How it came to happen that I sallied out to discover the remote island:
My previous marriage would have been described by our former friends and acquaintances as an “Open Relationship” – a description which my former wife and I would have declined as not appropriate at all.
On the verge of the last millenium, and only a few years before we were married in 2002, we had jointly – and maybe a little naive – “just” agreed that if ever someone of us would wish a sexual encounter out of wedlock, he or she in any event should have veritable affection and feelings for that very person (!).
Yes, you read it right. Whereas couples in “Open Relationships” usually allow each other sexual encounters out of wedlock, it is also commonplace that affection or love in particular are kept out of such arrangements to protect the core-relationship. But the both of us had stipulated it nearly completely the other way round…
That somewhat antithetic understanding worked for us for over a decade until…– well…, until out of the permitted affections and feelings concerning third parties one day there emerged unawares a request for a genuine additional close-knit relationship.
The observant reader might be astonished, since that consequence seems to be only to obvious in retrospect regarding such an attitude. But indeed – in those days we had never thought about the ramifications or any procedures in case such a scenario would unfold: The moment true affection for another dear person developed into the full sized desire for a further relationship…
All parties involved were literally flabbergasted.
According to this the three of us (okay, the five of us – including the children) tried from that moment on to keep going “DIY-Style” in a manner of speaking – gathering all the comprehension, humour, and compassion we could muster. We strived towards any approach to this unorthodox new kind of joint adventure, including and up to shifting configurations concerning bed and board.
At length and nearly by chance we finally laid hands on the book “More Than Two – A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” written by Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux. And this 480-pages strong treatise developed into our first viable outline – you might even call it nautical chart – to a more substantial understanding of the bearing and the implications of multiple relationships, particularly in regard to the persons involved. Thus straightening out proper criteria concerning the requirements and needs of those persons involved – which they applied to their aspired way of life in the light of the pending philosophy inherent to Polyamory.
So it was bound to happen that only two of us (and not the original crew!) boarded our home-made raft to venture out of the quaint havens of Monoamory across the sea to the versatile archipelago of Polyamory – equipped with our nautical chart and a lot of idealism.
My high hopes in to completing my quest by doing just that turned out to be premature, however. Although at first sight the new land seemed to be vast and free and populated by fascinating inhabitants, whose customs we eagerly adapted. For this purpose we participated zealously in their web forums, attended their regular’s tables – and as a matter of fact entered into intimate relationships with a very few of them. We even visited with awe the prodigious atoll of Relationship-Anarchy for a while, taking some cautious steps on it’s elusive egalitarian surface.
Nevertheless: After nearly three years of intense research uneasiness and perplexity had diffused throughout my small team. For as if a raging Amor had confused and scattered the tongues of the polyamorous people, no coherent basic principles could be established regarding their corresponding way of life.
For example there were lovers who cohabited with each other like in a traditional closed marriage albeit with multiple mates. Quite a number of other people on the other hand saw themselves as members of far-flung and multi-branched relationship-networks. Some others lived excessively all alone and joined chosen mates only at festivals, workshops or especially arranged weekend-meetings. At times there was the proclamation of the inevitable congruency with free or universal love. Whereas other Polyamorists seemed to practice something that was very similar to Swinging, and a number of people even joined in parallel or serial flings and affairs in the ubiquitous name of loving-many.
And the emphasis on the expression of individual sexual freedom seemed to be at the forefront of the general thinking in many quarters anyway.
But nonetheless all of the aforementioned folks called themselves proudly participants in the polyamorous lifestyle – accentuating the very fact vehemently and noisily, especially in order to distinguish oneself from the next neighbour, who was claiming exactly the same privilege for himself…
Those pervasive differences of opinion appeared to reduce the promised characteristics of honesty, responsibility and commitment – which once motivated myself to the crossover to Polyamory – to mere negotiable footnotes.
At this critical juncture I recognised that I myself had not only come as an explorer but also as a seeker – with my own needs and desires concerning the surplus value I had hoped to find in polyamorous relationships.
Even so it became distressingly apparent to me that at the dawn of the 21st century the mere term “Polyamory” was no longer consistently employed by its users. Therefore, the general term wasn’t any longer suited for congruent communication and to a much lesser extent qualified concerning the convergence of like-minded people or even community building.
What could I do?
To content myself with “Mission Impossible”, to compromise and settle down with a merely approximate idea?
my binoculars searched the versatile archipelago, which suddenly
appeared to be inhospitable and full of fissures.
But there – at the extreme end of the archipelago, barely visible and spaced out into glimmering remoteness – wasn’t there another island? An island nominally associated with the archipelago – but distinct in its peculiarity? Featuring a seemingly austere shoreline – albeit an abundantly verdant and lively looking heartland…? An island apparently pristine, as if it had never been tarnished by any sour springs of conceptual dilution!
Instantaneously my mind was quite made up. Accompanied by one companion only I ventured out by boat, daring the uncertain passage. Yet luckily we disembarked on the shingle-strewn beach.
And thus I sat foot into this uncharted territory.
The very moment I unfurled the heart-flag I had brought along – thereby displaying the blue double-spiral – I deemed to perceive a few silhouettes of members of the local tribe remote at some distance towards the flowering interior. It was this fleeting emergence of those select few which inspired in me at that very moment the idea to the name of that small isle – and so I said while stepping onto the shore:
“I shall call you OLIGOAMORY!”