When your partner tells you that they’re interested in polyamory, it is world shaking; indeed, the mere mention feels like an implosion of the world you knew.
This is because:
1) we are culturally programmed for monogamy, and
2) it feels so threatening to our current relationship and therefore a core piece of our existence.
When my wife (Jes) dropped that she wanted polyamory, of course I reacted from fear.
Here’s a short list of everything that scared the shit out of me:
- her being more sexually fulfilled elsewhere
- her cis man partners having bigger dicks
- seeing each other less
- our relationship becoming not as special or important
- having other dudes up in my grill (i.e. my living space)
- her being mistreated or even in danger
- her leaving me for someone else
I saw possible benefits, too–for her and me, but those paled in comparison to those looming threats. I couldn’t see then, that all of those were manageable. I couldn’t see that pretty much all of them were surface level manifestations of the fear that she would leave me. Interestingly, our relationship wasn’t in trouble. Sure, we had our problems, but nothing nearing a possible end to our relationship.
A core wound doesn’t need rationality, though. A wound only needs something to fear.
I couldn’t see that core wounding–a belief that I didn’t deserve lasting love, underlied my fear. Not seeing any of that, I responded with a number of defensive postures, things that would punish her for wanting poly. This was 2013. I had no context (or semiotics) for healthy polyamory, that–