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Polyamory Essays October 31, 2021
The simplest definition of being polyamorous is the ability to be attracted to, desiring, or loving more than one human at the same time.
But practicing polyamory is a coin with two distinct sides: willingly sharing yourself (easier) and willingly sharing your partner(s) (not easier).
I honestly believe every human is poly at the core: we average 5-10 sexual partners and big love relationships over our lifetime (and yes, many more overlap than we’d like to admit).
We have “work wives” and “work husbands”, we frequent strip clubs, and we’ve replayed Channing Tatum’s, er, interpretive dance in Magic Mike way more times than we’d like to admit.
The little twist to my story is that while I know I’m poly at the core, the rest of me isn’t always so great at the sharing my poly partner part.
Ok, not often great at it at all. There are lots of reasons for this, but what this means is that at this time, I’m unable to practice more emotionally demanding polyamory styles like relationship anarchy or non-hierarchical poly.
I gave it the Ivy League college try, and it did not work for me in allowing my nervous system to keep me resourced to show up fully in my life.
That’s why for the time being, my primary nesting partner and I are currently practicing a “flexible open relationship”, where we are not defining it as “super-poly” (total free-for-all) or “monogamish”, but something in between that bends and flexes depending on what we’re feeling and needing at the time.
The question many of us have to ask, even if we’re poly on the inside, are we “poly enough” to practice on the outside?
One reason I’ve often questioned this is because I develop strong preferences for people, and I have yet to find a romantic partner that I enjoy remotely close to my main squeeze.
So I just haven’t experienced the benefits of sharing myself nearly as much as my partner has.
Things get sticky when he does find a person like that–the balance feels off and my insecurities bubble up to the surface.
As such, I’ve had to curate a kaleidoscopic toolbox of practices, reminders, modalities, and strategies to help me navigate my ebb and flow of “poly wobbles”.
You might relate since you are here, and I’d like to offer a litmus test of sorts to verify that at my absolute core, I am poly.
It helps peel off the layers of religious and New Age conditioning of the “sacred union”, relationship trauma, and all other residue I’ve acquired that fogs the mirror of my authentic reflection.
I call it the CE Test, and it’s short for “Celebrity Encounter”.
It is not a groundbreaking concept: many celebrities represent the genetic and cultivated cream of the human crop in attractiveness, intellect, talent, and charisma.
Many a cocktail party conversation has us exchanging our “top five” celebs we’d love to get a “hall pass” with from our spouses.
Which proves that most of us are not actually monogamous at the core of our true nature.
The Celebrity Encounter test takes this idea full throttle, not just as a brief mental dalliance, but as an actual tool for polyamory navigation.
The subject of my CE test happens to conveniently share the same initials as the test itself. They are someone who appears to be one of the most bankable, lovable, and eligible bachelors in the world:
Credit: Rolling Stone
Hoidy doidy doidy DOY. Can I pick ’em or what?
Mr. Evans is of course best known for his portrayal of one of the world’s most loved Marvel comic superheroes: Captain America.
He nearly escaped my radar for the last decade after I pegged him to be just another pretty machismo player type with little substance after discovering him in the Fantastic Four movies.
But a resurgence happened when I unexpectedly developed a serious infatuation with the Avengers while attempting to slog through my giant first book manuscript.
Thanks to the insidious rabbit hole that is the YouTube algorithm, I begin to piece together a fuller picture of who could be considered quite a one-dimensional hero-type character.
Many rabid fans may see a devastatingly gorgeous specimen with crystal blue steel eyes and a beefy “the gym is THAT vay” physique (not that I, um, care about these things.)
But I never expected my emotional and sapiosexual guitar strings to be so thoroughly twanged by a movie star.
What many don’t realize is that he is an actor for the sake of the craft and not fame.
Who doesn’t appear to possess an iota of the self-possessed, indulgently eccentric narcissism one might expect from a member of that Hollywood echelon.
Who is a real human, but not your average human.
When I got glimpses into his affable personality, his hearty, infectious laugh, deep sense of brotherhood, respectful adoration of his family, women, children, and rescued doggie…
…his passion project for human rights and political literacy (A Starting Point), his struggle with anxiety in light of his megastardom (stop pulling on my heartstrings, you!!), his bashful love for tap dancing, his silky, deep baritone encouraging a young boy fan with cancer to stay strong–oops, my diary page just ran out of room.
The verdict is in: Chris is a caring, huggable, genuine gem of a human who seems to be an absolute joy to be around, and it all honestly makes my lady parts feel like they’re hitting the high notes in a Carmen Miranda song, you read me? (takes deep breath)
Back to the test. During one unproductive book editing session, I found a way to cheat on my manuscript with a surprisingly insightful analysis of Chris’s astrology as it relates to the globally mystifying fact that he’s still a bachelor despite the millions of women who are practicing occult psychic marriage rituals to him at this precise moment.
Not that I would…ever…um, or even…know what that…is…pbbfffff (hides crystal grid and scrying bowl.)
Anyway, this video didn’t alleviate my limerence AT ALL. (cough we’re both zodiac crustaceans with tough outer shells and share guarded, passionate, and possessive Scorpio energy that loves relationships while needing supreme emotional safety cough)
I didn’t realize how handy this video would be for navigating poly (ok also maybe his IG videos of playing mournfully soulful piano and giggling and wrestling his beloved rescue doggo while doing PUSHUPS–)
Come on, bro. You can’t do that.
I promise, I am going somewhere with this.
Later that day, I found myself feeling particularly anxious over catching my partner sharing his exquisite Care Bear Stare (eye gazing) with another lovely human, the scorching Human Torch popped into my squinky brain.
A strange voice said, “what would you want to do…if you met him?”
I looked around to make sure no one was spying on me and whispering provocative and confronting life questions.
When I realized I was alone and the voice was in my noggin, I let the inquiry proceed.
What would I want to do if I met Chris Evans In person?
Interesting possibilities began to percolate.
What would I want to do when we hit it off (which of course there’s no question we would because of our obvious astrological alignment and tarot card readings foretelling of our divine synchronicity)?
The answer to that is a definitive spanking back to reality. Oh yes, I remember–I know exactly what I’d want to do.
And it’s not all what you’re thinking—get your mind out of the gutter.
With my growing knowledge of conscious relating and conversation skills, attachment theory, partner attunement and compassion work, trauma resolution, sound healing, and not to mention Tantric intimacy practices, I would have plenty of ideas for a full-spectrum connection experience.
Ok, so maybe there is some of what you’re thinking.
And, even in that excitement, I know that there would be imperfections. In no way would this sparkly new experience replace the deep epic love I’ve cultivated with my partner with zero intention of bailing on the brilliantly rich and vibrant life we’ve built together.
There’s no way to know that he shares my partner’s unique gifts like his conscious communication skills, sexy banter, outstanding parenting skills, and radical commitment to helping his family of choice get their needs and desires met.
And we would never be able to reproduce the singular fingerprint our life together has alchemized.
This is precisely why I no longer “fall” in love and become a slave to NRE (new relationship energy.)
Rather, I grow to love, careful to pace my attachment, decisions, and expectations without impinging upon my joy.
It’s one of the most useful lessons polyamory has offered me: that fresh, exciting love can’t outmatch the steady familiarity of long-term, committed love.
This also doesn’t mean I would do everything I’d want to do…I don’t do whatever my flight of fancy wants in this open lifestyle.
I am not a bleeding heart, sovereignty-obsessed polyvangelist.
Rather, I’m an eco-amorist.
I believe in conscious, intentional, and well-paced romantic explorations that factor in the ecology of my entire relationship “biosphere”.
I have a hubby-ish, family of choice, children, two businesses, and an irritatingly unrequited cat love relationship, all of which depend on a certain commitment of reliability and predictability.
That’s why I am perfectly comfortable adhering to my partnership agreements and boundaries, which help keep us all physically and emotionally safe enough to enjoy outside exploration.
That doesn’t mean I can’t have my fun.
Chris doesn’t know this, but we’ve gone on several cozy movie dates (in which he stars) and things are going quite well so far!
In fact, he’s kept me company while my beloved was off enjoying quality date time of his own, and I have to say that the Cap is something to look forward to on my chilly solo nights.
The CE test is not about what I’m free to do; it’s whether I’m capable of holding the space of attraction and desire for two different humans simultaneously, and this situation scenario passes the test with flying colors.
It further convinces me to know that Chris is not the only successful subject of this test (glances furtively at Sebastian Stan, you zany rebel you).
Which reminds me that…I understand the ongoing benefits of this lifestyle for its ability to view the world as one where humans represent unlocked doors of infinite possibility.
These reminder tools are essential for my continuing effort to dismantle old paradigms, work to heal my Complex PTSD and relationship injuries that still try to convince me that “I’m not poly enough.”
The CE test is especially handy in moments of fear and doubt when my partner’s away.
Visions of what my partner is doing are often swiftly replaced with the imagined feelings of doing the same with my test subject.
Ack, my beloved’s going on a date with someone new and pretty and sweet-oh, right. I’d do that too.
Yeesh, he’s gazing at her lovingly-oh, right. I’d enjoy that. Mm-hmm.
Yipe, it’s the first night they’re having se–hmmm….excuse me for a moment. [runs to bedroom for fifteen minutes]
Ok, I’m back. Oh yes, all systems go, thank you for asking!
I realized what this exercise is doing for me is repatterning a sense of “of course that’s okay-ness”.
It glimpses the possibility that as scary and unfamiliar as it still feels, love can emerge between more than two at once and still be safe for all.
It’s not a cure-all and hasn’t eradicated my sharing discomforts, but it certainly has a pleasant palliative effect.
Now, there’s a big caveat to this test: it’s hard to put this theoretical feeling into practice because the odds of meeting my test subject are roughly as good as hitting Saturn with a peashooter.
But that doesn’t mean that I won’t end up meeting a person in the flesh that won’t generate loving feelings and desires over my lifetime.
If there is one thing I know about myself is that I am not a lifelong pair-bonding monogamous lover. I have loved many times over, and since I still have more years ahead of me than behind me, I know lightning can and will most likely strike again.
In the absence of other reliable, committed, fulfilling relationships, the idea of this encounter can be enough to help us say, “remember who you are and what you’re capable of.”
Remember that this person shows you the qualities that you appreciate most in potential lovers and that not all of them are possessed by your one partner.
Remember that a person like this could enter your life one day, and on that day, you’ll be free to say yes to them.”
Now, the flip side of this coin is how I feel about what my partner would want to do in a similarly appetizing situation.
No matter how much we want relationship freedom for ourselves, the reality is that many of us are not yet equipped, and possibly never will be, to sustain the required shifts to the nervous system and core beliefs that equate exclusivity with safety.
Whether I’m capable of holding the experience of my partner deeply loving more than me and finding security in that is still the exploration I embark upon every single day.
Like, what would he want to do if he met the lusciously beautiful and talented Scarlett Johanssen?
Well, that’s the inner security work I still continue to do, and which we help others do in our Secure Poly Collective membership.
But I take some comfort in knowing there’s a good chance he’d invite me along for some lovey fun (if she’s down) because ScarJo is one of my female answers to the CE test! #equalopportunitylover
As to the question of how this special human is yet unattached, I have my theories. He’s reportedly looking for “the One”, which is an interesting pursuit considering current infidelity and divorce rates.
With someone of that caliber and access to those circles, the standards for finding a single match must be stratospherically high.
Yet, as a reported Buddhist and activist, clearly Chris is someone who is also able to peer beyond the veil of standard narratives.
That what he’s seeking may not be found in the superficiality that can characterize the movie industry.
And considering that monogamous marriage and Hollywood are the most stupendously illogical mismatch in the world…
…where the world’s most beautiful, talented, and often-married humans are intentionally paired up based on their chemistry and charged with “pretending” to fall in love and then they do fall in love and then leave their current partner and everyone yells “HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED??” and a grand mess ends up plastered on Page Six.
Kind of Like dropping a sizzling grass-fed filet mignon in front of a two-day-old vegan (um he-LLO Oscar Isaac red carpet Care Bear Stare at Jessica Chastain??)
They should just call it Polywood and be done with it already. (More on why conscious polyamory could save Hollywood in an upcoming post.)
This dilemma could be Chris’s greatest growth journey, as it has been and for me and many others who dare to question the inherited narrative and tread this path less, yet increasingly traveled.
But what do I know?
What I do know, is that when it comes to the question of whether I’m capable of giving love to more than one person at the same time, the CE test shows me the answer is an absolute YES.
If you’re able to say yes to the Test, then that’s a good sign “you’re poly” too.
Try it for yourself and see what it tells you.
So if you’re listening, Cap, I salute you. Thank you for existing.
You remind a confused girl that her wild-hearted “poly pulse” still beats bright and give her hope that it’s possible that she too can do this damn thing all day.
And, um…a whole bunch of other stuff if you pick up what I’m putting down.
Now if you’ll excuse me…it’s Date Night. 🛡
Share in the comments! 👇🏼
⦑ lea Ælla ⦒
Trauma Translator + Compassion Coach
Find me on IG: @lea.aella
DISCLAIMER – This article is in no way intended to start false rumors about Mr. Evans. We have never met nor are associated in any way whatsoever.
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