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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Polyamory is the ADD of Dating (Interlude with Tengger Cavalry)

My thoughts on polyamory are pretty solid and have not varied for the length of my existence. However, since I moved here to Seattle, countless acquaintances have brought it up in conversation and, in some way or another, have attempted to convince me to join the bandwagon. 

I want to preface this article by first saying that I do understand that true polyamory is a consensual decision between all parties involved. I understand that in rare cases polyamorous lifestyles can result in a stable and sustainable arrangement benefitting all parties involved. I understand this. That being said, I would like to share my true, instinctual, core beliefs regarding the subject.

If none of that interests you, then please feel free to stop reading here, and listen to this entrancing Chinese/Pagan/Folk/Black Metal band called Tengger Cavalry. Although based out of Beijing, China, their direct influences for the lyrical content and music comes from Mongolian cultures and shamanism; musical elements from Kazakh and Turkish nomadic folk music are also present¹. Any band that incorporates the use of Tuvan Throat Singing deserves a chance, don't they? Check it out! I would kill to see these guys live:


Tengger Cavalry - Wolf Totem
(the crossing guitars preview thumbnail is totally unrelated, btw...)

For those still interested in my perspective on the phenomenon of polyamory in modern society, please read on. 

It is my opinion that choosing to be polyamorous, or to engage in multiple relationships at once to fulfill one’s different and distinct desires, is an attempted shortcut to having your cake and eating it too. When one chooses to enter in more than one relationship, they choose to reject the possibility of being rewarded with benefits that only come with a committed, stable, and sustainable relationship. You can only feel so wanted by another person when they have their eyes on someone else for other needs that they fulfill: ones that you, for whatever reason, cannot satisfy.

It is not fair to you. It is not fair for you to watch your partner enable the Attention Deficit Disorder of dating. I understand that couples, or dating individuals, who decide to enter into secondary and tertiary relationships, do so in a mutual, consenting manner (or at least, ideally they do). If this is a positive experience for all parties involved, it probably sounds like sunshines and rainbows, doesn’t it? However, that’s where people like me come into play.

How am I ever going to find the one for me if everyone is dating each other, and simultaneously denying each other the possibility of dedication and unconditional love? I do not want to be lectured on “the benefits of polyamory”: I don’t want to be told that my past relationships have failed because “we didn’t explore other options”. Why? Because I choose to do what I do in my life. When you are in a relationship, your heart is closed off to new exciting opportunities to meet others. Yes, even in polyamorous relationships. You think that your heart is open because your legs/mouth/arms are as well, but emotionally you have already only semi-committed different aspects of yourself to your poyamorous parties.

I repeat, I don’t want to be told that my past relationships have failed because “we didn’t explore other options”.

What, we didn’t stoop to a level so lowly and desperate as to essentially cheat on each other to fulfill needs that we should be capable of fulfilling in our own relationship? That is your reason why my past relationships have not worked out for me? 


If we are not what we are looking for, then we break up and move on. Not only is dating multiple people psychologically draining, but stirring up drama is inevitable. For example, say a man really wants to date someone they care for, but this other person is not wanting to be exclusive for whatever reason (afraid of commitment, mommy issues, daddy issues, curious about polyamory, etc.). And say this man wants to respect their desire to explore polyamory. Thinking they are also okay with the idea because they will fulfill their desire to be with this one person, this man is making a severe compromise in order to enter this complicated relationship. (No, not everyone ends up making this compromise when exploring polyamory, but I guarantee you that two or three times the number of people you believe to be wholeheartedly okay with polyamory are actually not; just convincing themselves that they are).

Don’t be mistaken. There is a negative connotation to the word “compromise” for a reason. In the field of Communication it is known as the Cost-Benefit Analysis; the fundamental reasoning for what drives all conscious beings to act and think. Cost-Benefit Analysis is weighing out the pros and cons of a situation in order to decide whether or not to continue said situation, to enter a situation, or exit one and move on. You decide if there is more good than bad and act accordingly. (Not everyone gauges these situations in the same manner mind you, need I mention the vast amount of men and women who choose to stay in abusive relationships because they believe the love they perceive in the relationship to outweigh the emotional and/or physical abuse?)

When a conflict arises between parties, if it is decided that the pros outweigh the cons in continuing the relationship and there is a desire to resolve the conflict in a peaceful and beneficial manner, the two available conflict resolution strategies are Compromise and Collaboration.

 In daily conversation your friends and family may use the two terms interchangeably, but there is a real distinction that is worth noting. Collaboration is the most positive and beneficial outcome for both parties and satisfies both party’s needs and wants. Compromise on the other hand, although a positive resolution as well, is a solution reached by each party sacrificing something to reach the solution.

I often find myself intentionally reaching for the term “collaboration” in daily conversation because “compromising” is already so incorrectly ingrained in our colloquial vocabularies. But I know that in that exact moment it is not as accurate of a description as would be the term “collaboration”! If you take a moment to think about recent opportunities in which you could have benefited from choosing to say, “collaborate”, instead of “compromise”, would that have explained your intentions more accurately? Do you believe that you strive for compromise rather than collaboration? Do you prefer all parties to sacrifice some of their wants and desires for the common good, rather than working together to meet everyone’s wants and desires for the common good? This is it! Collaboration! This is having your cake, and eating it too!

Polyamory is just another word for Compromise in the world of relationships. All parties sacrifice something that they desire in order to pursue a few of the benefits seemingly easy to obtain this way. Why don’t we strive for collaboration? Why don’t we say, “Hey! I’m not digging this relationship 100%. I deserve 100% happiness, and so do you! We should part ways, and I will continue to search for the one person who will satisfy all of my needs, and you will continue the search for the one person who will satisfy all your needs!”

Yes, breakups are hard, but polyamory is not the secret door to finding the unconditional love we all instinctively desire. In fact, polyamory is the definition of conditional love. It says, “I cannot love you unless I love these other individuals as well”. You are only 2 of the 5 interlaced fingers holding hands: just the afternoon delight of the weekend retreat. It says that you are not enough. I repeat: it tells you that you are not enough.

You are always enough. You need to remember that you are enough for yourself, you are self reliant, and you are independent. Independent. If you cannot comfortably describe yourself as possessing these qualities yet, then strive to reach this state before sharing your incomplete self in a relationship. You are amazing, you deserve the best, and you deserve to find your sweetheart; who also believes you deserve 100% attention, 100% dedication, 100% passion, and 100% unconditional love. 

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