“What if?”

What if we lived in a world where not every family member had to have “special” status over others (those outside the family)? What if we lived in a world where not every friendship had to be or stay platonic? What if not every romantic relationship had to be spiritual? What if not every sexual relationship had to be romantic? Not every romantic relationship had to be sexual? What if we lived in a land where not every marriage had to be sexual or was assumed to be sexual in nature? What is marriage was no longer a legal state but rather a state that was outside laws/codes/government? What if romance between consenting people did not feel like it “should” be building toward, or oriented toward, monogamy and/or marriage? What if people felt like they could stay together in a romantisexual context after it was discussed that one or more parties wanted to have intimacies (sexual, emotional, and/or spiritual) with one or more parties who are not “inside” the relationship? What if our culture talked about the notion of relationship orientation more? What if our culture refrained from defining a relationship as “this” or “that”? Or, what if not every relationship had to be based on some hierarchical arrangement (i.e. “my partner is more important than my friend, but my blood family is more important than my partner,” etc.)? What if we employed “relationship anarchy” (a term closely related to polyamory but not synonymous with it)—and thus refuse to label or give credence to the notion of “relationship” at all?

…How would this change everyday life? How would this change our attitudes? Our workplaces? Our home spaces? Our affective states? Our proximities to others? Our quiet moments alone? Our ethical, moral, philosophical actions and ideas?

…How would it change your life?


About Anya Light

Anya Light, PhD, is an author, life coach, meditation teacher, Reiki master, and poet. Her book, Opening Love, demonstrates how relationships can be a powerful doorway to compassion and freedom.
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2 Responses to “What if?”

  1. -J. says:

    What if you add three kids to the mix?

    • heathertrahan7 says:

      I’m glad you asked this question, J. Childrearing certainly does add a whole other level of questions and concerns.

      Many poly theorists–one of these is Deborah Anapol– claim that parents can’t effectively teach their children principles like social justice, empathy, and unconditional love if parents model behaviors such as rigid, uncritical monogamy, where spouses jealousy guard each other from “outside,” strange, threatening forces. As I myself am not a parent, I cannot fully speak to this point. But on a purely theoretical level, this rings rather right in my ears. What do you think?

      Many overview books on the practice and theories of polyamory devote at least one chapter (at this point, if there is not a chapter on it in the manuscript, I think the publishers would ask the writer to include one–it’s just that important) to the issue of parenting/family and poly. Many theorize that more adults being around adds more love and more role models for children. Some theorize that children of poly parents acquire better socialization skills. Some say that “tribe” families (this is where there are more parents than just a dyad) are in line with newly emerging eco principles: there’s simply more adults around, thus more resources around–such as more adults available for childcare, more income, more people to help solve a problem, etc. etc.

      I have heard many people, though, speak of how childrearing is the most difficult issue to figure out when one considers the benefits and drawbacks of being poly. Some poly parents choose to stay “in the closet” for fear that social services will come knocking at their door. Some poly parents come out–and move to places where being poly is more acceptable–such as New York, Seattle, Portland. Some parents come out to some of their friends and loved ones, but not their coworkers or neighbors. Some poly parents even keep their poly-ness a secret from the children, when the other partners are not live-in. There’s so many options. So many ways to go. Since polyamory is not a legitimized life-choice, at this point, many people wrongly link being openly poly and having children with things like child abuse. But the scientific studies that have been done on the matter have proven that this is just not true. There is not more physical, emotional, or mental abuse that is more likely to go in if parents are poly. What usually happens, though, is that children have a similar experience to that of children in LGBT households, in that they sometimes deal with mockery from peers.

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