Multiple times in the past week or two, I’ve had someone say to me that they are put off by self-described Polyamorous people because they feel like, as a group, we’re arrogant and self-congratulatory. This is understandably hard for me to hear. But interestingly, it hasn’t made me feel particularly defensive. I’ve identified very strongly as Poly for a significant amount of time, but I’m not offended when I hear statements like that.
No, it’s hard for me to hear because I agree with them.
How many times have you heard someone say that Polyamory is more difficult than monogamy? Or that it’s not for the faint-of-heart? Or that everyone is really Poly deep down? Or, for that matter, that Polyamory is more evolved?
I hear these things all the time. On blogs, on television, in person. Sometimes it’s cloaked in a veil of “I’m-pretending-I’m-joking-even-though-I-really-do-mean-what-I’m-saying.” Sometimes it’s more blunt. I’ve absolutely been guilty of it myself, and yes, within the past week. Regardless, I’m sick of it.
Polyamory isn’t inherently more difficult than monogamy. It doesn’t inherently require more self-reflection or work. It certainly isn’t more evolved (in fact you might say Sex at Dawn is devoted to the argument that it’s less evolved). Poly might seem harder, because it’s not the default. But if you ask me, monogamy is pretty difficult too – and though the work required is different, and might come at a different time, I don’t think I can convincingly say the quantity or difficulty is less. Hello, divorce rates?
The Poly community spends a lot of time whining about how the monogamous world doesn’t understand us. This sentiment isn’t entirely wrong. But too often, it’s spoken by someone who isn’t making an attempt themselves to understand the monogamous world. Derisiveness and superiority are easy places to travel to, but they don’t move the conversation forward, and they won’t help our perspective get heard.
There are so many entirely valid reasons to be monogamous and to live within the framework of today’s society. The arguments aren’t compelling for me, but for most people they absolutely are. Please, let’s all listen for them, and acknowledge them, and strive to understand them. For it is only then that we will be able to justify asking to be heard and acknowledged and understood ourselves.