Curiously when I tell people I'm in an open relationship and have two boyfriends, there's a fair few who will turn around and say.
Oh my God, I'm having an affair with a married man/woman. Thank God I can tell someone.
It happened again yesterday. There in my inbox. Another mail from another friend.
There's a lot of people having or who have had affairs out there, if my sampling is anything to go by. It's curious that they choose to tell me because in my mind, what I am doing and what they are doing is completely opposite even if it involves the same amount of people.
Nevertheless in a very real sense I understand that because I have chosen to put myself on the fringes of society, others feel permitted to share their own vulnerability with me. They think I won't judge them.
What is Judgement?
Judgement is what happens when someone creates an artificial condition in which, by the definitions of the mind, someone or something is seen as better or worse than someone or something else. Judgement is a pure fabrication of the mind because the condition itself is an artificial one.
Marriage (and religion in general) is an artificial condition which creates a great context for judgement. It creates saints and sinners. In marriage, we've created a situation where sex with one person is legitimized because of a piece of paper, whilst sex with another is not. Where two people promise something to each other in a future they can't possibly know (because no one does) and if they deviate from it, are judged as bad. Where children born into it are 'better' than other bastard children born out of it.
I still have judgements of course because I am human. They are like reflexes. But I am aware that they are judgements, they are not me and they are not important. In the last years I have lost many of them (judgements don't really like sticking around in a mind that doesn't attach any importance to them).
Most polyamorous people consider the betrayal that happens when two people have an affair is a terrible thing. Polyamory ideologically means no betrayal. I am not most people. Because if it wasn't obvious, that in itself is a judgement. I have my own set of beliefs around affairs. They do not involve words like terrible. I believe in acts and consequences. I believe that affairs are at odds with your integrity. I believe that taking part in them means you are creating drama in your life.
What is Drama?
Drama is real life acting. Drama is where you are the victim. A victim does not take responsibility for his or her life. Being the victim justifies anything you care to do no matter how destructive it is to yourself and others.
At the same time, I believe that no one is to 'blame' for their drama, because they act out of 'no choice'. Imagine that you are a computer running a program. You probably have no awareness of the program or script you are running. You just do it. Certain things feel right and good. They soothe the wounds already there, even whilst creating new ones.
My friend is with a married person because the level of commitment offered, the shame and the secrecy of the whole thing matches her internal barometer of self-worth, which is in itself, oddly comforting. It takes away her pain. And who I am to tell her that she shouldn't soothe her pain? It's not my journey, or my pain.
How did the scripts get there?
Lies. They got there through lies. Not the ones you know you are telling. Like your grandmother's chicken casserole tastes lovely. Or that sweater looks good on you. You KNOW those are lies.
No, it's the dangerous ones about your life. The ones like I am happy in my job. Or our sex life is great. It's the lies you desperately want to believe which will drive you to suppress the truth.
The truth being that you are responsible for your life.
Because the part of life that contradicts the lie, goes into that lovely place called denial and resides in your subconscious. It means you don't have to be responsible for your life. And your subsconscious mind will perpetuate the lie. It will go to greater and greater lengths to support the position you have created for yourself and cover up the truth. Lies fragment your subconscious and shatter your integrity.
Since integrity is the state of being whole, when you damage it, you become weakened. Less powerful than you were born to be. That is the consequence of your actions.
Affairs are super-dooper hothouses for life lies.
The lies you desperately want to believe probably are "She doesn't love their spouse" (she probably does) or "I would be so happy if only he would leave her" (no you wouldn't) or, if you're the one cheating, "I'm so unhappy in my life because of my spouse" (no you're not) or "I'm staying for the sake of the children" (really? would you have your OWN children stay in a loveless marriage? so why do you?).
So to my friend. Live your life. I don't judge. It's your own journey I want you to be happy. But because I care about you, I want you to know the consequences of your actions. You are not improving your sense of self worth. You are actively damaging it...again and again. Your relationship cannot be acknowledged and this actively affirms to the universe that you are someone to be kept secret. It affirms that you are not worthy. This is your choice. It's not like I haven't made destructive choices in my life. You are still here and accept me as I accept you.
But I think you're amazing. Magical. I've always thought so. I am overjoyed to be your friend.
I just wish you loved yourself even half as much as I do.
First published on Postmodern Woman