Pablo Pereyra, I am always, always happy to hear from you and feel too like we are having a bit of a conversation across the table when we get to talk like this. I have a lot of empathy for what you’ve said. Many people want to get into a slot and then just stay there. I’ve mentioned in a couple of my stories about James having breakfast one time with friends he’d known since elementary school. He said they were all so old, even though they are the same age that he is — 53. The reason for this is that they stopped growing and learning and are pretty much just treading water.

Poly is not a lifestyle that is right for everyone, but I do want to clarify one thing. There is no lying in polyamory (not if you are following the precepts, anyway). The whole point is to be able to be honest about what you want and need and then to negotiate that and co-create with your partner(s) the kinds of relationships that you want to be having. These elements of really taking responsibility for your self, for your emotions, for your needs is what truly makes this relationship style different than monogamy, even more than the sexual variety. After all, there’s a lot of cheating going on and a lot of divorces and serial monogamy, so sexual and emotional fidelity to one person isn’t necessarily a part of monogamy except in name only.

But the way that most people have been raised, there is a lot of co-dependency and control dynamics that go on in monogamy. James and I had a pretty happy and egalitarian marriage before we opened up, but we still had power struggles, because we’d been taught (unconsciously) that this was appropriate. For me, the truly transformative part about poly has been the reclaiming of myself as an individual who then chooses to make connections with others (including my husband) rather than two parts of a whole. Again, this doesn’t mean go poly, but I think it’s useful to notice if any of that is present in your life and try to bring self-responsibility into any relationship.

I wrote this before I got to know you, but this became really clear to me when we went to a wedding a few years back. Two-become-one is a part of marriage rhetoric, but I don’t think it’s healthy or reasonable.

Anyway, keep looking for ways to be who you really are and to keep growing even if most of those around you aren’t. Anything else is a slow death, I think.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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