The answer to this question could, on the surface, seem easy to answer when you consider that they’re bisexual because of their feelings toward men and women. But if you were to go looking for the definition of polyamory, you’d probably find that what the word means and how others interpret or go about being polyamorous are different… and that’s because we all don’t look at what love means in the exact same way nor can we all agree that to be polyamorous, love has to be involved, not as we understand the emotion of love anyway.
I would say that the answer to this question is that we could be polyamorous – the potential is there – but, no, we’re not polyamorous by some default; indeed, since we’ve been taught and conditioned to only love one person at a time, I’m thinking that a lot of bisexuals would have a problem feeling anything other than lust for many people. Having said that, there are bisexuals who discover that they are quite capable of loving – or otherwise have deep feelings – for more than one person, debunking the lie that you can and should only love one person and more so if you’re in a relationship and being physically and emotionally monogamous is in effect.
Should bisexuals be polyamorous? Well, no… not if they can’t grasp the concept of being able to openly love more than one person. A lot of people think about polyamory being about sex and having enough lovers to start their own NFL team and I’m not gonna blow smoke up your ass and tell you that sex isn’t ever involved… because it can be but the dynamic is complicated. Some folks think that polyamory is about having multiple relationships at the same time and, again, no smoke up your ass on this because it can be like this as well and, yes, it’s so complex that it makes being monogamous look easy by comparison.
For the purposes of this discussion, however, I’m just talking about the root of it all – having feelings for someone (or a lot of someones) that aren’t just lust but are more than just friendship. Way back when I discovered that I was polyamorous, I was dumbstruck because even though I was already madly and deeply in love with someone, I was in love with someone else. One of the things I began to see was the number of times I felt love – or some level of affection – for someone other than the person I was already in love with and I saw that, holy shit, there were a lot of these moments; I also saw that because I was already in love, I was doing my level best to banish these other feelings, going out of my way to deny that what I felt for someone else was what I was really feeling. Now, it wasn’t about doing anything about how I felt (that would come later in life) but I was kicked in the gut to realize that everything I was taught about having feelings for someone were… inaccurate, to be polite and a carefully craft lie if I care to be impolite about it.
It was yet another lesson learned about thinking/feeling and doing not being the same things. I saw the control being exerted, no only on myself but on everyone to suppress the ability to love a lot of people; I saw some hypocrisy in this, i.e., when you’re growing up, you’re expected, required, and maybe even demanded to love a lot of people – mostly family members but at the point where you’re ready to start dating, you’re now told to never try to love more than one person and don’t even think about being romantically (or sexually) involved with more than one person at a time – and then you’re convinced that if you did, well, it’s going to be your worst nightmare. I saw the truth in this and that it’s true because we’re programmed and conditioned to not do this… so we never learn how to deal with our emotions when we discover that, okay, I love my girlfriend… but I love this other person, too, and it’s not just infatuation.
Holy shit. It’s my thought that bisexuals have the ability to cross this “forbidden” boundary because they are capable of having feelings of some kind for more than one person at a time and even if lust is the key that can unlock the door that we’re made to stay behind and we’re locked behind this door to that the tenets of monogamy can be upheld. Well, that and if I’m a guy (and I am) and I have much lust for women, I’m not supposed to feel lust for men; I’m just only supposed to feel friendship for the fellas.
But we know that this is a lie as well, don’t we? To continue, if a bisexual were to discover that they are polyamorous, do they have to do something about their feelings? NO! Ah, but there is a great urge to do something about what they’re feeling, from telling the object (or objects) of their affections how they feel about them to, yeah, getting naked with them and showing them with their bodies how they feel… and it is a very powerful urge and, oh, hell, yeah, if you’re already in love with someone and in a relationship with them, well, aren’t you now between a very big rock as well as a very hard place? It can be a royal motherfucking bitch just dealing with the fact that you’re bisexual… but to learn that you’re in love with more than one person – and the rules say you’re only supposed to love the one you’re with? It’s no wonder that this realization can fuck a lot of minds up; we’re not supposed to be able to feel multiple instances of love… but, yep, that’s how you feel and I’ve seen where it can fuck with your head so much that you start to believe that there’s a difference in saying to someone, “I love you!” and “I’m in love with you.”
I’ve had a few interesting arguments with folks about this one and I tend to find them kinda humorous because if you care to check if out, you’d see that there’s no difference; if there is a difference, it’s mostly about what you would or wouldn’t do based on your feelings; the one constant here is the word “love” and all it implies… then again, most people believe that thinking/feeling and doing are the same things so if there’s something you wouldn’t do with or for someone you love, well, that makes it different… and it really doesn’t, not where the emotion itself is concerned. I’m guessing that there are those of you who are reading this who will also disagree with this assessment but think about the emotion and not any of the possible actions the emotion can evoke and invoke and maybe you’ll better understand what I’m talking about here. See, I came to realize that I still love everyone I’ve ever been in love with and the only thing that has changed is that I’m no longer actively involved with them.
And, yes, my being bisexual was key to my understanding this very complex and confusing thing. I also have to add at this point that people who aren’t bisexual have also come to understand this so, no, sexuality isn’t always the catalyst; they just were able to see through the lie we’ve all been told about having feelings for more than one person. In this, it’s not about embracing the actions that are possible – it’s about embracing the truth of how you feel and being able to do it without feeling the guilt that we’re also taught to feel. I’ve heard so many people say that they love their partner but they also love someone else… and they feel badly about it I can sympathize with them because I felt the same way… until I started at looking at why I was feeling bad about it… then saw that I didn’t have a reason to feel guilty about the way I felt about other people. If I love you, I love you; the difference, of course, is what I might do about the way I feel and, yep, sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing… even though we feel compelled to do something because aren’t we also taught that there are certain things we’re supposed to do when we love someone?
With one person, well, that’s easy and clearly cut; with loving more than one person? Holy shit, right? The lesson I learned and the one I try to share with others is that if there’s something you have to do, it’s just to accept that this is how you feel. If you can act on your feelings, all well and good but if you can’t, well, that’ll make ya feel some kind of way but you don’t have to do anything if you can’t.
There are polyamorous bisexuals – but polyamory isn’t “owned” by bisexuals – it’s just that our sexuality can open our eyes about our feelings even if the feelings we have for someone else is just lust. Still, it is damned difficult to break the conditioning we’ve received about having deep feelings for more than one person at a time, let alone being “involved” with more than one person at a time in some way – read this as sexually, emotionally, or even romantically. In this, I am always reminded of something a woman I love so very much told me one day: There’s nothing you can do about the way you feel; you can only do something about how you might act on those feelings… and sometimes the best thing to do is to just accept that this is how you feel.
If you’re capable of this, does it mean that you’re being unfair to your partner in some way? Most people would say yes… but that’s because they believe that your love should only be directed wholly at one person. I know I can look into my heart and see the people who I love and I know that it’s all very real… which doesn’t have anything to do with my love for Linda and I do love her so very much. I’m not engaging in emotional infidelity; I accept that there’s nothing I can do about the way I feel and I don’t know about anyone else, but I take a dim view of someone – or something – that seeks to control my feelings. But just because I feel the way I do doesn’t mean I have to do something about it, well, actually, there are two things I can do: Accept that I feel this way and to do nothing about those feelings except, of course, when it comes to Linda – then all bets are off because you can bet your asses that I’m gonna do something about living Linda.
And I can’t honestly say that my bisexuality is the sole reason why I feel the way I do – but, as I said, being bisexual opened my eyes to things that are way outside the box a lot of us are made to stay in. For all I know, I could have reached this same place without being bisexual because, yeah, it’s an emotional thing but it’s also an intellectual thing as well. Anyone who is polyamorous has asked themselves if, logically, it made any sense to deny that they love, say, a partner – but they also love other people to some degree; they’ve questioned whether that which we were taught is the whole truth and they’ve found that, no, what we’ve been taught about this does make sense… from a certain point of view but, no, it’s not the whole truth: We can love more than one person at a time and we can do things because we feel the way we do… if it’s doable to begin with because I’ll keep saying this until y’all get sick of me saying it: Thinking/feeling and doing are not the same things.
As always, you don’t have to agree with me or believe any of what I’ve written. All I can do is tell you what I’ve learned in this and to point out that, no, I’m not even the only who has learned this; if it’s impossible for me to be the only Black, male bisexual in the world, it’s also impossible that I’m the only polyamorous person in the world. You can, if you choose to, use the comment section to give your stance on what love means and all that – and your comments are welcome even if you wanna fuss with me about this. I’m not saying that anyone – and regardless to sexuality – should or has to be polyamorous… but I do know that people can be and that’s not conjecture – that’s a fact and all you have to do is go ready the blogs of other polyamorous folks here on WordPress, like Seattle Poly Chick, or Rougedmount, or Ann St.Vincent just to name a few. Don’t pay a whole lot of attention about what these women are doing – pay attention to their feelings about the people they’re involved with. It’s not about right and wrong so much as it is that they are polyamorous – they have the capacity to love (or feel affection) for more than one person at a time.