Since today is my 48th birthday, and I’m not interested in talking about deep emotional issues or about politics or just about anything that might piss me off, I thought I’d offer some insight based on a song I find to be both sad and funny.
You see, there are quite a few myths, stereotypes and other cultural misunderstandings about polyamory that make figuring out whether you ARE poly sometimes quite difficult.
There are two parts to the song’s lyrics that I feel need some clarification.
First is the pseudo-chorus. I call it that because while it takes the place of a chorus, it is not a repeat chorus.
What makes it amusing for me is that it is referring to what many polyamorous people call “searching for the Unicorn” or “Unicorn Hunting.”
I assume you know what a unicorn is, but if you do not, a unicorn is defined as “a mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.”
In the context of poly, however, searching for a unicorn relates to the actions of a particular set of people. These are usually a male/female married couple where the female is bisexual and the male is heterosexual. What they want is a woman who is willing to join their relationship, but must be willing to date both.
Now, some Unicorn hunters are not dysfunctional people in a dysfunctional relationship. Some are very able to be fully honest, fully communicative, and fully invested in the three-way relationship. These healthy people are simply clear on what they are looking for, and aren’t playing any games. They are a Dyad (dictionary version, you should also look at the polyamorous definition on the Glossary of Polyamory Terms. looking to become an integrated Triad (Glossary of Polyamory Terms — look at both Triad and Delta).
Sadly, however, MOST Unicorn Hunters are not this kind of healthy couple.
More often than not it is a dysfunctional heterosexual male and a co-dependent bisexual female. The male tends to be very jealous, very insecure and frankly rarely understands how to have ONE healthy adult romantic relationship let alone more than one.
The female is in a bit of a sticky wicket here. She has admitted to her male partner that she is bisexual, and more often than not she knows the only way she will ever be “allowed” to date anyone outside the main relationship is to look for a female partner. She must also look for someone not only willing to date the man as well, but someone who is willing to always be an outsider to the previous male/female relationship. The additional female will usually be limited from ever dating anyone outside the triangle, or if she is allowed to date outside she is ALSO limited to only other females. This allows the man to be the only male in the relationship (a situation that happens so often that it too has it’s own term — the One-Penis Policy [a.k.a. OPP] which should be self-explanatory. If not, look at the glossary linked above).
Additionally, any action taken by the bisexual female’s other female relationship that sounds like issues with the primary relationship (i.e. unwilling to date the male, willing to date both but requires equal standing, etc.) will immediately mean that relationship will be ended.
Now, this does not mean that it has to be a male/female couple. There are sometimes LGBTQ relationships that are similar (where one side is bisexual rather than strictly gay; and the bisexual person is limited to only dating the opposite sex outside of the relationship). It can also be a male/female couple where the man is the bisexual.
The reason it comes out as looking for a “hot, bi babe” is that the straight male puts an extra emphasis on the aesthetic looks of the intended third person. These are the same kind of straight, monogamous males that are ONLY willing to date women who are “height/weight proportional” or like President-Elect Trump, will only date women he deems to be a “10.”
The issue is the dysfunction that is being perpetuated.
So, let’s deal with the other situation I emphasized above — f alling in love. Now, this is a song, it’s not a place to go into deeply what is meant. Many polyamorous people I know do not have what amounts to a fear of falling in love. Many enjoy falling in love.
But, there are some polyamorous people who use it as a way to keep committment limited. I personally find that sad.
EVERY relationship a human has requires some level of committment, not just romantic ones. But those who are afraid of committment all have one issue in common, they are afraid of managing the expectations of others in relation to their choices – whether that is expectations by a friend or expectations by a lover.
Yes, every single time you engage in a relationship (including an employment relationship such as boss/underling) there are expectations to be managed. A person in a relationship has certain duties and obligations that are often specifically stated (if they are not specifically stated, then there’s an important discussion to be had). They fear many things in regards to these obligations or duties. Here’s some possible fears:
- Fear of failure (not being able to fulfill those duties)
- Fear of loss of self (having so many obligations that you have no time for yourself)
- Fear of vulnerability (fulfilling those duties can require opening up and trusting the other person not to hurt you)
- Fear of being taken for granted
- Fear of rejection
There are LOTS of people out there – monogamous as well as polyamorous – who are that afraid of commitment and have developed that fear into a relationship anxiety. It all comes down to protecting one’s self and the inability to trust anyone else than yourself.
I may have serious issues with trusting other people, but once I am in a relationship I give it everything I can. I learned romantic committment from my parents. You keep working on it as long as possible. What I didn’t learn was how to recognize when the other person is not engaged in the relationship.
I’m not sure why I did not develop a relationship anxiety after breaking it off with my ex. I am open to meeting new people, even meeting possible new romantic relationships. I’m not hiding from it. Maybe it’s simple, I simply don’t equate the rest of the men in the world with who my ex-husband is.