If you’ve been openly polyamorous for any amount of time, I’m sure you’re no stranger to judgement. Almost as soon as I came out to friends and family, I started hearing lots of silly things.
While some monogamous people get it and appear to be nothing more than supportive and curious, others can’t help but come forward with ridiculous—sometimes hurtful—assumptions. Here are some that I’m familiar with.
4 Ways People Judge My Poly Lifestyle
1. You Secretly Want Your Partner to Yourself
A lot of people assume that I’m patiently biding my time, waiting for the day that my partner realizes he no longer loves his wife of thirty years and that he would rather take up with me exclusively. It’s the stuff of movies, right? “She waited her turn, didn’t complain, and now she shall be rewarded.”
The truth is, I love my partner’s wife. She’s family and I feel protective of the relationship she shares with my partner. It really blows some people’s minds that I’m happy with the life I have and wouldn’t want it any other way.
2. You’re a Sex Addict
Right, because sex is all that polyamory is about. I might be part of a relationship model that allows me to have more than one partner, but I don’t. I have one partner who just happens to have a wife. Aside from that unusual detail, my love life is strikingly conservative.
Some poly people do embrace the whole “free love” thing, but not all. I hate it when people assume that my partner and I are swingers, or that we’re promiscuous. Sex is only one small part of being poly, at least for me.
3. You Don’t Love Yourself Enough to Seek a Real Relationship
Armchair psychologists love this one. They often attempt to hide their judgement in words of concern: “Don’t you know you’re worth more than this? Why do you want to share your partner? Do you not think you’re worthy of a real commitment?”
No matter how many times I insist that being poly makes me happy, that it’s a lifestyle I entered into after much consideration of my true wants and needs, some people just don’t get it. In their opinion, I’m continually hurting myself by acting out some sad pattern of neglect.
4. You’re Afraid of Commitment
This is probably the one I hear most often. For lots of people, commitment is so narrowly defined: It’s between two people only, it follows a very predictable path from dating to marriage, and it lasts a lifetime. When I tell them that my partner and I are absolutely committed, that we even had a ceremony to celebrate that fact, they just scoff and say it doesn’t count because we’re not legally married.
They assume that I’m poly because I don’t want to be tied down. It doesn’t occur to them that polyamory allows one to commit to many people at once, and that in many ways it’s more binding than a single relationship.
Can you relate to being judged in any of these ways? Do you have your own stories to tell? Leave a comment, and let us know.