Don’t Impose on My Romance

I’m going to add my $.02 to Alec’s post and AJ’s follow-up. This started as a simple thread on G+ yesterday, but it brought up some issues that have been circulating for a while. With the caveat that we’re all entitled to our opinions, and I know mine won’t be popular with some, I’m going to state them anyway.

holding-hands-199x300 Don't Impose on My Romance

Love isn’t finite. We don’t have a fixed amount of love to share out and if we love too many people, we dilute it. Love is infinite, and the more people we have to love, the more love grows. People don’t love more or less if they have one close family member or a hundred. People don’t love more or less if they have one close friend or a thousand.

So why do so many people presume that loving more than one sexual partner means you must love them less? That the relationship is broken?

If I go out for dinner with a friend from work, my friends I’ve known since school don’t think our friendships have changed. If I go out with my sister, our parents don’t get all up in our business for not spending enough time with them.

Polyamory, open relationships, the occasional threesome or fling within a generally-monogamous pairing, aren’t for everybody. I get that. We’re green-eyed monsters when it comes to sexual love. Our society teaches us that two is the norm, that we should find that special someone, that we’re all halves looking to become whole.

Monogamy is a powerful narrative, reinforced by cultural and legal norms. Being married to more than one person at the same time is a crime, and there aren’t many judgments harsher than that.

I’m not saying monogamy is bad. Yes, we’re funneled into it, but most people want it. And that’s okay. What’s not okay in my book is judging others for making choices you couldn’t imagine making for yourself. Really, what difference is there between saying that you don’t understand same-sex attraction, so  it should be banned, and saying you don’t understand polyamory, so it should be banned?

I knew, when I started writing a menage story that some people wouldn’t read it on principle, and that’s fine. This isn’t a bitter author rant. What’s not fine is casting judgment on that sort of romantic arrangement, because yes it’s only fiction — and worse, romance — but you know what, all our stories have some basis in fact. There are real people out there living real lives just like we’re writing, people who can identify with those characters and see their reality reflected back at them. And isn’t that what we read romance for?

Romances are the most enduring of all stories. People can sneer as much as they want, but everybody knows Romeo and Juliet and everybody thinks Henry V is an insufferable snooze-fest, if they’ve even heard of it at all. Romance speaks to the soul in a way no other genre does, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let people sneer at it, or especially at certain types of romance that they consider somehow “less.”

We all have the luxury of reading what we want to read, and living how we want to live. What we don’t have is the right to tell others they’re wrong.

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18 replies on “Don’t Impose on My Romance”

  1. Grace says:

    I loved your series with those three. I got similar censure for a poly relationship in one of my novels. In fact, one of the reviews tore my story *apart* because of the relationship.

    Great post. 🙂

    • Kate Aaron says:

      Yep, for some people a certain plot element = automatic slam review. Why people can’t say “not my cup of tea” and move on, I don’t know.

  2. Helena Stone says:

    Yes. Every single word of that YES.

  3. Beautifully put.

    And for the record I love “Henry V”. 😀

  4. Kris g says:

    Ummm, I really want to be you when I grow up. LOL that was beautifully and expertly written.

  5. AnnAlaskan says:

    Excellent!! Precise & to the correct Point!!

  6. everybody thinks Henry V is an insufferable snooze-fest

    You slightly undermine your point about tolerance, I’m afraid, by suggesting that there’s only one possible POV on this (or indeed any) subject – even though it was clearly only in jest. For the record, there are some *parts* of ‘Henry V’ that are snooze-fests, or even massively cringeworthy, but not the whole thing … and not when it’s performed well. I might recommend a certain 1989 film adaptation, for a start …

    • Kate Aaron says:

      Heh, okay, I was being flippant. The point stands that any person in the street would know R&J, but would be harder-pushed to name Henry V, and be less likely to have read/seen it, or have more than the vaguest idea what it was about. There’s probably an argument that if it wasn’t written by Shakespeare, it would be even less known than it is, just a very old play more interesting for academics than entertainment.

  7. Excellent post. I am in a monogamous relationship but have never understood why people think everyone should fit in the same cookie cutter life. Thank you for stepping up the plate and blogging this. Love is love. P:eriod. Perhaps the real reason many peole are afraid of poly relationships or anything else other than a twosome is most of us have low self-confidence.and are afraid they will lose the person they love by sharing, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, people should understand everyone is entitled to the type of relationship they want between consenting adults.

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