your insecurities
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For most of us, dating one person is hard enough. For others, it’s too easy. Enter: The Polyamorous.
Polygamy rebranded (and reconceptualised for the 21st century) the ‘poly’ community is a group of people who like to open up their relationships to include multiple partners.
But this is no simple friend with benefits situation: in a polyamorous relationship you could be seriously dating Crush Numero Uno (your primary partner), without feeling guilty about hooking up with a hot random at the bar on a Friday, or going on a casual
hump-day Wednesday date with a secondary, tertiary or quaternary (and so-on) partner.
Fun as this sounds, most of us lack the organisational, ‘flirtational’ and emotional skills to take even a cursory swipe at it. However, as polyamory is now something of a buzzword — when just 20 years ago it was virtually unknown — more and more people are trying it.
Shannon Ashley is one such person, who recently wrote a Medium piece about how she discovered polyamory wasn’t the pit of jealousy-denial and superficially-tiered dating most outsiders assume it is.
Whilst she is yet to take advantage of all the aspects polyamory has to offer, Shannon says that dating a polyamorous man helped her realise that polyamory doesn’t always end in you pining away for someone you can never really ‘have’.
This is all thanks to a man she met from Atlanta, who is now, “One of my (her) favourite people in the whole world.”
Despite him not being exclusive to her, she has “zero interest in pursuing any connection with anyone else”.
Of course, “That could change if a new connection presented itself,” she says, “But for now I’m at peace about my singleness and connection to Mister Atlanta because trying poly helped change the way I view relationships.”
Could this be the case for you? As inspired by Shannon and her experience, these are some of the signs you could benefit from a polyamorous relationship.
As Shannon points out, if you find yourself depending on your partner for your self-worth, going poly could help you learn to walk without this crutch.
“For the longest time, I lived for verbal affirmation from my partners. In fact, it used to dictate how I felt within the relationship and even how I felt about myself. So it wasn’t exactly healthy.”
“Looking over the trends in my past relationships, I can (now) see where I ran into problems with unhealthy expectations,” Shannon says. “I got carried away with wanting to know the people I cared about also cared for me too.”
“I love love. I love the idea of love. I have always wanted to love and be loved. So much so that I’ve prioritized it even when I shouldn’t.”
While there is definitely something to be said for being an optimist, taking a walk on the ‘wild side’ could help you on your journey to self-actualisation, so that if and when you find someone you want to be completely exclusive with, you are more ready for it.
As Shannon recalls, the most off-putting factor about polyamory “was how many men I’ve met who call themselves poly but only treat their primary partner well — if even.”
However, even though “there are way too many entitled ‘poly’ men treating partners like objects and gap-fillers,” that doesn’t mean the whole concept is flawed and there aren’t people out there doing it the right way.
You always need to be in control
“Falling in love with a polyamorous man helped me become chill AF.”
Of course, any man or woman is liable to make casual dating mistakes, but becoming polyamorous might help you relax about the little things a little more — or at least force you to work on your communication skills.
“Maybe it’s not specifically because Mister Atlanta is poly. But his poly nature forced me to deal with some of my relationship issues and move forward.”
The conclusion? It may not be for you. It may not even be for you to try. But if you are interested in dipping a toe into the polyamorous dating scene then you could learn more about yourself than you realise.