Because of the recent events occurring in the world, I took a left turn for a bit concerning what I wanted to write about. Namely polyamory, and responsible non-monogamy. Now, I’m get back to it.
My wife and I are of two completely different minds regarding our sojourn into the world of polyamory. On one hand, we believe in total transparency with the world around us. On the other hand, she has a deep-seated fear of how the outside world treats those who view that world differently.
She is of the mind that polyamorists are one of the newer minority groups that will have to contend with getting their rights recognized. While I see her point, respectfully I disagree. I couldn’t care any less what someone thinks about the way I live my life. Granted, it’s not something I go out of my way to discuss with people, unless it’s within the confines of the conversation itself.
But, by no means am I someone who is in the closet. I am a bisexual, married polyarmorous male. This is who I am. Those who are supportive are absolutely invited to join me on the journey, and those who are judgmental can kiss the fattest part of my ass.
However, one of her fears actually has me a little bothered. I live (for the moment) in a rather screwed up area of Western Pennsylvania called Stoneboro. Mercer and Butler counties are traditionally conservative republican and even in the most liberal of areas in this state tend to look down on the poly people who are out and proud. The area actually treats gay with more respect that straight people who just happen to be sexually varied.
Which would be fine except for one aspect of our lives; our child.
There have been times where poly people have been taken to court because the lifestyle of polyamory has been deemed unsuitable for a child to be raised in.
First of all, there is no sexual activity in front of the child. If someone thinks that poly people simply go all horn-style in front of the kids, they’ve got some serious damn problems.
Anything that shouldn’t be done in front of children in a monogamous relationship still applies in polyamorous relationships. For example, kissing my wife is something I do in front of my daughter all the time. I want her to realize that her father LOVES her mother and is not afraid to show affection. Anything more than playful kisses are activities for the bedroom. Period.
My wife kisses her girlfriend in front of my daughter; because we want her to realize that she can love more than one person in that way. Again, anything more than that is taken into the bedroom out of the view of a four year old.
We cuddle on the couch, we watch movies we say, “I love you.” We say and do everything monogamous couples do, we just do them with more than one person.
Second of all, the standard for years upon years has been the traditional nuclear family. There is nothing wrong with this. But, as with relationships and shirt sizes, one size does NOT fit all. Provided the child is not learning any behavior that would endanger or otherwise harm another human being, on what basis would ANYONE have to say to another person, “the way you live is immoral?”
There are evolutionary and biological reasons for the nuclear family being the standard. Preservation of the species and all notwithstanding, as advanced human beings we have the ability to react against our conditioning to find the path that works for us.
For my wife and me, the exploration of different models of family has done nothing but fulfill our needs and make our love grow not only with each other, but with the entire world around us.
How could this possibly be an adverse environment for a child? How could the wholesale promotion and exhibition of love be anything but a boon to a child’s mental and emotional development? When she reaches puberty, the conversations our family will have with her (and we BOTH plan on having those conversations with her, not just one of us) are only going to deviate from the norm in such a way that she will need to realize that the way her mother and I live is not the standard average model for pair-bonding that has dominated for centuries.
She will need to make her own choices as to which path she will follow. She may find a different path neither one of us considered before and be just as different to our family model as we are to our parent’s model.
• We are teaching her to be accepting of everyone.
• We are teaching her that people have struggles and being nice to them is the very least you should do.
• We are teaching her that nothing in this world can’t be made better with coffee and conversation.
• We are teaching her that love comes in all shapes and sizes, like people.
• We are teaching her that how you feel is more important than the amount of money in the bank or the amount of material things you amass.
• We are teaching her that friendship requires a two-way street of communication, sympathy and empathy.
• We are teaching her that above all, harm no one, and be honest in all of your dealings.
• When she gets older, we will teach her that sex is not something to be ashamed of, it is something to be reveled in and is part of a mature, healthy and happy relationship.
• She will be taught about consent, and that she owes absolutely NO ONE access to her body without her wish.
That is the essence of responsible polyamory. If you have a problem with a child being raised with these lessons, then maybe the problem isn’t the poly people having all of their fun.
The problem is that if you have an issue with the way someone else lives their life, you should probably be paying more attention to your own. I’m not saying polyamory is for everyone, what I am saying is that how someone raises their children is none of your business.
Much love to all.
Photo: Getty Images