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Saturday, June 15, 2013
Polyamory and True Love
Continuing from last week’s blog:
In the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, Jubal Harshaw tells Ben Caxton, “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” This is the kind of love Eric, the Phantom has for Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, and Eponine has for Marius in Les Miserables.
Do you think if push came to shove you would be willing to sacrifice your love and freely give him/her to another because him/her happiness is so important to you that you could not live knowing they are miserable without that person?
I think I can say yes to that question. Fan of Heinlein that I am, I read Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love long ago. I grasped Heinlein’s ideas about being able to love more than one person at a time. I didn’t stop loving Elizabeth when Christine came along. Why should I stop loving my Dear Hubby or boyfriend if another man came along? Or if another woman came along (provided she was a good woman who I knew would not take advantage of him or hurt him).
I didn’t know there was a name for such relationships until much later. It’s called polyamory. The difference between a poly relationship and cheating is honesty and communication. If you have a relationship with someone behind my back, you’re cheating. If you are honest and communicate with both the other lady and me and we have the right to see other men and we are honest and communicate openly with you and them, we are polyamorous. I always thought military families should be poly so if one husband was deployed there would be someone around to fix the plumbing or the car or whatever when it broke. Not to mention co-wives keep you company and to babysit when you need a break. And there are the financial advantages of mingled incomes, having been a Navy wife who never had enough money and always had stuff break down when DH was out to sea. But, I digress.
I ran into a group of poly people at a karaoke bar, and started dating a man. We happened to be exclusive for about a year. Didn’t exactly mean to be, but were. I care a lot about this man and he is legally blind and unable to drive. When we decided we wanted to be closer, we lived in the same apartment building. (Neither of us wanted to live together, but that enabled us to see each other daily and still have our own space.) I drove; he carried. And, I drove him out to meet other women because I knew I could not fill all of his needs, and if I was going to have co-sweeties I wanted to be sure they were people with whom I was compatible as well. Of course, we’re human. We can’t all be like Jubal Harshaw and Ben Caxton or like Eric and Eponine, or Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities. Boy, that’ll make you cry, too! Except for poor Sidney who had to be where he was in order for Lucie Manette to have her HEA, if Raoul and Eric had been able to share Christine and Cosette and Eponine had been able to share Marius, those movies would have had much happier endings. But then, I guess they were meant to be gut-wrenching tear-jerkers. Clearly Victor Hugo was not writing a romance, nor was Gaston Leroux. I wonder what they’d think of the musical versions that have us women swooning over the likes of Alfie Bowe, Hugh Jackman and Gerard Butler and grabbing for the tissues?
I do not consider programs like Big Love to portray polyamory. The polygamy of religious sects in which woman are treated as chattel and do not have the same right to add men to the family that their husbands do to add women is not my idea of true love. And if I get onto that soapbox, I’ll have a third blog and it will be a rant. I do believe Elizabeth is making a roast and may possibly even have finished staining the deck around the pool by the time I get there for supper. Who knows? We may even watch a movie musical this evening. Seems that’s where I started this tome. All though, I’ve cut it in half so by the time you read this, it will be next week.