You’ve seen the T-shirt.
Personally, I care no more about grammatical than religious syncretism, both can be enriching. But polyamory is a broad term, used differently and often as a catch-all for any form of consenting non-monogamy.
I have been living this way for over three years now and while I am OK with the labels of “polyamorous”, “in an open relationship”, “non-monogamous”, or simply “open”, I often refer to what I practice “tribalamory”.
I love people. I love loving people. I love being loved by people. I love love. And I love that love comes in so many forms. When I started on this journey I didn’t know any rules, expectations, or etiquette, I childishly jumped in, loving the idea of loving without limits. I found out that telling someone “I love you” on a first date was not only a major faux-pas but cause for great confusion and amusement. It was my first time falling in love at the age of 31 and how else was I supposed to express it?
After my first break-up, I found that I still loved him. Some things changed and shifted and the form of our relationship needed to change, but love was and is still there. How am I to separate out the many different kinds and layers of love and know which I am allowed to call love and which isn’t appropriate for the “L-word”?
I gave the next guy a good scare with my uninhibited exuberance, but two years later we are still together, l-l-loving each other. After a while I tried to fit in and discover the lines between friendship and dating, boyfriend, partner, lover, friend. I wasn’t good at it but I learned to hold back and proceed with more caution. I killed the “l-word” and stifled my exuberance. And still I caused confusion and misunderstandings and grew more and more frustrated with the complexity of dating rules.
And then I gave up and decided that I was going to love passionately and freely and pay the price of getting hurt if that is what it took. The line between friend and lover and partner matters to me less and less. What I really want is to love a tribe of awesome people. I don’t care so much if you are my friend, my lover, my romantic partner, my cuddle partner, my boyfriend, my girlfriend, if we connect, I want you to be in my tribe and I want to love you and be loved by you.
We can shift the lines around and move from one category of relationship to another, that’s what communication is for. More than anything though, my heart is open and if yours is, too, let’s journey together for a while. I invite you into my heart and into my tribe. We don’t have to journey together forever. We don’t have be lovers. We don’t have to be romantic. We can grow closer and we can create more space. My love for my expanding, contracting, always changing tribe is limitless. Will you join my tribe and let me love you tribalamorously?