why i hate polyamory

But first, an update: 

You haven’t heard from me here in a few weeks, and that’s honestly because I haven’t been riding the subway. Rush hour in NYC - the energy and momentum is palpable and somehow my brain fogs everything else out of focus and I’m inspired. I commute approximately one hour to my job in midtown, then one hour home to BedStuy Monday - Thursday. That’s at least eight solid hours a week I spend reading and writing. Riding in close quarters with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers every day is, in theory, my personal hell. The smells, my fellow disruptive passengers, the fights, the obnoxious conductors - how I miss it. I never thought I’d have an affectionate longing for a stalled train, a sick passenger, an airconditionless car, a time before the pandemic.

I haven’t been doing ANYTHING since this started except watching shows and walking my dogs. My process is broken, and that’s OKAY!!! BUT it is forcing me to reset my status quo. Last night I was talking to my girlfriend about this and she told me I’m resisting a new normal, that I have to accept what’s happening so I can reset my process. She’s right - we’re all hoping this is just a pause button, but I can’t rely on getting back on the subway to work and jamming away at my Google Doc while people around me yell “Move in!” any time soon. 

Before I move on to the meaty stuff - I am in no way promoting productivity during a global pandemic. I’m just mourning my normal routines. Being forced to stay home is not a terrible thing, but I like writing and reading and I want to find a new rhythm for doing those things again. 

Why I hate polyamory

Don’t be confused, everything I wrote in Linked is true, I love being polyamorous. But sometimes having multiple dates or relationships or just being a slut in a world obsessed with monogamy is pretty HARD. It’s also fun to make fun of yourself sometimes because what’s worse than taking this all too seriously? I’ve been compiling this list in my head for a very long time and here, I present to you, my first listicle on why I hate polyamory! 

  1. Everyone else thinks you’re cheating! Being affectionate in public with your boos when you frequent regular establishments like restaurants, coffee shops, or bars might have the staff wondering which of your partners is being cheated on. Maybe it’s just me projecting, but I swear I’ve gotten the confused look from restaurant staff before. Yes, they know about each other! I live on a rowdy block where everyone is always outside and I wonder what kind of gossip circulates about my visitors. A few years ago my landlord (who lives upstairs) made a comment to me about how her husband noticed all the pretty ladies that are always going in and out of my apartment. I laughed pretty hard. I could have explained the polyamory thing, or I could have told them I converted the half bedroom in my apartment into a dungeon and the pretty ladies that visit me are coming to get tortured. 

  2. People think you’re lying! So this one applies mostly to acquaintances that you don’t really need to have a whole “coming out” moment with. For example, many of my coworkers have heard me tell very different stories about my girlfriend and they either think I’m lying, that I have the single most talented girlfriend in the whole world, OR I refer to my friends as “girlfriend.” My girlfriend is a hairstylist, my girlfriend owns a catering company (we should hire them!), my girlfriend is a tattoo artist, my girlfriend does my nails, I’m going on vacation with my girlfriend while my girlfriend watches my dogs, my girlfriend has an art exhibit, etc. No one ever asks for clarification so honestly who knows what they assume!! 

  3. The reputation precedes us. There are so many people who give polyamory a bad name, but no one thinks of all the people who give monogamy a bad name. When people find out you’re polyamorous, they usually have a reference point of some Tyler who was using “polyamory” as an excuse to date lots of people and treat them like shit. It’s hard to change a first impression and it sucks that bad experiences with polyamory ring louder and hit harder than bad experiences with monogamy. Why is that?

  4. Projecting the dominant narrative, or just plain projecting, onto everyone. Assumptions are super annoying all the time, but the dominant narrative about polyamory is extra annoying. The projection just feels more extreme when it’s a non-dominant lifestyle. Everyone assumes that we all have a primary partner then a bunch of side pieces. Everyone assumes that we are just riddled with jealousy 24/7. Everyone assumes we’re free loving hippies who have polycule orgies all the time. Make it stop! A few months ago a reddit post went viral where a happy person posed next to her poly-threesome snack table. IMO it looked really nice and sweet and for some reason the internet tore her apart both for her snack choices and the polyamorous threesome. People were really uncomfortable with what was happening and I think it’s because most people could never imagine themselves in that situation so they had to tear her down.

    “I would be so happy if someone invited me over for sex and surprised me with chips.”
    - Kala

  5. The girlfriend bro down. When people know you’re polyamorous and your partners are free to date whoever they want, some weird shit happens! I have experienced several times from other people who claim to be polyamorous some uncomfortable conversation that I call “the bro down.” It makes my skin crawl. One woman cornered me at a party to tell me how she thinks my girlfriend is so hot and how she’s thought about asking her out but she’s too nervous and if I thought she should and what she might say. I’m not a dating service or your hype man. Another person asked to do a photo shoot with me and my girlfriend separately. They did a shoot with my girlfriend the week before and had asked her on a date. When I ended up shooting with them, they tried to have a full on conversation about how hot my girlfriend is, which I quickly shut down. Just because someone is free to date who they want, it doesn’t invite disrespect or awkward conversations asking for pointers about how to best get in someone’s pants. 

  6. You’re forced to do the work. You know all those emotional issues you’ve been hiding from? Surprise, they’re here and in your face all the time. Odds are that if someone wasn’t in therapy before embracing polyamory, they are now. It’s great because working on yourself, unlearning toxic monogamy, and sifting through your trauma history ultimately make you better for yourself and for your partners. It’s annoying because damn, can we just have a break?!?!

  7. The language I get the need to describe new things that don’t exist in monogamy, but who exactly made these words up? Straights, I’m looking at you! If there’s one word that makes me start vomiting even before it leaves my tongue it’s metamour. Other awful words are polycule, fluid bond, compersion, nesting, v o m i t. And sometimes, when the universe wants to give me a special treat, I see people identify as “polyglamorous.” 

  8. Processing Ok so we’re already gay, which means we’re already processing. Let’s throw in being non-monogamous with multiple dates, FWB, play partners, and tons of grey area situationships. And let me remind you again that we’re gay so at least one of us is a therapist, and one of us is an empath, and suddenly what people think is just wild orgies all the time is actually a large percentage of talking about our feelings. It’s exhausting! 

  9. Scheduling The source of all my anxiety - scheduling! I’m a firm believer that time breeds intimacy. I don’t share calendars with anyone (see #10) so I realize that I am effectively making my life harder. Trying to balance your own schedule, life, friends, work, etc, and then fit in enough time with multiple dates that everyone is happy and feels good is a lot of hard work! 

  10. The culture Maybe I’ve been forced to look at way too many reddit polyamory threads (looking at you, “Polycule goes to Disneyland”), or maybe it’s actually that annoying. 

Sending everyone love! It’s scary out there, I hope you’re all staying inside as much as possible.

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