My Polyamory Code: 5 Rules

Have you seen The Wire? I swear on everything I love, it’s the best show in television history. Other people may love Breaking Bad or Sex in The City, but there’s a particular reason why The Wire is the best damn thing: OMAR LITTLE.

Omar is the greatest, scariest, most powerful, most homosexual, most affectionate, and vicious gangster ever shown on screen. And besides the fact that he made blocks full of people scatter like buckshot when he came whistling down the road, he was also a murderous gangster you could respect.

Omar had a catchphrase. And as much as he was a cold-blooded killer, when he wasn’t a hot-blooded lover, he EMBODIED his catchphrase on levels that really should be practiced in the real world. His famous line: “A man’s gotta have a code.” He lived, killed, loved, escaped jail, and became immortalized through his extreme adherence to his own life philosophy and code in the streets AND the sheets!

I’m a lover, not a killer, but I DO practice the words of Omar Little in my polyamorous love life. With a lifestyle of loving that is as nebulous and ever-changing as poly, one has to maintain SOME standard of structure and foundation, or else all will fall apart faster than you can say “two-night stand!”

I have my poly rules written below, but one thing to keep in mind: this is what works for ME and MY partners in our poly scenarios. We have our boundaries established and negotiated, we communicate if and when they move at any point in time, and we operate in the space that is most comfortable for US. Anyone who is not in our relationship matrix need not worry about what we’re doing, beyond the fact that it’s consensual and happily unconventional.

I have had lovers come and go at times, but it’s never for cheating, never for lying, never for manipulating, never for deceiving, and never for betraying. I have a code of honor and a set of prime directives for my higher ethics!

I have seen many problematic scenarios manifest when people have said they were poly but were really just part-time cheaters, pretending they were something they’re not to both their wife and mistresses hidden behind doors, popular platforms, and internet screens. Not me, you see, I have a code.

My Polyamory Code: 5 Rules

1. Be Honest because the Truth Can Never Hurt More than a Lie

Time is the knot that makes truth turn into lies and makes lies feel worse and worse the longer the truth is denied. There is pretty much nothing in the universe that I can imagine that a lover could say IN THE MOMENT OF TRUTH that would make me angry or want to break up with them, that wouldn’t be a THOUSAND times worse if they lie about it and don’t tell me for days or weeks, if not me finding out from someone else.

If a lover were to come home and say, “Babe, I fucked the football team,” I’d be like, “Wow, high five! Was it good and everything you wanted?” and “Did them boys use protection?” But if she didn’t tell me for two weeks, and I was suspicious because she came home super late from the local championship scrimmage, and she was clearly hiding something, then I would be very upset when I found out.

It’s not the actions that cause the problems most of the time. It’s the INACTION of being real and true to your poly partner. The truth can never hurt more than a lie in my poly life.

2. Never Go to Bed Angry

It’s a cliché, but it’s a semi-supreme rule of life to follow. Do the very best you can to not end the day or start the day with negativity. Talk out the issues you have the best way that you can with your partner before you go to sleep together (especially if you DO sleep together in the same bed every night) or do it on the telephone if you need to. But make some effort to plant the seeds for reconciliation before the weeds of war take root in your dream garden.

Festering in your mind and soul overnight isn’t healthy, plus you have a good chance of waking up unhappy and uninspired by this person you love, which makes the work almost twice as hard to continue the next day. How good can a morning be when the first thing you think of is how much you are pissed off at your poly partner when you see their face? At least say, “I love you, but I’m mad at you” if you have to before you sleep.

3. Focus on the Present Problem, Not Resolved Problems from the Past

There’s a rule to solving problems: FOCUS ON THE ONE PROBLEM. See, when people have a problem and start name calling and taking cheap shots and bringing up past arguments to throw on the shitpile, well, that just expands the trash and multiplies the problem exponentially!

Don’t call them names, don’t take cheap shots, and don’t bring up things your partner did to hurt you in the past, especially if it’s something you both put effort into solving already! That’s just digging at old scars and picking emotional scabs. Fight fair and stay present.

4. Don’t Hide Healthy Love

I saw a beauty lotion advertisement one day that was unforgettable. It had a simple statement, but it was so powerful in its impact: “Imagine having nothing to hide.” And it blew me away. Do you know how powerful that state of being is? It was an advertisement for makeup, but I took it so much further into my body, ha ha. I applied it to my relationships and my CELEBRATION of those relationships.

You know how married folks are supposed to wear their rings everywhere they go? You know how wives and husbands are generally not bothered by showing mild public displays of affection? You know how nobody is supposed to be ashamed of their marriage, and are generally encouraged to speak highly of it? Yeah, well that’s how I feel about my POLY lovers!

I hide nothing, share my love openly, and discuss my multiple partners who I cherish on a regular basis. I don’t believe in holding back my truth or theirs to make someone else comfortable. It’s our choice, so respect us and our love! I will never hide it. It’s so healthy and beautiful!

5. Never Give the Silent Treatment

I have NO problem expressing what I feel in most moments. I don’t sulk, I don’t brood, and I don’t disappear into my mancave for days and days. I show up with my heart in hand and my mouth ready to speak from my soul, plus some open ears to listen to what my poly partners have to say.

I don’t like when people shut down, refusing to move forward and refusing to try and meet half way with communication. It takes effort and desire and discipline and focus to work out problems and to get to the place of balance in any relationship that is healthy and working well.

For ME, that means NEVER giving the silent treatment, or accepting it. There are times when people need to cool down and cherish the silence between each other, but that’s not invoked as punishment, with oppressive silence in the air. I might say, “I need time to process my anger. I need a day apart, a breather from this argument that’s gone on too long.” That is healthy and responsible.

These five rules are very important rules for me. I hope they work for you, but if not, just look into your heart to see what works between you and all your lovers. Word the fuck up to Omar Little every time! A person has to have a code of carnal conduct!

Addi Stewart

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