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.

Poly Professionals

Once again I have sat and agonized over what it is that I should write this month. I couldn't do it last month, at all. I thought that my world was pretty much finished falling apart, but I was mistaken. Since we've last spoken, my entire relationship with Hubby has ended, as well. I’ve been unable to even be here and discuss this. The knowledgeable PolyAnna had failed. All the advice that I had given amounted to a whole lot of nothing. Who would want to listen to me now? It’s obvious that I didn't/don't know what I was/am doing. Right?

Wrong, actually.

This is where poly professionals come into play. At a terribly desperate point, a point where I felt like I wasn’t going to make it another day without some immediate intervention/help, I decided that I had to seek out a counselor. I had all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t do it though…too hard, too much back story, too difficult to explain the entire concept of poly, too much risk of being judged based on my lifestyle, no money, on and on and on.

Then it dawned on me that if I could find someone who was at least poly friendly, I’d eliminate all but one of the obstacles I had before me. Then in something like a flash of pure brilliant illumination, I remembered that I know of an actual practicing poly counselor not even 20 minutes from my own home. Remarkably enough, I met and interviewed (and very much liked) this man, almost a year ago. I met this man through and because of this website in fact, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

I’ve seen him several times now, and already it’s helping. It was so good to not have to try and defend my lifestyle, my relationship(s), my choices, my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. It was so good to be able to jump into the whole story without having to try and make someone understand how I got there in the first place. It was so good to not have to hear something akin to, “Well, what did you expect? There were three of you, after all, and you know that’s not how things are supposed to work.” Dispensing with all of that nonsense allowed me to be able to immediately focus on the problems at hand, and that in turn allowed me to immediately focus on what I should do about them. I’m already beginning to recognize my own patterns at work in my life. While these patterns are driven by pure love and compassion, they are self-defeating nonetheless, and they repeat themselves over and over and over again.

I never would have arrived so rapidly at this point with a more conventional counselor. In fact, (ex) Hubby started with some counseling of his own before I started with mine. This is what eventually led him to the belief that the only thing he could do to salvage his marriage was to break it off with me. He listened to weeks of, “Two relationships just won’t work. You know that’s not how it’s supposed to be. What did you expect?” Finally he had to believe the societal programming. Someone with Ph.D. behind her name was telling him so, so it had to be true. Right? Thankfully, I found a professional that did not lead me down that path. While it doesn’t really hurt any less, and while I’m going to be a long time in healing from this pain, and while I’ll probably always love a man who shattered my heart, I do have some hope that eventually I will heal enough to move on with my life, in a much saner and healthier manner.

Last week I found myself proclaiming to the world at large that not only was I not poly, I wasn’t monogamous either. I had determined that I needed to be asexual and that I no longer believed in love. Love multiple people? Hell no, because I didn’t even believe I could love one person, let alone more than one. I tried to sell this to myself, and I didn’t even realize that I didn’t believe a word of it. I still love (ex) Hubby. I still love (ex) Wife. I still actively love another man, as well. However, I shut those facts out of my mind in order to shut some of the pain out of my heart.

Then yesterday I found myself offering…not advice exactly, but opinions…to someone I care about very much. Opinions about poly. Opinions about love. Opinions about the human condition in general. I declared that you can’t make yourself NOT feel something that you actually feel, that it takes some people a long time to actually “get” poly because of the years and years of societal conditioning that must be overcome, that it’s hard and painful work but when it does work, it’s really worth all of the effort you poured into it, that sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes it does, and when it does, it’s phenomenal.

After I hit the “send” button on that particular email, I immediately wished I could take it back. I thought, “Good grief, Anna, you are such a hypocrite.” However, it wasn’t even a minute later when the following thought ensued, “No, you are NOT. Surprisingly enough, despite everything that’s just happened to you, you really do believe every word you just said. Every single word of it.”

And I do.

I believe that it’s not only possible, but absolutely natural to intimately love more than one person.

I believe that monogamy is an unnatural state of affairs.

I believe that it’s impossible to make yourself feel (or stop feeling) what you feel for another human being, or for multiple other human beings.

I believe that poly is A LOT of work. But you know what? I believe that, in some ways, monogamy is even harder work. Let’s face it, successful relationships in general, no matter what the flavor, are hard damned work.

I do believe that poly works. If you work it.

I believe very strongly in the need for poly (or poly friendly) professionals…doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists/therapists/counselors, teachers, etc. etc. I strongly strongly suggest that when in need of a professional, you work very hard to seek out one that is at least sympathetic to your lifestyle. You’ll be surprised just how willing they will be to work with you, no matter what your financial restrictions. It makes all the difference in the world. It really does.

PolyAnna’s back, folks.

She’s hurt, and she’s confused, and she’s working on a lot of issues. However, she’s learning as she goes—just like everyone else here—and she’ll mend. And when she does, she’s gonna be stronger than ever!

PolyAnna; October 07, 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.


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