The right to be poly (or not)


I found myself in tears this morning, reading this excellent post by blogger Arwyn.  In particular, my tears came while I was reading these profound words on Radical Acceptance:

Explaining Radical Acceptance, Take Two:

Here is a universal truth you may or may not have heard yet: you have the right to feel however you feel.

It’s true.

However you feel right now is OK. Depressed and hopeless and like this is pointless? That’s OK. Pissed off and afraid and hating the way you feel all the time? That’s OK too. No, it’s not fun (it’s OK to not enjoy it), and you don’t have to stay this way (it’s OK to desire to change it), but you still have permission, still have the right, to feel it.

And — here’s where it can get scary, and I started crying the first time I sat through this lesson — you have the right to feel all the ways you don’t feel, too. You have the right to feel joy. You have the right to feel anger. You have the right to feel safe. You have the right to love yourself, college drop out, struggling student, just as you are.

The post goes on, and it is well worth your time to read it (and many of her other posts as well).  And it got me thinking. Through my tears, I realized another truth:

I have a right to be poly.

And you do too (if that’s how you identify). No more or less than any of the other things Arwyn has written, I have a right to be myself, and to be ok with that. And one of the things that I am, is polyamorous. I have a right to love whom I love, without shame.  I have a right to feel angry when others try to take that away from me, or make me feel “less than” for loving more.  I have a right to feel joy in the presence of my loves, and sadness in their absence. I have a right to have my family structure honored, and my parenting respected.  I have a right to feel safe in my home, and not under threat from “well meaning” but judgmental people who would seek to make me over in their image, or “protect” my children by destroying or vilifying their family. I have these rights just as the monogamously married Christian family next door, or the lesbian family in the next town.

Equally if not more importantly, I have a right to be who I am, and to feel ok about it, even if I’m not perfect. Even if my marriage–by others’ standards–“failed.”  Even if my child struggles in school, and I don’t know how I’m going to get money to pay my share of the roof over our heads.  None of those things are because I’m polyamorous; some of them might even get better because I’m poly.  My polyamorous nature just IS.  And it’s ok.

All of this strikes me as the start of a Poly Bill of Rights.  I even have some more entries knocking about in my head (e.g., the right to to be seen, including the right to have photographs of our family members on our desk at work without risking termination or accusations of harassment). I’m quite curious as to whether YOU might have other “rights” to suggest (feel free to comment here, or elsewhere).

But in this moment, I’m going to engage in another of these important rights:  the right to take care of myself… by taking a nap. ;^)

~♥ Dawn


©2011, Dawn M. Davidson

4 thoughts on “The right to be poly (or not)

  1. Barry

    Nice piece. Yes, people have the absolute right to their feelings. Totally in agreement.

    One thought though. To my mind, any marriage that lasted as long as yours did, hasn’t “failed”. Nothing lasts forever, not a bridge or a car or a landscape or a planet … or a relationship. The inevitability of their ending doesn’t mean they weren’t good in their time. Everything has its cycle, including people, as they grow and change. It’s the natural order of things.

    Was your marriage successful while it was going? From what I could see, I think so. Sure it ended, but endings, like beginnings, are part of that natural cycle, part of who we are as humans. I for one appreciate your successes, and am absolutely sure you’ll have more successes to come.

    We both send hugs your way from here in the Mysterious East.

    1. dawnd Post author

      Hi Barry! Thanks for the comment. Actually, I’m in complete agreement with you. You’ll notice that I said, “from their point of view.” I don’t think my relationship “failed”–far from it! In fact, that’s where I essentially started this blog, in my entry The end is the beginning, with the concept that we in polyamorous or other alternative relationships have an especial need to redefine the measures we use to determine “success” of a relationship. As you point out, longevity isn’t really a very good measure, though it’s by far the most common.

      Thanks for your comment, your words of support, and the opportunity to make this point clear! (hugs) back from the Wild, Wild West. ;^)

  2. George

    Dear Dawn ,
    You don`t know how hard it can be to get a little compassion and sympathy for people such as myself that simply would like a little more tenderness,love,touch & embrace from another human being. It is as if i am asking for a miracle but i`m not !! , I just need a constant hug,kiss,cuddle and perhaps some deep meaningful sensuality !!. Where has the loving interaction between men & women gone ?, Is it all about money ,power and status these days ?
    I truly hope not ?
    Because if that`s the case ,then what would be the whole purpose of it all ??

    1. dawnd Post author

      Hi George:

      Thanks for commenting. I can certain relate to the desire to have needs met for compassion, sympathy, and physical touch. Are you commenting on this because you’re feeling like “this is who I am,” and that you’re not getting a good response around that? Sometimes when I don’t get the response from someone that I’d like, I need to figure out if a) I don’t really need that response after all, or b) if I need to change something about me in order to get a response closer to what I’m wanting.

      Is there some way that you might be able to apply the lesson of Radical Acceptance to get you closer to what you need and/or want?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *