I love marriage. Not necessarily the ‘official’ kind of marriage that requires a piece of paper from a judge or the blessing of a religious official, if that’s your thing. (It was a judge for us… but that’s a wholly different story.) Not the marriage that’s a construct of society, religion, the state, or anyone. I mean marriage that’s almost the living, breathing construct of no one but the participants.  Marriage in the sense of being bound to another by the deepest part of self. The kind of marriage that you feel within you. I’ve always felt that. That sense of comfort in the knowing that something is just…right. Like clicking the heels of your sparkling red shoes.

Dorothy's Ruby Slippers

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

Marriage has always felt like home to me. Lest you doubt this, for some anecdotal evidence you could ask preeeetttttyyyyy much every girl I ever had a crush on in high school (read: most of the girls I went to high school with who came close to my social circles). Well, not the first year; I didn’t talk to anyone much and especially not girls I was crushing on. After that first year, surprisingly I didn’t really have any issues with opening my mouth and engaging in conversation. Still, those next 2 and a half years is where the true depth of my social awkwardness truly began to be revealed. We’d hang out at lunch, or between classes… talk about music mostly, make fun of the ‘cool’ kids; somewhere in the midst of this, there’s be a conversation that went something like this:

Me: “Hey, Girlcrush…can I ask you a question?”

Her: “Ask away!”

Me: “Will you marry me?” (You know… because who says, “I like you, d’you wanna go to a movie?” or anything ‘normal’?)

Her: “ummm…no”

After which we would resume talking about Morrissey, or how totally awesome The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” really was (and still is). Actually, there were fewer “no”s than one could imagine; ‘Get back to me when I’m 30’ was a quite popular response. I’ve lots of ideas about the reasons why I was that way. I wasn’t just a creeper… (Although I’m sure it probably seems that way.) It all just comes down to the fact that I was just ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of social interaction. I wasn’t doing some 90’s version of “don’t friendzone me”. I was not into serial dating. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve had more girlfriends since we’ve been married and dating than I did before I met Êta. (That social awkwardness can be a killer!(But there was really more to it than just that…)) It all really comes down to the fact that I just knew that I wanted to be married.

To many poly minds, though, marriage of any kind and especially when it includes any concept of ‘forsaking all others’ is anathema. Amelia Earhart said in her prenuptial letter  regarding her desire for Polyamory, “…I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinement of even an attractive cage.”  It’s possible that she was referring literally to a house; immediately before the above quote she mentions ‘needing some place to go for herself’. Even so, though, her statement is quite apropos. This idea is one that is oft cited as a basic reason for Polyamory. ‘Why cage your love, when you can set it free?’, is the sentiment. I understand the desire to roam free. We are all capable of expressing and sharing in love which can take us to unimaginable heights, so why shouldn’t we.

The thing is, though, that the bird in the cage can still feel the freedom of flight. So what’s the cage, then? It doesn’t limit my capacity for love. The cage does not close me off from the world; it gives me refuge from the world. Most importantly, this cage requires work and effort to maintain. This cage is of my choosing. I feel no loss at being in this cage. To a certain extent the cage of marriage is, to me, the purpose. To turn from the wide world of ‘out there’ beyond the cage, and focus one’s energy and effort inward. Maybe it’s just the introvert in me, but that is the reason that I’ve for the longest time, even after I had the word to associate with the idea, I never considered myself Polyamorous. Much of the discussion about Polyamory that I had been exposed to  I believed, even in high school, that love was not like electrical current, only able to move between two connection points. I knew that the physical, emotional, and mental predispositions of attraction didn’t fit the mold of a single individual.

I believed those things even when we got married. When we exchanged our vows, ‘forsaking all others’, I knew that there would be others (at least potential others) that we’d be required to forsake…knew that things wouldn’t be exactly the same from the start to the ‘death do us part’ finish. But that’s what it was all about for us… putting in the work and effort to build a marriage of our choosing that would give us enduring refuge from the world. That’s the same thing it’s been about as we’ve gone through this journey of opening up; modifying and and rebuilding our marriage to accommodate more than just us two.

I guess the point of all of this is simply that I no longer have an issue with my identity as a Polyamorous individual, and to share the path that I took to get here. My Polyamory isn’t about love without limitation; I don’t feel that same sense of restriction that many poly individuals feel at the thought of a closed relationship. In my observation, though, we are all caged to some extent, if by naught else but the constraints of distance and time. Some of us, though, have a little bit more to reconcile than just that as we build our Poly home.

…there’s no place like it for me.