by Mystic Life
I’ve been wondering if the best way to offend members of both the monogamous and polyamorous communities is to form (or be interested in forming) a MFF triad.
Several years ago, my girlfriend at the time and I were looking to meet someone who we both could love. I’m straight, and my girlfriend was bi, so we decided that a bi woman would be a good fit. As part of our search process, we created a profile on Polymatchmaker.com, and also posted in their “Personal Ads” forum. Several days later, a moderator from the forum wrote us to apologize for the aggressive responses to our post. We hadn’t been back to the forum to witness the frenzy, and were stunned that our seemingly gentle post could create such vitriol.
My partner and I had previously explored ourselves in various forms of polyamory, and had come to the conclusion that a polyfidelitous triad would suit us best. Little did we know there was a subculture in the poly community that felt that what we were looking for wasn’t true polyamory. I personally feel that there is great danger in specifying what is (or is not) polyamory beyond the basic definition of “more than one love.”
It seems that ego always wants to make one’s own choice “the best” to compensate for any insecurities, and to be “better than” others. For example, a friend of mine who is a gay man recently shared that in the gay community there is a homophobic kind of “gay bashing” by some masculine males towards feminine males. To me, this illustrates how a community can be weakened by division within. To remain strong, I hope that the polyamorous community can avoid ego-motivated emphasis upon qualitative subdivisions, and stay open-hearted towards all of the variations we witness in the realms of non-monogamy.
When I first became interested in polyamory, I didn’t want any limitations or compromises…I just wanted sexual freedom after years of failed monogamous relationships. I initially held harsh judgments towards monogamous people, and would go on and on about how they were living in fear. Over time, I came to realize that these judgments were coming from my ego, and I learned to truly appreciate the loving aspects of monogamy, polyfidelity, and poly-anything-goes. Nearly every loving relationship has some form of agreements, and instead of conforming to another person’s preferences, I think it’s best that we all find for ourselves what we’re truly ready for, and avoid playing an expected role simply to feel loved by a more “cutting edge” partner.
So what are the judgments of the MFF triad which some poly people seem to hold? It seems to me that there is a belief that it is patriarchal in nature, and creates arbitrary limitations that are out of fear. Also, some of the judgments from males may come from frustration that they can not have access to the female in a MF couple who is looking for a bi woman, thus motivating them to find an argument that would make her available.
Regarding patriarchy, I personally am not interested in having any kind of power or control in a MFF triad. I was raised in a feminist environment, and have always believed in equality between genders. If I were a bisexual male with a straight female partner, it would be more likely that my partner and I would be drawn to finding a bi male. Although sexual attraction between all partners is certainly not a necessity for polyfidelity, it is a dynamic that I personally believe creates a strong bond that can help partners endure challenges. Attraction between all partners is not what I suggest others should require or desire…it is simply an idea that resonates for me.
I’ve never witnessed judgment by polys towards MM couples trying to find a female. Nor do I see judgments against MF or FF couples looking for a male. Judgment seems reserved for the MF couple trying to find a female. Perhaps part of this comes from an unspoken sense of competition since there are so many MF couples trying to find a statistically rare “unicorn.” It seems that most MF couples trying to create such a dynamic will be unable to find what they’re looking for simply as a matter of supply and demand. This can lead to those who’ve tried to find a single female becoming angry at others who are perceived as limiting their own potential expansion. They could even find themselves thinking something such as, “I’m in a MFMF quad and we deserve a unicorn because I’m letting my female partners have sex with another man and am therefore more loving.”
Whatever the case, there is only one cure to potential divisions in the polyamorous community: find out what works best for you, and release judgments against those with different desires. Love and accept those on a monogamous journey, a polyfidelitous path, or a poly-no-limitations quest. It’s all beautiful at its core.
As for myself, I’ve noticed a recurring theme of the MFF dynamic throughout my life, which has led me to some of the following theories as to why it may hold such a psychological and emotional draw:
1. After my parents divorced when I was 5, my dad was mostly absent, so I grew up with my mom and sister. The three of us even had wooden letters hanging on the living room wall that said “Us 3”. I was comfortable living with two females, but in our family there wasn’t very much emotional closeness. A MFF triad may be partly appealing because of my desire to be with two women who get along with each other and myself in an emotionally vulnerable, loving manner.
2. I was adopted, and met my birth mom in my late twenties. Around that same time I had an experience with my adoptive mom that felt very rejecting. My birth mom turned out to be unreliable, and that relationship also ended in rejection. Having painful experiences with both of my mothers may have resulted in a longing for a “corrective emotional experience.” Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want writes about how we crave a partner who has qualities similar to our parents, yet also the ability to give what was emotionally lacking when we were children. Although he writes from a monogamous perspective, I can see how this is applicable in a poly dynamic as well, with multiple partners representing different parents.
3. I’ve discovered over the years that I enjoy relatively “focused” energy, so I am not drawn to having many partners as I once was. Although I have identified as polyamorous for most of the past 14 years, I have come to realize that it is very rare to find someone with whom I truly connect on an authentic level. When I was in less intense, less heart-connected poly relationships, I felt I needed more partners to fill up my desire for love. I realized during my last long-term relationship that I’m almost (but not quite) comfortable with many aspects of monogamy. However, I still feel drawn to making sure that a partner and I would not be dependent upon each other for all of our needs. Additionally, I feel sociobiologically drawn to some degree of sexual diversity, and two partners feels like it would be enough for me. I have no idea if I’ll always feel the same way…but for now, I don’t want to spread myself too thin because I enjoy connecting with people very deeply, and feel that too many partners would dilute my connections beyond my comfort level.
These are some of the factors that have guided me towards being drawn to a MFF polyfidelitous triad (also, it’s just kind of hot). In retrospect, my whole life has been a series of rebellions against normative behavior, so it makes sense that I would be attracted to a dynamic that could be considered offensive to both the sexually conservative and the sexually liberal. Nevertheless, I believe that if the core essence of polyamory is love, then true love embraces all paths. It’s all just life lessons anyhow…so let’s allow ourselves and each other the freedom to pursue and receive the lessons to which we feel drawn.