Love takes many forms. Not everyone agrees or understands the forms it sometimes takes on. This is part of the amazing experience of being a diverse and fascinating speciies!
In this very important time where marriage lines are being redrawn and Love is being more accepted in all of its forms and configurations, this seems like a good time to bring this discussion forward. I dream of a world where we can openly talk about our own personal experiences and realities and learn from each other, rather than judge each other or anyone different as “right” or “wrong”. When it comes to mutual love, I don’t see “wrong”. (Keep in mind, the key word here is mutual. This does not apply to any situation where one person forces their will onto another, manipulates or otherwise coerces someone into something that they would not have chosen otherwise. Yes, pedophiles, abusers and rapists, I am talking directly to you).
Intimate and committed relationships are not limited to the coupling of a man and woman. They are not limited to same-sex genders either. All people are human and humans have a built in need for connection, care and love. Your genitalia does not change that, neither does your gender identity. Welcome to the beautiful, diverse, amazing experience of human beings – where everyone matters and everyone wants the same thing: Love. For some, Love does not always mean being limited to two people either. Monogamy just simply doesn’t work for everyone no matter how many times we have all been told that a committed intimate relationship includes “foresaking all others.”
There is a growing number of partnered relationships that have been coming out of the shadows and bravely stepping into the light. They have always existed, but rarely openly. They are not made of two people and they are not associated with a religious belief or faction (I am not talking about Sister Wives here). They are people who have found love that has expanded upon our typical view of a “couple”. They are threesomes, or more; they are polyamorous (meaning love with more than two), or “open” relationships.
In Pamela Haag’s book, Marriage Confidential (published in 2011), she estimates that 5% of American marriages are “open”. What is also especially interesting is that the majority of polyamorous relationships interviewed in her studies and in the studies of Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, did not start out with a plan to have an open relationship. (See how this is different from a man who grows up expecting to have many wives?). For many couples, the idea of allowing someone else to come into their private and previously monogamous life happened in an unplanned kind of way. Basically, one or both partners ended up falling in love with a third person (man or woman). Instead of ending the first relationship, all partners agreed to expand it instead.
That’s the funny thing about love, sometimes it doesn’t play by the rules; and sometimes the best way to manage is to change the rules.