Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Polyamory Anyone?

I found this article in the New York Times Style section called "Hopelessly Devoted to You, You and You"kind of depressing. You can read the article here.

The article details this New York couple who practice what is called polyamory, which means they maintain multiple steady relationships. I find this amazing, since I'm having a hard time finding one person that I want to spend a lot of time with, let alone 3 or 4. I just don't see how this is doable given the nature of humans, and messy things like emotions. My favorite part of the article was where Diana Adams gets upset because her boyfriend bought his other girlfriend a better toothbrush than he did her. Seriously this is what you get upset about? According to the article both the Diana and her boyfriend Ed are bisexual. He has a boyfriend out of town, and she has two women that she sees besides him. So each are seeing three people steadily. When do they have time to see their friends? Or their family? Or work for that matter? How do they keep everyone straight? Not that I'm knocking them. If it works for them, more power to them.

Tilda Swinton, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, is very open about the fact that she has a partner that she shares a home with in Scotland, the father of her two children, but she also has a yonger lover who travels with her. Even Carla Bruni Sarkozy, before she met and fell in love with the President of France, had expressed her support for open relationships. The whole thing reminds me of this book I read as a teenager called The Harrad Experiment, which was a college where the students were encouraged to have multiple relationships. The book was written in the 1970's back in the day when Erica Jong was writing about the 'zipless f*&k' and the sexual revolution was still raging.

I confess in my misspent youth I once tried to date two guys steadily at the same time and it was a total disaster. I had read one of those dating books by Myreah Moore that said you should always have a spare around, that old 'don't put all your eggs in one basket' kind of thing. She didn't say anything about what you are supposed to do when you end up having deep feelings for both men, and how hard that is, and how even though you are dating two people, the idea of them dating anyone fills you with unspeakable rage.

I was very open with both men about the fact that I was dating them both, also that I was still going to go out on blind dates. Ah, the arrogance of the young. It was at a stage in my life when I was basically saying yes to anyone who asked me out. I finally had to make a choice. I couldn't keep on this way, so I finally sat down and decided who was better for me in the long run, who did I really consider to be my boyfriend? And I chose. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'm just not built to have multiple relationships.

And I'm not sure in this day and age they really work all that well. But that's just me, I'm still old fashioned enough to believe in one man/one woman or one man/one man or one woman/one woman. Maybe that's why I read romances.


Kwana said...

Get outta town about Tilda! What!
I can see dating around. I'm fine with that but settling down with multiple partners to me means you're not committing to anyone and not truly in love with anyone. Call me old fashioned but that's the way I see it. Sounds like swinging to me.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I agree with you Kwana. Trying to make a relationship work with one person is challenging and demanding but worth it. If you have to go outside your relationship to fulfill your needs, then perhaps you need a new relationship.

And yes, it is swinging. Thank god the couple in the article aren't married.