Loving Polyamorously; A postscript
by Somerset

Somerset is a man in his seventies who has only recently begun to search for compatible women for open relationships. He prefers sexual variety and treasures his independence. This is the postscript to his seven article series exploring open relationships. The entire series is archived for reference.

In the Overture article of my Potentially Polyamorous series, I included this passage about Shirley, “She says she is not a jealous person and doesn’t want either of us to ‘fall in love’ or feel tied to each other but feel free to have other friends. Her reason, she says, is that she doesn’t want either of us to end up with a broken heart. Shirley continues, ‘I'm not going to cut myself off from some wonderful loving because you happen to meet someone else you're sexually attracted to … at the same time I'm not one to sneak around or hide my relationship with someone, so if you meet someone else she'd also have to be agreeable to us retaining our relationship or we would no longer have sex even tho we remained friends.’

I have the greatest difficulty in complying with Shirley’s wish that I don’t ‘fall in love’ since I have completely lost my heart to her even though I fully agree that neither of us should “feel tied to the other but should feel free to have other friends.” For sure, neither of us wants to possess, or be possessed by the other; in the words of Doug Horton, “If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it. If it comes back, love it forever.”

Asking me not to fall in love with her is asking the impossible. For me, to love a woman is to respect her autonomy, to care about her, to want to share many of the joys and sorrows of life with her, and in particularly to love her and be loved by her in sexual ways, recognizing that it is possible for either or both of us to love others this way too.

It is entirely possible that one of us may end up with a broken heart. I know that neither of us would purposely cause that to happen, but the vicissitudes of life often bring about conclusions that are unplanned and unexpected. That is a risk I’m happy to take, for the rewards are exquisite.

So it is not necessary that Shirley fall in love with me. I’m delighted to be able to express my love for her in whatever ways I find will bring her pleasure. That brings me pleasure too and so is sufficient.

I find myself in agreement with Kahlil Gibran, who describes love this way, “For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. … But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all your tears.”