Oh, Willow

Willow Smith appeared on her mom’s Red Table discussion recently, talking about her decision to be polyamorous. She’s twenty, so of course she’s got all of this figured out. I wish I could go back in time to when I knew everything… But I digress.

Where were we? Oh yes. Polyamory. Look, if you want more than one partner and you’re honest and upfront about it from the very beginning I don’t care what you do. If the object of your affection doesn’t mind sharing and knows what they’re getting into then have at it. It’s not for me but if two other people come to an honest agreement I don’t give a damn. Nonetheless, I have a couple of issues with what Willow is trying to sell the nation.  

“With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that’s what everyone around you says is the right thing to do…”

Hmmm… who are all of these people that are commenting on other people’s sex lives? She makes it sound like people are forced into monogamy. No one is forced to get married. No one is forced to date only one person at a time. This idea that your only two choices are monogamy or cheating is a falsehood. Personally I’m beyond tired of hearing people act like monogamy is being forced upon them. No, what generally happens is that monogamy works for the cheater, or at least the appearance of monogamy works for the cheater. Then when they’re caught they begin whining about how monogamy was forced upon them and it’s not natural.

Willow goes on to tell us that after doing some research into polyamory she has discovered that “the main reasons… why divorces happen is infidelity.”

Willow, you’re probably onto something. Infidelity probably is one of the main reason that people end up divorced. Unfortunately, being polyamorous doesn’t mean you won’t experience infidelity. That agreement you have with your partners? Those are rules you’ve agreed upon. You need to follow those. Cheaters aren’t good at following rules. They hate following rules. Rules are for other people. Not them. They’re very special. All it takes is for you and your partner(s) to have an agreement about something, anything, and for your partner(s) to go behind and your back and do the exact opposite of what was agreed upon. Boom! You’ve now experienced infidelity- even in a polyamorous relationship.

I’ve head it said many times by people who have been cheated on that it’s not the fact their partner had sex with someone else that is so painful; it’s all the lies and the gas lighting along with the discard and everything else that goes along with cheating on your partner. Now, let’s be honest. If the mobster came up to me tomorrow and said, “Sam, sweetie, I love you but there’s someone else I’m very attracted to and I’m going to have to sex with her. I thought you should know because after all, it’s the lies and not the sex with another person that is so painful. We’re good, right?” well, let’s just say that conversation would not go over well. At. All. But I get what everyone else is saying. The secrecy, the lies, the double life, making you think you’re crazy, making you doubt yourself… those are the cherries on top of the shit sundae that is infidelity. It’s also what so many cheaters thrive on. They love the double life. They love knowing something that their trusting partner doesn’t know. They get off on it.

Now add in the fact that most of them don’t want their partners having other partners. It’s fine for them to have a buffet of choices, but let’s face it. If their partner also is allowed other partners then they won’t have their full attention and that simply won’t do. Everyone is to worship them. You are to have no gods before them. It’s not a transparent agreement. It’s a one sided arrangement that benefits only one person- the person who knows what’s going on. It’s amazing how many cheating spouses claim to be  polyamorous, yet all of their partners are monogamous. Strange, huh? It’s almost like that’s deliberate, or something.

Naturally mom Jada was all about the polyamory. She, too, bought into the idea that people seek out monogamous relationships because they “feel like they have no other choice.” She then suggested that the majority end up practicing “unethical non-monogamy” (otherwise known as cheating, and called out as such by her mom, known as Gammy on the show).

Again, no one is forced to be monogamous. But when you lead a person to believe that you’re going to be monogamous and have sex only with them, they expect you to be faithful. Funny how that works. 

Let’s be real. This idea that monogamy is being forced upon anyone is a load of horse shit. It is a total cop out. Most of these poor, misunderstood people forced into monogamy are usually getting something out of it. Either their spouse wouldn’t have agreed to marry them under other conditions, or the spouse is of use to them. They make them look like an upstanding citizen. They can pull off Mother or Father of the Year with their trusty spouse beside them, pulling the majority of the weight. They’re fed, their clothes are washed, their kids are taken care of, they have a steady income coming into the household. Another person is doing all of the adulting so they can go off and play. It’s not that they’re “forced” into monogamy. It’s that leading someone on to think they’re in a monogamous relationship means they’re getting their needs met. Then when they’re caught cheating they whine that they were forced into monogamy and if only they had been allowed non-traditional avenues none of this would have happened.

When Gammy tells Willow she’s not a fan of polyamory and prefers the traditional constructs of marriage, despite being married several times, Willow takes the ol’, “What if your partner isn’t meeting all of your needs?” approach.

“Let’s say you haven’t always been the kind of person that wanted to have sex all the time, but your partner is. Are you gonna be the person to say, ‘Just because I don’t have these needs, you can’t have them either?’

Let’s begin with the obvious. You don’t cause someone to cheat. After reading Chump Lady for years I can confidently say there are  people out there in relationships where none of their needs are getting met and their partner treats them terribly yet they still don’t cheat. I didn’t get my needs met in my marriage. I didn’t cheat. You’re either the type of person who will cheat, or you’re the type of person who won’t. If you will, it doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do; you’re going to cheat. If you won’t, it doesn’t matter what the other does or doesn’t do; you’re going to remain faithful.

And what is this shit about “you can’t expect one person to meet all your needs”? Who does that? I’ve never expected one person to meet all of my needs. Does no one have friends anymore? Can people only meet your needs if you’re fucking them? I don’t even expect my friends to meet each and every one of my needs. I had friends I played Bunko with. I have friends I go out to dinner with. I had friends I bowled with. I had PTA friends and gym mom friends. I’ve got friends from work. I’ve got friends from high school. I have friends I tell my innermost secrets to and other friends where I keep it pretty superficial.

I’m shaking my head here. I’m not sure anyone rational expects one person to be everything for another person. Again, does no one have friends anymore?  Just because your partner doesn’t share your interest in something doesn’t mean you need to find another warm body to sleep with in order to enjoy that interest. Just recently when I shared that sweet J and I watched the Kentucky Derby the mobster told me he had never seen the race, nor was he interested in ever seeing it. When I told him I planned on having an annual Derby party, complete with hats and mint juleps he told he would probably be working that day. Does that mean I should go find some other man that does enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby? One that would love to attend my annual Derby party? No, of course not!

As for the sexual mismatch… to be blunt I think you should know by the time you’re committing to a person what kind of a sex drive they have. If your libidos are mismatched and that’s going to be an issue then end the relationship. It’s called dating for a reason. People are far too reluctant to end a relationship, choosing instead to settle. That’s not on monogamy; that’s on people who are willing to compromise something important in order to remain in a relationship.

Look, Willow, I know you think you’ve discovered the magical cure for all relationship woes. If I’m just not tied down to one person but can instead experience a multitude of people, all with my partner’s blessing, my life will be blissful. Oh, you sweet summer child, people don’t cheat because they’re forced into “unnatural” monogamy. Cheaters cheat because that’s what they like to do. It’s no fun with permission. It’s not because they’re not “allowed” to sample others. It’s because they like duping you. That is the real thrill, not freedom to fuck others. Polyamory isn’t some magical elixir. A lying, cheating asshole “forced” into monogamy isn’t suddenly going to become Prince Charming once you tell them they can fuck whomever they choose… within the bounds of your agreement, of course. Monogamy is not the enemy and polyamory isn’t the answer to everyone’s prayers.

One thought on “Oh, Willow

  1. I love how open you are, I think that you have said so much that doesn’t get dealt with in these light convos about non monogamy.

    What I think I may agree with willow on is the presumption of a couple based society. Even in this blog you say- I don’t care, so you do you- but then continue to say- no one is forcing monogamous paths on people- who are these peoples… well- ok… let’s take a look. Her parents and grandparents are couples. In almost all fiction if there’s more than one love interest it’s usually to creat the triangle, the hypotenuse is strong in literature- like hunger games with katniss and the two dudes. Same with TV and movies. The main tv show covering poly anything is sister wives, which is a shit show and not representative of what most people who practise poly would ever get behind. The most recent really relevant view I have seen is Schitts creek where two characters are dating the same man and think he’s cheating and he was all – nah, I’m just dating both of you, I’m poly. Again it’s creating the triangle, but the writers did it to call out the discussion of poly and showcase that it can be a thing, it can be a choice and it shouldn’t be weird, just talk about it.

    I think it’s a bit similar to the idea of homosexuality and gender identity. People are incorporating a strong message of ‘it’s ok and it’s good and it’s not something to hide’ into education, into literature and tv and in doing so more people can reflect on their life and their self and be true to that. It’s not that people have been ‘forcing’ people to live straight (although yeh, that is kindof a thing) but they are now recognizing and enforcing that it’s not the only way. People who say sexuality is a choice- well… when did they decide to be straight? Asking them that, they usually just stammer something like ‘that’s just always been’. So- they knew they were straight, it wasn’t a choice, and then their assumption is that someone else woke up and said/ nope; I’m turning the switch over to gay today. Not that they woke up day after day feeling something and finally bothered to clue the world in that they are wired to be attracted to whatever it is they are.

    I think poly and alternate relationships are also going to get some light. So. You say ‘don’t people have friends anymore… ‘ well- that’s where your – and most peoples subconscious bias shows. you should only have one significant other is showing it’s cards plainly.

    Here’s the question: why are you allowed more friends but not more people you love romantically

    You knew your heart would just make room for more kids if you had them. You didn’t go- oh I’m a one child momma because rockstar takes up all my love.

    You don’t limit yourself to one friend, thinking- oh this one friend needs me and does me good, I don’t want or need more, or I couldn’t handle more, or it wouldn’t be fair if I had more.

    But your brain naturally posits that response with romantic partners. So. That’s where lots of people sit. And people who are poly are saying- lovers are like friends, children, shoes and purses. You can balance more than one, should you choose to do so. And you should do it ethically.

    I don’t know if you read my blog but I do identify as poly, I have absolutely no jealous streak sexually and I love being able to love multiple people, and I am more than a little queer. But I am also very relationship minded and so many people in the poly pool are actually just looking for tail. I found multiple partners who accepted each other and engaged me, were lovely and it was good. But they as a spread were some serious work, and when my anxiety took off skybound a couple years ago I ended my relationships. And on vacation I met TDF. He is not poly, he gets it from a scholarly perspective but his brain isn’t wired that way. He and I are good. Just because I am poly acclimated doesn’t mean I have to be with multiples. It just means I can love more than one. And if my relationships allow for that I would embrace it. TDF and I are good and stable and happy and I have no questions or needs. If I ever think I am not getting my needs met with him, it’s not because of my poly inclinations and it doesn’t mean we should talk about our relationship as if opening it would change the things which are dysfunctional. We would work on it, and if no go, end it, there’s no discussion about pushing someone into a realm they already know doesn’t work for them.

    Poly for willow is probably going to be hard. But it also pushes awareness of all involved parties to the forefront and that brings in a lot of empathy.

    Ok I woke at 5 and now I’m still awake but getting sleepy again so I’m very sorry for the rambling reply but that’s my half awake mind stream about it

    Liked by 1 person

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