These writings contain my experiences and opinions. The opinions are personal in nature, not professional. I am not a professional; I have no degree. These are the insights I have gleaned from living four years in a polyamorous relationship.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Walk Before You Fly

I was recently in a position, with a relative who had just learned of my lifestyle, where I pleaded, ďPlease just try to understand.Ē She didnít. Not even a little bit. In fact, she went from believing that I am a good, intelligent, moral, and kind person, to believing that Iím a bad, stupid, immoral, and dangerous person. One decision, with which she did not agree, totally erased 36 years of shared respect, tolerance, and familial love.

I have agonized and agonized over this, and Iíve just had a rather startling realization. We, such as anyone who leads any sort of alternative lifestyle, are asking for too much too soon. Most everything comes to be understood one baby step at a time, yet weíre expecting to jump off of a cliff and fly. It just doesnít work that way. We all plead for understanding in one way or another, and what Iíve just realized is that we need to start a few steps backówith acceptance. We need to start by asking people to not understand us, but to simply accept us.

There are a whole lot of things that I accept, but that I simply donít understand. Take religion, for example. Iíll never understand religion, especially Christianity, and I actually try. I donít understand why people need rules for them to know the difference between right and wrong. I donít understand why people donít actually believe in themselves enough to think that they can deal with their problems, so they have to turn them over to a god. I donít understand why people need the threat of hell in order to keep them from stealing and raping and just generally mistreating one another. I think that religion is, by and large, a crutch, and I donít understand why anyone with more than four functioning brain cells needs that crutch.

I do, however, accept those things and those people. I even love and respect some of those people. I accept that many people believe in something that they cannot see or hear or touch. I accept that many people need archaic and biblical rules in order to conduct themselves accordingly. I accept that many people need a god to believe in so that they donít have to believe in themselves. I accept that my aunt is a very religious woman, a good woman, and that sheís never going to understand me. I accept it all, and thatís what we need to be asking for as well. Acceptance.

You donít have to understand that I love more than one person. Just accept it. You donít have to understand that Iím married to more than one person. Just accept it. You donít have to understand that Iím intimate with more than one person. Just accept it. You donít have to understand why I donít feel the need to be someoneís everything. Just accept it. You donít have to understand that I donít need someone to be everything to me. Just accept it. You donít have to understand how or why my partners feel the same. Just accept it. You donít have to understand anything about all of this or anything about me. Just accept me as I am. Before you knew, after all, I was still living in this manner with these people, but in your mind, I was still an intelligent, decent person. All it took was an accidental slip of the tongue from someone else, and everything about me changed in your eyes. Letís back up. I (we) donít need for you to understand. I (we) just need for you to accept.

So many times, we also try and get people to agree with us. We want them to agree that what we are doing, how we are living, is okay. We want them to agree that this way of life is actually better. We want them to agree that society judges anyone different too harshly. We want them to agree to a lot of things. I think that asking for agreement is another example of jumping off the cliff and hoping to fly before weíve even taken the baby steps in order to learn how to walk. Instead of asking people to agree with us, with our thoughts, with our ways, maybe we should just ask for respect. You donít have to agree with my decision at all. I just ask that you respect my decision because you respect me.

The truth of the matter is, I donít understand you, but I do accept you. I also donít agree with you, but I do respect you. All that I (we) ask for, is that you return the favor.

PolyAnna; January 01, 2006

PolyAnna is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.


folks have read this article.