In a Poly Perfect World...
I realized he was right.
Who do polyamorous folk look up to for examples on how to have a healthy and happy relationship with the multiple loves in their lives? Will Smith and Jada Pinkett admitted last year to having an open relationship that allows them to date other people, while remaining happily married to each other. (www.femalefirst.co.uk/celebrity/24732004.htm) However, it was barely noticed in the US and few people I’ve talked to had any idea about this side of their favorite actor and his actress wife.
The majority of polyamorous relationships are kept relatively quiet. Why? Because our society generally frowns on any relationship style other than monogamy. Even monogamous gay couples are achieving socially acceptable status in many areas of the country, simply because their committed relationships mimic traditional marriages that conservatives feel comfortable with.
A huge number of people have never heard the term polyamory nor have any idea what it means. Frequently it is confused with polygamy and associated with the fundamentalist Mormon sects that force underage brides to marry older men and share them with additional wives. Or, it is thought to mean that a person simply has sex with everyone. It can be difficult to explain what polyamory really is when it is such a relatively new concept for someone and they have misguided preconceived associations to influence them.
“The only cure for ignorance is education.” – unknown
I decided it was time to do something about it and opened up to anyone and everyone about being polyamorous. I wrote about my issues and relationships in a public blog that eventually turned into a column. Answered whatever questions came my way and relished the opportunity to enlighten those who wanted more information. I came out to my mom and friends, and introduced my boyfriend to them, with my husband and daughter joining us. Those who know me now know I am polyamorous and what that means for me. I am completely open about it and my life in general.
However, it’s not enough. I want to encourage others to be more open about being polyamorous, as well. That means providing means of support: finding businesses that will publicly acknowledge their poly friendliness and encouraging polyamorous folk to reward them for this by choosing their services; providing a list of resources through poly friendly professionals (i.e. physicians, counselors, real estate agents, massage therapists, etc.) that will allow poly folk to talk openly about their lifestyle and not fear discrimination or disapproval; posting and reviewing lists of movies and books that relate to the polyamorous lifestyle, and encouraging the publishing and entertainment industries to produce more polyamorous themed material; providing links to relationship networks that include or exclusively cater to the polyamorous lifestyle; and including every piece of news, study, or related information that I can find that will help to keep the polyamorous community prepared to educate their peers and neighbors when someone asks them: “What is polyamory?”
Polypositivity.net is my strategy to achieve all this and more. A website in its infancy, open to the ideas, input and suggestions of all who want to see polyamory become a socially accepted and supported relationship style. Let’s show the world that polyamory deserves recognition and respect, and what we, the polyamorous community, and our supporters can do.
Email your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.