It can be difficult and scary to come into an already established polycule, even more so when that polycule involves other power exchange relationships. It takes courage from either the Dom or sub to trust all the people involved and step into that situation. For some people, that first venture can be exhilarating, while others may get burned to the point of suffering crippling fear at the mere thought of trying again.
I have been there, so I know. Most of the time, those negative experiences are the result of misunderstandings about what polyamory is or people just using it as an excuse to cheat and do whatever they want. This is not polyamory. Those coming into that polycule have just as much power to hurt and harm their poly partners as they would a monogamous partner.
More Love, Not Diluted Affection
Polyamory literally means “many loves.” Not many sex partners, although physical intimacy is certainly a factor. It is not, however, the defining factor: that would be swinging or open relationships.
I cannot speak for every polyamorous individual, only myself, but I take that “many loves” idea seriously. I am not ever on the hunt for or even open to a casual hook-up with a stranger. I happen to be blessed with the ability to love more than one person with my whole being. I don’t hold anything back from my partners. They each get all of me. It’s a real relationship with each of them. I work hard to make sure that each of them can honestly say to themselves “That’s my woman,” not “Sometimes she’s mine for a little while.”
You might be wondering how on earth that is possible when I have a power exchange with each of them. Admittedly, that is a tricky thing, and it takes a great deal of honesty and communication on everyone’s part — especially mine. Each power exchange that I am a part of is a different dynamic, which gives me the freedom to be fully Daddy’s princess, Draggy’s treasure, and even my play partner’s submissive when we play. I could even take that into a full-on dynamic. Not everyone can do that, even when they believe they can. It’s hard to keep all of that straight when your heart isn’t fully in it on every level.
Yes, I make sure that my partners and I are all on the same page. I see it as my responsibility to do so, but I also choose my partners wisely. None of us would ask anyone else in our polycule to be someone other than exactly who they are, and if that means someone has a need or desire inside a power exchange that rubs up against someone else’s fears or insecurities – or maybe even their protective instincts – we find a way to work it out. It very much embodies the line from Lilo and Stitch: “Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”
A Love with Sharp Teeth
We are polyamorous. That does not mean we are throw-away people or that just because we have other partners, we will not hurt when you mess up or leave. Something I have learned in my misadventures is that most of us who are truly wired to be able to give so much of ourselves are actually far more hurt by such things than many monogamous people. It hurts me to be rejected because I am polyamorous. It hurts me to hear that a person I have grown to love doesn’t consider what is between us to be a “real” relationship or power exchange, and it cuts soul-deep to hear a Dominant turn down the heart and submission I offer him because he wants someone he can call “His,” as if somehow my offering is less because of this capacity I have to give to more than one.
There is a quote, my absolute favorite in fact, from the book Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The character Kat asks her father, Acheron, how anyone can be afraid of love and he responds, “How can they not? When you love someone… truly love them, friend or lover, you lay your heart open to them. You give them a part of yourself that you give to no one else, and you let them inside a part of you that only they can hurt—you literally hand them the razor with a map of where to cut deepest and most painfully on your heart and soul. And when they do strike, it’s crippling — like having your heart carved out. It leaves you naked and exposed, wondering what you did to make them want to hurt you so badly when all you did was love them. What is so wrong with you that no one can keep faith with you? That no one can love you? To have it happen once is bad enough… but to have it repeated? Who in their right mind would not be terrified of that?”
I think that quote applies to both sides of this equation. As hard as it is to open one’s heart to polyamorous love and power exchanges, it can be just as hard to offer it for the polyamorous person who has known rejection and hurt for no other reason than that they are polyamorous.
At the End of the Day…
Polyamory, as well as polyamorous power exchanges, take courage and understanding from both sides of the poly fence. Take care in how you treat potential partners’ feelings all around. You might be passing up the experience you’ve been longing for because it doesn’t come in the package you wanted it to.
As always, remember: This is your life; live it your way!