For the first time I have experienced a hard reaction to the polyamorous possibility Learning about polyamory – that it exists and people are living it successfully – can never be undone.
I found out that the girlfriend of one of my friends left him, even though they were already living together, just because he is friends with me. I’m just too weird and he should therefore not associate with me.
I was shocked when I heard that such a thing could even happen, but I guess I shouldn’t have been. I’ve seen the same reaction with regards to politics, religion and gay rights. The very existence of thoughts, ideas, things or people who do not fit in their worldview is a threat to some. The very existence of these things must therefore be wiped out – if not in reality, then at least by removal of all exposure to those things from their lives.
What is behind this? Is it a similar chain of thought to the slippery slope argument? Just because someone else is doing it, by associating yourself with them, you will be “corrupted” and join them?
I think Dr. Sheff is right, the idea that a partner could possibly be attracted to the idea of polyamory – or in this case not actively repelled and disgusted by it – can raise insecurities and give the person a reason to channel and express those insecurities.
If you are on the receiving end of such negative expressions, it can be quite difficult to deal with, especially if you care for and love the person expressing them. It requires understanding and empathy and it also requires a clear acceptance that this is not your shit. It’s not your fault. Nor is it the “fault” of the other. It is, however their shit that somehow – slowly or quickly – they must deal with themselves. As hard as it may sound, they must own their own shit. All you can do is support them as they accept these negative parts of themselves, which is never an easy thing to do.
If you are experiencing such negative reactions, it can be quite difficult to deal with, especially if directed towards a person you love and care for. First thing to understand is that there is no blame. It is neither your fault nor theirs. Your feelings are real. Your feelings though, however real need not be true – in the sense of what you think will happen will happen. Own your own shit. Accept that these are real, that they are your own feelings and emotions. Then figure out what to do about it. We deal with negative emotions all the time – anger and frustration at work being common ones that happen every day. We don’t see people quitting their jobs the first time something goes wrong for them or throwing verbal or physical abuse at colleagues every time they get annoyed by them. I would hope that you’d like to treat your romantic partners with more respect than work colleagues.
The polyamorous possibility is real. It’s not the end of the world. Just like the hit-by-a-bus possibility or the homosexual possibility or the voting-for-Sarah-Palin possibility – just because it exists doesn’t mean it’s going to happen and even if it does happen, it is no reason to treat someone badly – especially someone you love.
 Elisabeth A. Sheff Ph.D. (04 November 2013). Psychology Today. “Fear of the Polyamorous Possibility”. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
 Cunning Minx (29 December 2013). Polyamory Weekly. “Owning your own shit”. Retrieved 15 February 2015.