Polyamorous Relationship Q&A

January 1st, 2009 by Steve Pavlina

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about leaving monogamy behind in order to pursue polyamory, here are answers to some questions I’ve been asked. The last question is answered by Erin.

What effect will polyamory have on your marriage with Erin?

Since I’ve never done anything like this before, it’s hard to say. Surely it will create some new challenges to be dealt with.

Is it possible that this will lead to a break-up of our marriage? That’s a risk that can’t be denied. Maybe Erin will find it hurtful to see me in other relationships. If the reality of that becomes too much for her, then getting divorced is always an option, and we can go our separate ways.

The current reality is that I don’t want a divorce; nor does Erin. So it seems that going the polyamorous route is the best choice. Worst case, our marriage is unable to handle it, and we end up divorced, but that would have been the likely result anyway if polyamory wasn’t an option.

I can accept a separation and divorce if it happens. That’s a path I’d prefer not to take, but I’m willing to do it if it truly seems like the right choice or if Erin decides that’s what she wants. At this point though, a divorce isn’t something either of us want, so why worry about it?

I think the most likely outcome is that this experience will bring Erin and me closer together. Time will tell.

Would you want your kids to see you living a polyamorous lifestyle? How would you feel if one of them did the same thing? What kind of example would you be setting?

I don’t see any reason to hide it from them. I’d explain it to them to the degree I felt they could understand it. My daughter (age eight) would probably find it interesting, but I doubt it would bother her. My son (age five) probably wouldn’t care as long as I can still play Halo 3 with him. :)

I want to teach my kids to live consciously and make their own choices. So if one of them make some non-mainstream lifestyle choices like polyamory, I’d be happy for them if it was what they wanted. I don’t need my kids to turn out a certain way. Their path of growth will be different than mine, but I would love them no matter what.

I don’t think that being a good father is about teaching your kids how to be like everyone else. I think it has to do with teaching your kids to love and value their own uniqueness.

Note that our family lives in Las Vegas, not the Bible Belt. Lots of children here are being raised in non-nuclear families. Our kids have had many play dates with other children whose parents are divorced. In fact, I’d say that’s more common than nuclear family situations.

How would you feel if Erin went polyamorous? Wouldn’t you be jealous?

I can’t even fathom reacting with jealousy because jealousy is rooted in the consciousness of scarcity, and I simply don’t resonate at that level. I think of sharing love in terms of abundance, not scarcity.

If Erin wanted to make love to someone else, that would be wonderful. It would be great to see her and her partner happy. It’s a beautiful thing when people come together to share love with each other.

How could Erin’s decision to share her love with someone else possibly diminish me in any way? That kind of thinking comes from such a low-level place of neediness, I just can’t relate to it. It’s a totally alien mindset. It makes no sense if you welcome abundance into your life.

If Erin turned her attention to someone else and withdrew some of her attention from me, that wouldn’t upset me because I have limitless opportunities to invite love into my life whenever I want. How could I possibly feel lonely and disconnected on a planet of billions of people… unless I’ve intentionally chosen to cut myself off with a mindset of scarcity?

When Erin does her intuitive readings, she shares her love and connection with other people. These sessions can be very emotionally intimate. Should I feel jealous about that? Goodness no. It feels great to know that Erin is out there sharing her love and gifts with others. This doesn’t diminish me when this happens. It elevates all of us.

How would it be any different if she shared physical intimacy with other people? Why draw the line at physical intimacy but not emotional intimacy? Am I supposed to put Erin in a cage to keep her from loving other people?

The principle of Oneness says that we’re all part of the same whole. When two parts of that whole come together in love, it enhances the other parts. It doesn’t diminish them. If you’re feeling jealous, then you’re automatically out of alignment with Oneness, which means you’re headed away from positive growth.

Would you require your other relationship partners to be monogamous with you?

Of course not. That would be a double-standard. If I’m polyamorous, I’d be happy connecting with other polyamorous women as well.

If a woman wanted to be monogamous with me because it made her happy to do so, that’s fine, but this isn’t something I need.

Isn’t polyamory the same thing cheating on your marriage?

How can it be cheating if this is something Erin and I both agreed to? Obviously polyamory goes beyond the boundaries of a traditional monogamous marriage, but if we consciously redefine those boundaries ourselves, then it makes no sense to label it cheating.

Marriage is a human institution. Unconditional love is a spiritual truth. I’d rather align my relationships with the spiritual and not worry so much about the human-side labels.

Isn’t polyamory illegal?

You’re confusing polyamory (loving multiple partners) with polygamy (having multiple spouses). Polygamy may be illegal in the USA, although it’s still practiced in some areas like parts of Utah.

Polyamory is perfectly legal.

Do you think monogamous relationships are problematic in general?

I believe in conscious choice. I can see that staying monogamous is wrong for me at this time. You’re free to decide what’s best for you. I don’t think there’s one right answer for everyone.

The principle of Love says that your path of growth requires you to connect with your truest, deepest desires. You must move toward what you want. If you truly want to be in a monogamous relationship, awesome — move toward that. If you want to be polyamorous, great — move toward that instead. If you want to pursue a totally different path like celibacy, also great.

The only wrong answer is to turn your back on your heart’s desire. If you do that, you’re turning your back on Love, which will pull you out of alignment with the principles of Oneness and Courage too. In the long run, this will leave you feeling very disconnected.

I’m a committed Christian, and I can’t handle what you’ve written. I can’t watch you violate the Sacrament of Marriage. I’m unsubscribing from your blog forever. You will go to hell for your choices.

Spoken like a true Christian. Tell Jesus I said hi.

According to other Christians, I’ve been served up about a hundred other eternity-in-hell sentences, so this doesn’t really change anything.

I don’t suppose hell serves raw food, but I’m pretty sure demonesses are polyamorous.

And by the way, that wasn’t really a question. ;)

Why do you feel the need to love other people?

Love doesn’t like to be bottled up and confined. It has a tendency to want to expand.

I could shut down my blog and only share my writing with Erin. But I enjoy being a polyamorous writer more than a monogamous one.

It makes sense to me that I should share other forms of love with more than one person as well.

If I’m not selfish with my writing, why should I be selfish with other expressions of love?

What interest, if any, do you have in the seduction (pick-up artist) community?

A few years ago I had no idea that community even existed. What happened was that people from that community began taking an interest in my blog, probably sometime in 2005 or 2006. I started getting emails from aspiring pick-up artists who liked my articles. Eventually I was drawing a lot of interest from that community and was seeing my articles discussed often on seduction-related blogs and online forums.

This made me curious, so I began looking in that community in 2008, including reading some books like The Game. I met one of the people from that book several months ago, and I’ll be meeting another guy from that book later this month.

The seduction community has what you might call a dark side and a light side. The dark side teaches techniques rooted in deception to get women into bed. It’s partly about sex and partly about control and dominance.

The light side is about helping men become more authentic, to build social courage, and to feel good about the value they have to offer women.

Most of that community is stuck somewhere in the gray area. It’s not strongly polarized either way. Consequently, people are going to get a lot of mixed results when they try to apply it.

The light side of that community fits nicely with my work because it aligns with the core principles of Truth, Love, and Power. The dark side of that community is misaligned with these principles though. For example, I’d never encourage a guy to use an opening line that was a lie (such as “Hey, did you see the fight outside?”) because that would violate the principle of Truth. Using canned material is also very fear-based.

However, for many guys the seduction community is a path of self development and can produce many positive effects. What people get out of it has a lot to do with their polarity leanings. Are they trying to get something (sex, validation, attention) from other people? Or are they looking to reach out, connect, and share love?

I see many ways that I could expand on the material in the PUA community by helping to clarify a love-polarized model of connecting with people, enjoying relationships, and sharing physical intimacy. I’ll likely write something on this subject this year.

In terms of using PUA techniques in my own life though, most would be of limited use to me in terms of going polyamorous. Many of the techniques have to do with building self-esteem and feeling good about your value, which haven’t been issues for me personally. My challenges will likely be different than what most people in that community have to deal with, mainly due to my lifestyle. Perhaps my greatest relationship challenge would be to find a woman who’s compatible with me in terms of her values. For example, if I saw a woman eat a piece of animal flesh, it would gross me out, and I’d probably consider her unkissable. :)

A number of people I’ve connected with in the seduction community seem very conscious and growth-oriented, so I’m definitely open to meeting more of them. I prefer face-to-face meetings when possible — I do enough online communicating as it is. I’m meeting a few people from that community in Vegas later this month. I enjoy discussing social dynamics.

How does Erin REALLY feel about this?

Erin will answer that in her own words:

I know people are wondering how I feel about Steve’s desire to change our monogamous relationship into one that is polyamorous. I want to share with everyone how I feel about the situation and to answer some of the asked and unasked questions I’m sure are rolling around in people’s minds.

Steve and I have been in a committed monogamous relationship for nearly 15 years. We’re best friends, lovers, and partners with similar goals in life. We want to teach people to live consciously, to be loving, and to remember where they came from and who they really are. Part of that process includes bringing awareness to how we are socially conditioned to think, believe, and behave. It hasn’t always been easy living with someone who constantly wants to test his own boundaries, someone whose desire for personal growth supersedes all, and someone who does not care what others think about him.

The first time Steve challenged me was when he told me he wanted to go from being vegetarian to vegan and raise our future children that way. I felt threatened, I felt scared, and a part of me was angry about him wanting to change what was already so good. We nearly broke up over it. But one day I realized that I was rejecting something I hadn’t even tried, because of fear. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life time, it’s to never make decisions based on fear. So I told him I would give it a try for 30 days. Long story short, I went vegan quite happily, and we’re raising our children vegan today, without the fear that threatened me so long ago. I shudder when I think of what I could have denied myself just because I was afraid of change, afraid to test my boundaries, afraid to explore something new.

Many times over the years Steve continued to challenge himself and his personal growth. Going raw, trying polyphasic sleep, writing about very controversial topics, etc. Whenever I would balk or express concern he would remind me that I knew what I was getting into when I married him. Indeed, I did. Many times over the last 15 years I’ve had to ask myself this question, “Do you regret choosing this life with Steve?” The answer is no. I have no regrets. I chose to be with a powerful man on purpose. I chose someone like Steve because the path I’ve chosen for myself requires great courage, love, truth, and compassion. Courage was something I did not have when Steve first met me, but it is something I’ve been able to learn through him.

So now we come to love and intimacy. When I first met Steve he admitted to me that he didn’t know how to love. His upbringing simply didn’t include it. But mine did. I grew up in a very loving home, with parents who obviously loved each other. I was a very loving person. So when Steve told me he didn’t know how to love, I simply replied, “Then I’ll teach you.” And I did. Today Steve knows how to open his heart honestly and with great depth. So he taught me courage, and I taught him how to love.

Although Steve shares himself openly through his blog, he does not engage in intimate relationships with other people besides me. I’ve always thought this was a shame. I don’t want to keep him to myself. I want him to enjoy the connection and closeness that he has with me with other people too. I already have many intimate relationships with other people, though these relationships are not physically intimate. I’ve never felt a desire to have intimate physical relations with other people, but I have definitely cultivated intense and intimate relationships with men and women in ways that do not include sex. It’s very easy for me to connect deeply with other people. Steve has never tried to stop me or interfere with me having these relationships. They are friendships, but they are intense and deep relationships too.

Steve’s primary love strategy is physical affection. I know that intimacy for him is not complete unless there is physical touch involved. So I know that were Steve to develop intimate relationships with other people that it would be a natural expression for him to involve touch or even sex with other partners. I do not feel diminished by the idea of him sharing himself with another human being. Our love is secure and complete. Polyamory is an extension of our relationship, not a replacement for it.

Steve is not looking for one night stands or casual sex. He’s seeking greater intimacy with other human beings. Anyone that he brings into the relationship will be relating to me as well. He’s not going to hide what he’s doing and who he’s doing it with. The person or people he brings into the relationship will have to be mature, conscious, and understand exactly what they are getting into. I’m not opposed to exploring sex with other people should the situation arise. There’s a lot of unexplored sexuality in me as well, including the possibility of having sex with other women.

Is there some fear? Yes, there is some fear. My ego is having a field day with this one. “What if he finds someone he likes more than you?” “What if he stops spending time with you and the kids?” “What if someone comes along who takes him away from you forever?” Knowing it’s my ego talking to me, I can say back to it, “I know you’re trying to protect me from a future pain that you think is coming. I love and appreciate your desire to protect me, but there is no need. I will not dwell in fear.”

I took some time to connect with my higher self because I was more interested to hear what she had to say than what my ego had to say. We had a lovely conversation. Here is what she expressed to me:

Love is boundless and expansive. It should not be contained. It is not meant for love to live in compartments, but to be shared openly and honestly with all. The more that love is shared, the greater the unity among you. Marriage is a man-made construct, like religion or language. Anything that constricts love is not in alignment with oneness. You can never be diminished when love is shared. Indeed you are diminished when love is controlled or when you try to own another’s heart.

 

You came here to teach people how to love. Not just how to love one person, but to love all, including themselves. You have an opportunity to show people that love knows no bounds, to show people that love shared is love multiplied. You are love, and you are loved. Channel this message to others.

I have learned to put myself in a high state of awareness and consciousness whenever I need to process something that is causing me fear. If I stayed in my fear state, I would be very panicked and unsure of myself right now. When I remind myself that Steve is not taking his love somewhere else, but simply expanding his field to include others, I feel blessed to be with a man who has the courage to explore life honestly even if it means defying social norms. It’s all part of his path to make the world a more conscious and loving place.

Growth is not always easy, but it is always worth it.


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