“To be polyamorous is to drink an emotional power shake daily, blended and stirred by love of various stages of depth, challenge, and development. The vulnerability, the gratitude, the humility and awe of such nourishment have brought me to my knees more than once.”
People say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I believe it takes a community to raise a relationship. I didn’t realize this until I stepped outside the institution of monogamy. Suddenly, there are no water cooler chats or casual advice given out in the coffee line-up, and very few films and books that reflect and validate your reality, that tell you “You’re okay and good for society.” Polyamorous folk need to actively seek out others who understand our joys and challenges, who love us and support what we are trying to build. Because there are times in any relationship when you need outside support. That’s where friends come in, where community steps up. We need others to believe in us. We need them to help us stay positive, to remind us how much we have already overcome and how much we have going for us. We need to feel them rooting for us. Sometimes a person needs to talk about a problem without having to explain the entire context first. Other times, it is as simple as being able to share your stories without facing judgment, censure, confusion or hostility.
Those who do not live the way I do often focus on what they imagine I get from multiple partners. Their first thought seems to always be the sex. They rarely think of what I give, of all the emotional output it takes to nurture multiple intimacies. I often contend with—and transcend—fear in its many guises, in myself, my partners and broader society. It’s challenging, certainly, more akin to being in a family than in a couple relationship. Often, it feels like being in a relationship with love itself. My life is rich, abundant, stimulating and rife with support, interaction, pleasure and growth—as well as the usual challenges of a relationship—times three. When Anxiety and I are dancing well, this life is deeply fulfilling, it connects me ever more deeply with spirit, the divine, whatever you want to call that numinous and primordial something that flows constantly and everywhere. When Anxiety is dominating our jagged tango, I flounder. Yet I don’t have a choice. I am of the nature to love multiply. All I can do is persist, keep building a life in which that quality is welcomed.
The above is an excerpt from Monica Meneghetti’s essay The New Sacred, as published in Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of Marriage, ed. Jane Silcott & Fiona Tinwei Lam (Caitlin Press, 2018).