In the past few weeks I have highlighted the issues that come up in polyamorous relationships, common issues to communicate on, and this week I am highlighting the benefits of being poly. There are benefits, despite all of the ups and downs of poly, of the lifestyle. The benefits, in my opinion, outweigh the negatives in most cases.
1) A Support System
When I moved out on my own, I had very few connections to the community. Being someone who is curious about most things, I took the initiative to find out what was in my new community for kink and poly activities. There have been more than a few benefits of this. There are monthly activities that are available to me, and the friends whom I have met look out for me not only at events but also when I have personal issues, and I have made some really great friends.
Friends also do not only have to exist in your local community. There are many events, like the Transcending Boundaries Conference in Springfield, Mass.; the 18-plus Winter Fetish Flea Fairmarket, held in Providence, R.I. every February; and the 19-plus Brimstone, held in New Jersey. Being able to connect to friends, even for one weekend, can make that weekend special and help you gain "con friends" that you see during these events.
Finding support systems can be somewhat difficult for people who live in more conservative areas. I would strongly suggest using Google to come up with some kink sites in your area. You may not be kinky, but because of how small and tight-knit communities are, there is a good possibility that if you find kink, you will find poly.
2) Not Limiting Love
I may not love love everyone in my circle. I do feel allowed to have feelings for other people, including friends, which would be questionable in a monogamous relationship. I am able to share love with people who may not be my committed partner, and I am allowed to have more than one committed partner -- or not have a committed partner at all. There is not a push to be everything to one person, to move along a path where I ultimately become a girlfriend immediately, or try to be someone I'm not.
Commitment is not the issue. I know plenty of friends, and partners, who do have committed relationships, who live with each other, or who are married to each other. But why limit love if you can have the opportunity to love more?
3) "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child"
I have been in a few relationships with partners who were parents. Because I do not want children anytime soon, it was an opportunity to be involved in a child's life and still have my single-girl lifestyle. A while back I was involved with a couple in which the female part had younger children. I am very open about being pansexual (or, as I put it to kids, "I like everyone"). The ability to be part of their education on accepting other people was rewarding, as was taking on responsibility for the upbringing of the children.
Cohabitation is another benefit. Creating an environment that allows people to be themselves and still allow growth is an ideal living situation. There is more than one way to do this. Some poly families can live in one house; others live in duplexes where there are private entrances; and some groups have their own different houses all together within a close area and have a common bank account.
There are some fallbacks. If you are very sexually active, there is a need to be discreet. It is illegal to put children in situations where they are exposed to sexual activity. In separations there has been a long history of partners parading the other's dirty laundry out in public to make a case for custody battles. Even if children are not involved, living with more than one partner could lead to adultery finger-pointing and can lead into sticky situations with prenups.
4) "She/He Is My Surrogate _____"
I live a good four hours away from any blood family. I am also a klutz when it comes to staying out of the hospital. In the past year I have been in the ER three times; I have had a major operation and countless physical therapy and check-up appointments; and I have needed help doing daily activities off and on. Having poly partners and friends, I am not afraid to ask for help from various people, and I have been lucky that someone will step up if I need to be picked up at the hospital, driven to the hospital, or have some chores taken care of.
Some hospitals are picky about who can see patients. In my region it's very common to have same-sex relationships, and the main hospital in the region allows the patient to decide who stays with them during procedures. I have been blessed by the fact that I do not feel alone when I do something and need help. If there are concerns about your partners or close friends being allowed, especially those who aren't married to you, there are ways around this, including legal documents naming beneficiaries and also health proxies.
What are you grateful for in your relationships as a monogamous or polyamorous couple? Feel free to share what is on your mind!
Please note I am presently not employed or volunteering with any of the events mentioned in my blog today.