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25 October, 2010

A Moment of Luminosity

Recently, I noticed myself starting to feel oddly ... monogamous ... while spending time with Margaret, who's -- depending on your definitions -- approximately my primary lover. When I investigated my feelings, I noticed something that made me feel more confident about my practicing polyamory. Intrigued? Then read on, O traveler of the blogosphere.

When I say that I seemed to be feeling unusually monogamous, what I mean is that I felt content. The two of us would curl up together and exchange words of affection, and I felt as if I didn't need anything more out of love. When I noticed that feeling, another one cropped up: guilt. If I felt complete, my emotions told me, wasn't I disrespecting or devaluing the other people I love? What if I felt this way with one of them; what would that, then, imply about my relationship with Margaret?

Putting a little more thought into it brought out a small revelation. Feeling content didn't denigrate my other relationships. Rather, it indicated something about my motivations. Specifically, it implied that I didn't have multiple relationships because one relationship wasn't enough. I didn't shop around the block because I wasn't getting enough at home or, to look at a more alarming possibility, because of some emotional pathology that prevented me from being satisfied. Instead, I realized, my contentedness was evidence that I pursued each of my relationships as things in themselves. I was content while with Margaret because I love her, because something about our relationship is worthwhile; I maintain and pursue other relationships because those dyads are also ends unto themselves. In short, the fact that I could feel content with one of my lovers just speaks to the relationship's health.

This seemed important to me. I imagine that I've said something along those lines before, and well-reasoned words are useful, but an emotional realization is far more useful, since it allows me to be more honest with myself about my own motives and about why what makes me happy makes me happy. Like monogamy, the various styles of non-monogamous relationships can be done in healthy or unhealthy ways, and it's nice to find evidence that I'm in the healthy side of the camp. I'd thus like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation: why not take a moment to investigate why what makes you happy makes you happy? I hope you'll enjoy what you see; if not, the next step is probably to take a look at that reaction. Those of you who have it all figured out are invited to mention it in the comments below. I love hearing about what's happening in other folks' minds, and maybe some future visitor will find your process enlightening.