To steal from the alt.polyamory FAQ: 'Polyamory means "loving more than
one". This love may be sexual, emotional, spiritual, or any combination thereof, according to the desires and agreements of the individuals involved....'

Polyamory as defined by most people on the newsgroups and mailing lists on the subject requires everyone involved to know about and consent to the multiple romantic/sexual/whatever relationships that are going on.

Polyamoury is an incredibly difficult thing to pull off. It's also extremely rewarding when you do.

Consider: One must cope with all the normal tensions that a relationship puts upon two people, as well as all the tensions that the outside world (or living within it) puts upon a relationship. Then consider those tensions multiplied by the number of partners that one has.

Further, consider the additional tensions caused by the relationship between one's various partners, and the demands for time that each partner makes of one. Consider the time that it takes to truly get to know each partner. Already, it begins to look a bit more difficult than a monogamous relationship.

Finally, consider the inevitable jealousy and resentment that arise in a multiple-partner relationship. No matter that they are dealt with over time; until they are completely dealt with, they add stress to the overall relationship.

Scared yet? Well, it isn't all bad.

Temper those stresses with the joy and fulfillment of finding someone to love, multiplied by the number of partners that one has. Then add in the relationships that (hopefully) develop between one's various partners. Finally, add the wonder and joy of living one's chosen lifestyle. With luck, when you solve this equation, the value will come out highly positive.

It's hard work. Some of the hardest you'll ever do. But in the end, if you can make it work, it's wonderful.

I lay spooned into you on your bed. Your left arm across my belly while your right cradles the phone to your ear as you listen to your man. I am comfortable and warm, enjoying your closeness, and the feel of your desire.

I make a joke about how you are careful to not touch my breasts and you tell him you're awkward with girls. He responds and I feel your hand move to cup my breast. My heart beats faster and my breaths quicken. You are holding me, and he... somehow he is a part of it. He tells you more and I feel your hand squeeze and move. A little moan escapes me.

You know what you have done. You know what you have started. You tell him how you're turning me on, how you're going to let him go now so that you can finish what you've started.

This is polyamory to me. It is sharing me, and sharing you. It is being loved and loving and not limiting the size or shape of that love. It isn't about sex. It isn't about having someone to fuck. it is polyamory, amore, love. We may grow to four, or maybe to more, and some will wish they had what we have while others fear or decry it. We may find ourselves in pairs, We may find ourselves in triads. We may find ourselves in combinations we never expected with men and women. We may not all be in love with each other, but as long as we love each other and share openly of our hearts and each other we will have something beautiful.

Love shared, really, really, shared, multiplies and does not divide. when one partner spends time with another you are happy, because they love each other and they make each other happy and we all like to see the ones we love be happy.

A friend asked me a question the other day. She wanted to know how in the world it was possible to be polyamorous in the presence of jealousy. "Doesn't that contradict itself?" she asked. "How can you really love more than one person when there's jealousy around? I truly don't understand."

I paused for a minute. "You know how in a group of friends, you'll get really jealous when she spends more time with that other girl, the new one, than she does with you? How you get jealous when he goes off to talk to a different girl, even though you're not dating him, and don't want to it, still hurts?"

She thought about this for a second. "Yeah?"

"Well, there's jealousy there, in friendship alone. Right?"

I paused, and continued.

"Friendship's just another kind of love."

And she understood after all.

I recently discovered that I am, in fact poly. I always knew before, deep inside my heart, but I never had the word to place with the feeling. I always had this inner craving for multiple partners, but I allowed my environment suppress it…to extinguish it, like a child pulls a butterfly's wings off, so it won't fly away and leave them lonely

To me, polyamoryis just like communism. It's a damned good idea, but it will never work in the long run. Human nature will always eventually give in to jealousy, lust, and greed, and everything that was made that was so beautiful just comes crashing down, like castles made of cards.

Now, I sit here, listening to the music of Dralion, thinking, wondering what I am supposed to do now. I don't want to be poly…I have never seen an example of poly work. I am afraid from the pain I have experienced…I fear what my heart yearns for and I don't allow myself to reach for it. I know that I can be happy with just my love, and I don't need any more than her…but sometimes my inner self calls out for more. Sometimes I need the touches and love of someone else, and I don't like it…not at all.

I rock back and forth softly to the haunting melodies of the music, things zipping through my mind. I think of how I just want my masukomi and how I want others at the same time…and I hate myself for it sometimes. I wonder how I should deal with it all…I hope deeply that masukomi will always love me as much as she does now. I want it to just be her and me in a giant gossamer bubble…just she and I, happy in our marriage one day to come. And then, for some reason, I scold myself for being so damned young, engaged, and trying to have children, and yet thinking of wanting others. I really do hate being poly. I know I'll forgive myself, but I worry about how long it will take me to do so.

This may sound too obvious for words, but it's still important: the key behind making polyamory work is to be in a relationship where each person involved believes in the idea from the start. Pressuring somebody in the slightest to be involved in such a relationship is almost guaranteed to create resentment and unease.

For the potential polyamorist, remember: the vast majority of people are offended by the very idea of being openly in love with multiple people. This will make your pool of potential mates limited, even (or especially) if you are able to find one special partner who agrees to an open relationship. Think of how limited the options are for many gays and lesbians, and then realize that your options are perhaps even smaller. On the other hand, finding someone else for whom the idea makes perfect sense can be such a liberating experience that it can make the ensuing relationship exceptional even if it remains monogamous by default. In many ways, being with one other person who believes wholeheartedly in polyamory can be significantly more fulfilling than being with many people who are uneasy with it.

And hey, if you do find more than one person who fits this criteria, go you.

As a side note, probably the single best part about being in a polyamorous relationship with someone is the trust factor. Let's face it: if the person you are with not only doesn't hide from you the fact that he or she is sleeping with and/or in love with somebody else, but openly and joyfully proclaims it, then you can trust that person to tell you pretty much anything.

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