Welcome to my new recurring blog feature, QFMMF! No, QFMMF is not some weird orgy-tastic kink party combination (though it sounds like it would be fun if so – I get the M’s and F’s, but what is the Q? So many possibilities!). QFMMF stands for Questions from my Monogamous Friends, and is a continuation on my set of posts in which I answered some of the most common questions I get from my monogamous friends. Sometimes I’ll revisit some of those older posts. But today, I address a question from a newly made monogamous friend. I’ll call her M for short. I met M on the most interesting app, Tinder. (More on Tinder in another post – I’m sure if you want, you can Google it you want to find out more now.)
M asked me “do you have one person you like the best?” Wow, great question M! My short answer at the time was that most poly people don’t rank their partners as if they were ice cream flavors. I say most, because there are those that do rank them. I think that ranking isn’t necessarily bad or wrong, but that it will inevitably lead to a lack of strength in a relationship. I can see how some people will place more importance on one relationship versus another. For example, if two people are living together, share expenses, and are raising children
together, then that relationship will at times have to come before a relationship that one of those partners has with a person not living and raising children with them. Especially when kids are involved, decisions have to be made for the well being of those children, which supersede the feelings of a partner that is not part of the child-rearing family. Does that mean those in that type of relationship are “ranking” the order of importance of their partners? I wouldn’t call that ranking, as much as having priorities. This may be a fine point of fancy semantic footwork, but I think it’s a point worth making.
For folks in my situation, who are not in a primary, cohabitating relationship, not having to rank becomes much easier. (I am what some folks in the poly world call solo poly. The basic definition of solo poly is those folks practicing poly who aren’t engaged in a primary partnership. For more on solo poly, please check out Aggie Sez or Poly Singelish, both amazing minds and writers!). Since I am not raising children, don’t share living expenses with anybody, and don’t have a primary partnership, I find no reason to place priorities on any one relationship over another. But more importantly, I feel no reason to rank. That’s because I love each person that I am involved with in a unique, and very special way.
As of the writing of this post, I consider three different people my partners, significant others, flovers, girlfriends, or whatever other word you want to call them. (As I will be writing about the people in my life, I have told them I would be writing about them, and I have given them the opportunity to make up their own names. In some cases they have taken that option, and at others, they have said to use their real names – you’ll have to guess which is which!) My current partnerships are, in alphabetical order, Chris, Gwen, and Morganna. The love I feel for these three women is very different, as different as these three women are.
Chris is my long distance lover, and my longest term relationship. I’ve been with her since February, and I’ve considered her a most important person in my life since then. We see each other every month or two, and rarely talk in between. But when we do get together, it’s like we never left off. She’s a dear friend. My love for Chris is so free and easy, and requires so little effort on my part – she makes me feel so very comfortable.
I met Gwen about 10 weeks ago, and I fell for her hard – very hard. Usually when I fall that hard, the flame burns hot and fast. While the flame has been hot, it hasn’t been so fast, and we have settled into a beautiful relationship. I see her almost every week. She’s very busy, I’m very busy, and our schedules don’t always mesh, but she is always on my mind. My love for Gwen is passionate, and the most traditionally “romantic” – she makes me want to sweep her off her feet, like in the old-timey romances.
Morganna is my dearest and bestest friend, and I met her about 3 months ago. Though I only see her once every couple of weeks, I talk to her almost daily on the phone, and we share so much of ourselves with each other. I have never had a friend as close as Morganna, and the love we share is so very pure, that I can’t put a name on it. My love for Morganna is deep, has been forever, and will continue forever – she makes me feel protected and, on occasion, allows me to protect her.
All of these loves are different, beautiful and amazing. One major reason I truly believe that polyamory is right for me is that I believe there is no ONE person who can love me in all of the ways I want to be loved, and there’s no ONE person who I can love in all of the ways I want to give love. I have infinite love to give. I have such an abundance of love, that I seek out more and more people to give love to. The three women I have mentioned here are wonderful, wonderful people – but there are many more dear friends who I give love to on a daily basis. the love I have in my heart is for me to give to others.
And that is the awesome thing about love – it’s infinite. There is no end to the amount we have to give. We can give, and give, and give, and always have more left over. That’s really important to remember! Because a major misconception that many non-poly people seem to have is that we only have a finite amount of love to give. But we don’t. True, we do have finite amounts of time and energy – this means that we have to pick and choose WHO to give love to and WHEN to give it. But there’s no limit to the AMOUNT of love we have. And we should give it away, and give it away, and give it away. Because I believe that what we invest in love, we will get back a multitude of riches in even more love. And that’s what we need more of in the world, isn’t it? Yes, I think we do.
So, M, I hope that helps explain things. I don’t rank my lovers. Each has their place in my life in a most special way. None of them could be replaced. If one of these people were to leave my life, I would never find another person to give love to in that some way, nor to love me in that same way. But, you see, that is another joy of poly – nobody ever has to leave your life. I make a commitment to everybody I love, including the three women I have mentioned in this post. That commitment is to remain in their lives forever. While the nature of our relationships may change, grow, evolve, ebb and wane, I will always remain in the lives of my friends and lovers. And they shall remain in my mine. And no amount of ranking could ever change their place in my heart.