Entry 32

Dark Traits ¹

The treasure trove of the Oligoamorists is teeming with heroes and monsters, idols, mythical figures and chimeras.
When the little children have gone to bed, and those who are still pure at heart have long since snuggled into their alcoves, there are dark nights of the new moon when the elders conjure up an awesome figure by the darkly flickering hearth-fire of stories. Its mere name captures most listeners in a teeth-chattering spell; its fate to roam this world in search of the energies of the living makes the blood curdle even among the hardiest Oligoamorists.
That these beings nevertheless exist, I myself had to experience on a baleful day under the dark moon at the end of a cold October, when the following story befell me as it had always been told with superstitious whispers at the campfires of the Oligoamorists…:

The Nissiscrat entered my house unrecognised and in the company of his favourite toy.
Asked to my table, the Nissiscrat spoke at first very little and when he did so, he had a soft and muted voice. At first he asked little questions and in general he seemed to study his surroundings and the participants at the table rather intensely. His toy – although capable – spoke little or not at all. The Nissiscrat complimented me on my coffee table and on my interior, thereby looking closely at my extensive book collection.
At length, the Nissiscrat remarked that it had become quite difficult to find people befitting the own soultribe these days and for that reason it was always a pleasure to meet like-minded people.
I continued talking to the Nissiscrat and his toy, but mainly it was me who did the talking and the Nissiscrat listened and probably also his toy, at least it remained for the most part silent.
After some time, the Nissiscrat asked how I could be happy with my life. Inwardly, I was a little annoyed, because the Nissiscrat had touched a point there that wasn’t exactly sore – but at least sensitive nonetheless.
I replied that by and large I was content with my life, as I had arranged it for myself, but that of course occasionally some ingredients were too scarce to be fully satisfying all the time. Since we had already spoken of like-mindedness and of the soultribe, I explained that I sometimes thought it frustrating that in the rest of the world regularly committed humanity, philanthropy and kindness were less pronounced than I would sometimes wish for myself.
As an answer the Nissiscrat declared that nothing out there in the world was philanthropic or even humane any more and that he had turned his back on the world for that reason. He added that, after all, people nowadays would simply strive to exercise control over everything. Therefore, concerning himself, he would solely acknowledge what nature intends; he had withdrawn from the mundane world and henceforth would be living just for the good of himself (and that soultribe he was about to create). My enquiry, what he thought what it was that nature intended, astonished the Nissiscrat for a moment noticeably, but then he praised my interest. He declared that nature intended the acceptance of all and everything, especially the approval of any feeling and emotion – however awkward these might be. Of course, he said, there would be a great deal more regarding that subject to be deepened and elaborated – and that he was perfectly willing to expand upon that matter another time.

Next, there followed a pause in our conversation, because we set off on a walk “to put our thoughts in good order”, which the Nissiscrat however gladly covered alone with his favourite toy – and accordingly I remained for an hour or so with my nesting-partner.
I was confused – what meant this strange encounter? I lacked clues and information high and low, because I had hardly learned anything about the Nissiscrat and his favourite toy yet (the toy had occasionally nodded with sparkling eyes, but seemed otherwise unwilling to contribute anything) – I, on the other hand, felt a little, well, questioned. Accordingly I was looking forward to the afternoon’s “second half-time”, hoping to learn more about my astonishing guests.

As we returned home from the walk, the Nissiscrat immediately began to explore my house, unobtrusive – but also unsolicited.
When I managed to lead my visitors back to the table after the “inspection”, it was again the Nissiscrat, who now resolutely took up the thread of conversation – and wouldn’t let go of it until the very end.
The Nissiscrat stated that the “first half-time” had almost exhausted him: So many words had been spoken – which he wouldn’t usually exchange with his favourite toy on a whole day. So much information, so much talking – whereas he, the Nissiscrat – and his favourite toy – would hold one’s peace and utter silence at other times in the highest esteem. On most days they would hardly exchange a word at all…
Nevertheless – to continue our conversation – the Nissiscrat proposed a joint feedback session, which he himself commenced immediately. He felt welcome and safe, he stated first of all. Once again, he emphasised how rare it was these days to meet people who would appreciate values similar to his own philosophy. Though he had noticed that we occasionally tried to interrupt a speech, which was not very attentive in his view, he otherwise attested us a thriving atmosphere appropriate of more profound people. Especially the keyword “highly sensitive” had touched him deeply, because he was highly sensitive himself and his favourite toy certainly as well. To that effect he would also be very curious to find out what had befallen us in order to become “highly sensitive”², but surely there would still be time for that later – because in that respect – of course – there would be a detailed history of his own bad experiences, which right now would be too extensive.
Now it was the favourite toy’s turn to give feedback, and the Nissiscrat’s precious neatly framed a variation of his words, equally emphasising wellbeing and comfort.

When it was eventually my turn, the Nissiscrat eagerly wanted to know how I felt. I honestly replied that I had entered a state of increasing confusion and conflicting ambivalence regarding the course of the afternoon and didn’t know how to adequately express myself. The clever Nissiscrat immediately seized the opportunity, asking me directly in what proportions I would feel fear, grief and anger in me.
Sincerely I answered that I would feel anxiety in the manner of an unfamiliarity with the sudden intensity of the present situation, that I usually experienced an accompanying sadness in me (even today, but not because of today) – but that I couldn’t find any anger, just the confusion I previously described.
The Nissiscrat nodded knowingly, explaining that he would often experience such fear in respect of his charisma, a familiar effect that the power of his presence would often produce.
The Nissiscrat readily explained that this was the occasional effect of all evolved human beings, but that I could easily overcome my fear if I would strive to become like the Nissiscrat myself – a purpose in which he could help and guide me.
Therefore, the Nissiscrat now offered that I could have a relationship with him. He wanted to be not only my partner, but also my therapist, my mentor, my priest and my healer. When I replied that I would question him constantly in all those qualities, he generously declared that he was up to the challenge, and he invited me to scrutinise him in any possible way. The Nissratz explained that actually all developed humans would eventually become healers. Acordingly, he and his favourite toy were also healers. In this capacity they would let themselves be “found” by those who were in need and craving for recovery. Therefore the Nissiscrat now offered his living space and even his lifetime, affirming that he would always dedicate all of it to those souls who were in need of his help – whether for days, weeks or longer. His favourite toy nodded in fervent agreement.
When I said that I was looking for committed-sustainable loving relationships, but not for a therapy relationship and therefore couldn’t agree to his proposal, the Nissiscrat dismissed my objections by pointing out that for him there would only exist pure “relationships” in the universe – and these always contained all qualities together in itself.
When I objected that in a relationship like that I would be troubeled recognising when he would speak to me as a lover and friend, or when he would speak to me as a teacher and therapist, he repeated that there was no difference regarding developed human beings and he expressed that he was worried about my obstinate as well as petty mistrust.
Therefore the Nissiscrat now offered me his body that I might embrace him, in order to recover basic trust, which I denied according to his presupposition.
Therefore the Nissiscrat now offered me even his favourite toy (without asking it for consensus) in order to recover basic trust, which I once again rejected to his apparent consternation.
When I reasoned that I would not be able to enter any kind of intimacy so quickly with strangers, because, as in the story of the “Little Prince and the Fox“³, one first of all had to “tame” one another in order to gradually reduce distrust and to establish confidence, the Nissiscrat lectured me that my distrust was just another word for fear. And fear would be limiting and unfree and for that reason against the intentions of nature.

When I answered that “fear” seemed to me mainly a personal affair, because most of the time, even if one were worried about another person’s vulnerability, one would actually rather be concerned for oneself – because one would be mainly worried about how to deal with the consequences of this vulnerability oneself – the Nissiscrat doubted this idea immediately. For he, too, he expressly emphasised, would most certainly dread a possible loss of his favourite toy. And as he had previously mentioned, he too was highly sensitive after all – which meant that everyone at this table had a terrible and traumatic past – not only his listeners, no, even he and even his favourite toy.

Thus, the Nissiscrat diagnosed, I first of all had to discard my physical distrust. At our next meeting he would conduct a workshop where he would guide me in giving and receiving touchings.
Had he not understood, did I once again object, that physical contact with me would be coherent only after a period of time spent together and mutual trust-building?
Now it was the Nissiscrat’s turn to become truly ungracious: He hadn’t meant to touch me personally, he exclaimed. But in my woundedness it was obvious that I could only have understood his selfless offer in this twisted way, although he had by no means intended it like that.
The patience of the Nissiscrat seemed finally exhausted by my hesitancy concerning his promise of salvation he offered so fervently.
And indeed, by now I also felt a surprisingly strong reluctance against my guests and the whole rather peculiar and derailed event that had unfolded on that afternoon.

Departure! ”, the favourite toy suddenly uttered – truly audible for the first time that afternoon.
“I also believe that there seems to be a time for badly needed consideration here,” even the Nissiscrat snarled, rising to his feet and striding towards the door.
Bitter resignation and resigned bitterness spoke from the looks and words of the Nissiscrat with whom he considered me, as he shoved his big-eyed favourite toy rudely to the exit: “I wish you a most depressing evening!”
The last words of the Nissiscrat, already on the stairs, spoke of pity and that hereby I would never find a place for my tears…

When the Nissiscrat was gone I felt strangely embarrassed and a little ashamed.
For a while those feelings stuck to me, but they gradually diminished, as I bit by bit realised what an oligoamorous nightmare the still veiled new moon had brought into my home – but that I had happily banished it after all.

And so I write it down here today for you, as a warning and admonition:
Beware the Nissiscrat, its slippery tongue, its flattery and its thousand promises. Beware for your own sake, watch out for your needs and fears that you may accept them and are a good friend to yourself – so that you will never be in danger of serving the Nissiscrat for a long time in its hiding places and lairs under the unsuspecting dark moon.
Always stoke your fire, love yourself and your loved ones, and stand united together; that way the Nissiscrat will spare your home, will remain a ghastly whisper, a grim tale befitting a cold day at the end of October…



¹ I choose the title because of the “Dark triad”, a psychological approach to the phenomenon in my story. “Oh, and I shall tell you – the name is an anagram”, Grace Cardiff would have said in Rosemary’s Baby.

² Among the many theories concerning the origin of sensory processing sensitivity there exists the highly disputed idea that this trait is usually caused by traumatisation during childhood.

³ In the 21st chapter of the novel “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupèry the protagonist strikes up a friendship with a fox. The story can be found online HERE.

Thanks to Joachim/Max and Anke for their inspiration and
thanks to „The Yorck Project (2002): 10.000 Masterpieces of Painting“ (DVD-ROM) and the picture (in public domain) by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – , distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=148809

PS: Considering that this story happened in such a way, because I had originally contacted the “favourite toy” on a dating platform for a meeting, which then took its course as depicted, I have to say that in the world of online dating there are a lot of “interesting encounters” one might rather skip…

PPS: I expressly apologise for using in this story – and especially concerning the figure of the “Nissiscrat” – predominantly masculine pronouns. Nissiscrats may be encountered in any disguise, regardless sex or gender, and therefore we should be vigilant all the time.
I have told this fictional story as it suited my narrative style as an author in the best way.

You would like to read more legends of the Oligoamorists now?
Then HERE you go to another legendary figure and HERE you’ll find a love story.

Entry 31

Horse-trading

This weekend, my nesting-partner received a message that gave her reason for some concern.
My nesting partner is a horse owner and has kept a few horse in the course of her life. A horse, however, is a somewhat costly passion – definitely in terms of time and finances – and accordingly it may happen in the life of the owners that changes to the overall circumstances concerning their everyday life eventually impair the constant responsible care such an animal claims. In such moments of crisis it may happen that most horse owners (which at least I know) try to pass their animal into the much sought-after “good hands“. The search for a suitable takeover is therefore as much a service to the own conscience, as well as to ensure the continued well-being according to ones own standards even after the change of ownership. In those favourable cases, such a procedure results in the fact that even after the animal has been transmitted, the former owner is periodically provided with status messages on health or even with photos – provisions by which the new owners on occasion confirms: the horse is (still) well.
In this way, horse keeping still sometimes resembles to some extent a switch-yard – and of course it may happen at some point that by a further change of ownership such an arrangement is eventually broken or forgotten – and as a previous owner * in the second or third row you no longer learn how the further fate of the animal develops.
Exactly such a “second-degree change of ownership” was pending concerning one of my partner’s former horses: Her former pet was about to pass from the originally thoroughly selected “good hands” once more into a more uncertain future of further ownership.

Of course, there is a certain ostentatious arrogance of impropriety regarding this quite regularly occurring transfer of ownership – even and especially among seasoned equestrian enthusiasts.
If you want to own a horse, then you have to think about the like of it before! “, is a typical remark in such cases. Or even more extreme: “If you are not ready to take on responsibility for a horse for a lifetime, then you should not get one in the first place.”
Pithy appeals regarding our loyalty, integrity, responsibility and sustainability towards a living being – and thus we are immediately in the midst of the complexities of Oligoamory (see Entries 3 + 4 ).

Because as an observer of the happenings at the weekend I immediately felt reminded of a more personal area, which perhaps manifests not quite the same – but nevertheless similar implications and moral calls: Being a parent. And as a father, I know quite well that “in the long run” you sooner or later encounter stages during that vocation, where you are overchallenged, helpless and dependent on support in any possible way. And here, too, there are similar “moral guardians” who are always at hand in such situations with the most helpful advice of all: “About something like that you should have thought before! “. That’s why there exists not only “Rider-Shaming¹” but of course the well-established “Parent-Shaming¹”. And from there it’s only a small step to “Husband¹- or Spouse-Shaming¹” – or to keep the picture of the “owner change”: the well-known “Divorcee-Shaming¹”. All and sundry life situations in which “well-intentioned” fellows appear – just to knock us down with their virtuousness reminiscent of fortune-telling skills: “Such an occurence should have been considered sooner/beforehand! “.

Anyone who has followed me valiantly through 30 entries on the subject of Oligoamory up to this point, knows by now that I as the author of this project, as far as relationship-management is concerned, gladly immerse myself in drafting rather ambitious ideas. Sometimes my texts sound rather passionate, sometimes they become almost idealistic. And, of course, Oligoamory is idealistic, because an ideal is for me a beacon, a signpost – something worth striving for, and the steady journey is the destination.
But I also hope that I have succeeded in clarifying that it is not “only” an ideal, for a mere ideal is always in danger of becoming means to an end: In such a case pure idealism invokes precisely those moral guardians, who just want to depress us even more in our tentativeness with their twisted advice “You should have thought about a thing like that before!
Oligoamory – and that’s why I chose the symbol of the double spiral – should be humanly. And humanness means finiteness – and thus limitedness as well.

The moral guardians of idealism (and a dwarfish variety of them dwells in almost everyone of us) forget as participants in the “game of life” that life itself is not a static condition, but the very essence of the game itself. Consequently, not much of it is “predictable” or can be “planned ahead “.
Our human nature and our biological inheritance may be attuned to favourable energy management (“Make a break an put your feet up! “). And as the most sophisticated ape we are somewhat prone to social cooperation (“Treat others as you would like others to treat you…“) – but in the “third Dimension” regarding precaution and planning we are rather limited exactly because of our finiteness.
Current example: That’s why we have such difficulties concerning the pending energy-transition (concerning the exit from nuclear and fossil-fuel energy). The assumption of responsibility for human generations, which are not yet born, is difficult for us. Accordingly, this step requires a very conscious and active willingness, because it’s not “in our nature” – a “primordial” Homo sapiens would have hardly ever thought beyond the generation of his*her grandchildren (genes passed, mission accomplished).

But now we are no longer “primordial” hominids – and meanwhile our lifespan has increased significantly. And as a consequence we are confronted with a much higher degree of “ending” and “finiteness” in our lives than ever before in human history – and are also challenged by the need for increased “precaution” and sustainability. Of course, this development didn’t happen all of a sudden, because on closer examination, thoughts and insights about “life cycles” can be found in different philosophies and spiritual systems since antiquity: Ideas, that in a human life we pass through different stages, sometimes repetitive, sometimes similar (depicted by the symbolism of circle and spiral). And both ancient philosophy² and Buddhism³ have developed the phrase “What does not want to cease can not emerge“.

Regarding our idealism, that seems to be a bitter blow at first. Because it means that on the human scale there is no perfect loyalty, no absolute integrity, no total responsibility and never complete sustainability.
A relentless penchant for perfection that spawns phrases as “forever (and ever)” or “for a lifetime” however, likewise compromises the ideals. Because people who only try to live up to their ideals quickly lose sight of their fellow human beings – and themselves in their own humanness (and fallibility).
In his book “The Art of Not Being an Egoist” (“Die Kunst, kein Egoist zu sein”, 2010) the contemporary philosopher R.D. Precht illustrates, that we human beings are above all committed to our self-image:
»That’s why it’s only half as bad for us if a particular desire can not be fulfilled or if we fail regarding an intention. It is much worse if we feel attacked as a person. If we are questioned as a human being. When our self-esteem is hurt or destroyed. Our being – otherwise this sensitivity can scarcely be explained – is always more than our intentions, our speech, our actions.«
As to sabotaging our self-esteem with our inner “moral guardians”, however, we are at least as effective as our patronising critics in the outside world. R.D. Precht therefore recommends with Aristotle that it is important to become “a good friend of yourself” – beyond any alleged perfectionism.

I started this entry with an example concerning horses, because already the topic “animals”, at least if they are considered as pets (rather than livestock), can quickly become very sensitive. However, I believe that in the end it does not matter to which living being we position ourselves in this way if we feel that we are in a relationship with them. Because in that case loyalty, integrity, responsibility and sustainability inevitably interlock: The advocacy of a common goal, the agreement with one’s own values, accountability regarding the (self-)commitment, adherence of boundaries.
Nevertheless, personal goals, own values, self-commitment and individual boundaries are no static entities of eternal continuance. Definitely not concerning a finite human life, which has to be able to adapt to changing external conditions (and I’m not talking of the changeability of character in the manner of a chameleon!).
However, I would like to concede to all of us that even apparently weighty values and in particular their contents may change over time – and some may simply expire.

My conclusion for today is therefore also somewhat philosophical:
Regarding the initiation, conduct and termination of our relationships, we are all like potters who sit together around the potter’s wheel and form a vessel. Because of the nature of our working material – if we dare to think that way – it is quite obvious that our joint product will probably have a limited lifespan, it’s definitely finite. We may therefore be tempted to create an artless, robust standard model, which will hopefully serve its purpose for as long as possible, but would deny by that part of our idealism, our inspiration, and our individual expression.
But because we are concious regarding it’s finiteness, we could also create a design that represents precisely the greatest possible degree of our (artistic) skill, as the spatio-temporal creation of our presentness and our striving. In this way, our relationships will become much more unique and appropriate to those involved – and their appropriateness will truly be “more than the sum of their parts“.
By accepting finiteness (which means: ceasing, expiring) in this process, we simultaneously gain the potential motivation for new emergence in this process, which on the relationship-level allows fallibility, adaptability, and negotiation.
Therefore, if we are reasonably certain that all those involved in a relationship are as loyal, honest, accountable and sustainable as they can be, it will take tremendous pressure of all the participating individuals regarding the relentless penchant for perfection. And it strengthens the conjoined experience of freedom and connectedness, which I consider as one of the core-qualities of Oligoamory (see Entry 7).
The long-term nature of relationships in the context of ethical non-monogamy is very important to me, because longevity is needed so that the values of Poly- or Oligoamory can be experienced and shaped (!) by everyone involved. But “forever and ever” and “you’d better think of such things before”? That isn’t human, that does not do justice to any living being and our common changeable and versatile nature.
And that’s when even horses say “Na-a-a-a-ayyyy !” ☺



* “Nesting-Partner” is a phrase which is sometimes used for loved ones you share living quarters with.

¹ Though the term “Rider-Shaming” is a humorous phrase I made up myself, the terms “Parent-Shaming”, “Husband-Shaming”, “Spouse-Shaming” and even “Divorcee-Shaming” do exist. These terms describe a behaviour where certain individuals are (verbally) attacked and denounced for not fulfilling their function up to a socially claimed standard.

² Teachings regarding immortality by the Greek philosopher Plotinus, authored and edited by his pupil Porphyrios.

³ Teachings of Nagarjuna in early Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Thanks to Crawford Jolly on Unsplash and the photo showing one of the heads of the “Kelpie-Monument” in Falkirk, Scotland.

Entry 30

Dating is as dating does…

Once again, Oligotropos is dating.
No, stop.
In fact, he does not yet date. He’s roving around on dating platforms first of all. At least this time on websites that guarantee both monogamous and non-monogamous variations of search options.
So far, so good.
However, after he has viewed half a dozen profiles he is struck by a peculiar tentativeness, when he realises that his “oligoamorous search” has deeper inner implications of its own on such websites:

Level 1 – Monogamy as an example: Almost all dating sites seem to have been made for monogamy. I don’t think that dating there is really easy for monogamous people – but all the criteria seem to be tailored to monogamy: Jack is looking for Jill – or Jill is looking for a Jack. Women or men are searching for the „one special person“. And if two people find each other on such a site in this way, they get together and both disappear from the pool of potential seekers – in order to do henceforth those things monogamous people usually do together. Accordingly, we can dismiss those people furthermore from our story, since first of all they will sally forth inevitably in pairs and secondly we are not monogamous ourselves. Hence, we gaze after them somewhat admiringly, somewhat baffled: These two have “bonded” somehow – until who- or whatever will part them…

Level 2 – Non-monogamous / polyamorous search: To all the world this mode really sounds like great freedom par excellence. On this level it seemingly does not matter if I am a free atom or an already bound molecule when looking for further potential bonds.
Of course, there is some “homework” here one has to finish beforehand: One has to practice, or desire a relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. This practice or desire has to be seasoned by equality regarding all possibly involved parties, consistent assumption of responsibility for own risky behaviour (e.g. sexually) – plus a dram of commitment concerning the potentially emerging relationship-network and a longer-term perspective (otherwise occasional swinging or casual dating would do just as fine).
And then the merry dating may start. And all the people who feel like it and whose parameters fit my ideas of multiple relationships – and my parameters in turn to their ideas – may meet. If distance and/or logistics as well as communication with each other work out.
However, I, Oligotropos, as the author of this bLog, still find one-two-three snags regarding the relationships which this approach would enable. I have described these three “snags” in detail in Entry 2, because I have seen too often with regard to “Polyamory” that the relationships arising from such guidelines are often based on sexuality as the main (or sole) common interest, the involved parties are entangled in a unrealistic dictate regarding mutual non-possessiveness, and eventually personality-fragmentation is facilitated.
But it’s not my place to decide on the appropriateness of such relationships. The parties involved must decide for themselves whether the resulting kinds of connections are conducive to them (anyway). And for many configurations such polyamorous arrangements are also completely sufficient: Wether sexual freedom is acted out in a (established) relationship, while participating in the neotantric community or regarding BDSM-relationships, or even in terms of category-free relationship anarchy.
And that’s why I also believe that sooner or later this kind of search will lead to dating-success in the end. Because in this way people will get together who want to share selected special moments of their lives with each other: During leisure time or vacation, at events or workshops, based on accordance, shared interest and mutual passion.

Concerning myself, all that still wasn’t enough. Regarding my own peace of mind and peace of heart, Polyamory manifested too many discontinuities in terms of reliability/predictability, loyalty and sustainability (see Entries 3 + 4).
Moreover, contrary to its founding concept, “Polyamory” often no longer seemed to be regarded as a “relationship-philosophy” but as a kind of novel philosophy of love and personal freedom.
Influenced by a mix of ideas containing Zen-Buddhism, free love and the codependency-movement, in the 21st century considerations like the following started to affect the argumentative focus:
»A relationship is a structure. So love relates, certainly, but never becomes a relationship. Love is a moment-to-moment process. Remember it. Love is a state of your being, not a relationship. There are loving people and there are unloving people. Unloving people pretend to be loving through the relationship. Loving people need not have any relationship – love is enough. Be a loving person rather than in a loving relationship – because relationships happen one day and disappear another day. They are flowers; in the morning they bloom, by the evening they are gone. […] A relationship may be just out of fear, may not have anything to do with love. Relationships may be a kind of security – financial or something else. The relationship is only needed because love is not there. A relationship is a substitute. Be alert. A relationship destroys love, destroys the very possibility of its birth.¹«
Or:
»Real persons love each other as a luxury. It is no longer a need. They enjoy sharing: they have so much joy, they would like to pour it into somebody. And they know how to play their lives as a solo instrument.²«
“Poor Rajneesh!”, I would now almost exclaim loudly (see also Entry 8), “did you experience your relationships predominantly that way?” Because in the increasing human disability to attach and to relate as well as in the increasing rate of “solitaries” I currently see more of a problem than a visionary (re)solution.
And that’s one important reason why I set out to explore the “Oligoamory” for myself, especially with regard to the needs and wishes that I had concerning multiple relationships.
But that way I encountered new challenges while dating and looking for likeminded people. Or, at least, questions popped up I had to face.

Level 3 – Oligoamorous search:
Let’s counter these Rajneesh/Osho quotes above with a citation from the British actor Anthony Hopkins:
»None of us are getting out of here alive. So please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There is no time for anything else
What I particularly like about this quotation from the oligoamorous viewpoint is the direct reference to our deepest humanness with its joys – and to our finiteness.
Mr. Hopkins also says, “Stop treating yourself and each other like “afterthoughts”, like bonuses or “give-aways”. And he adds: Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure – by that he appeals to our radical honesty.
Precisely these two aspects seem to be of significant importance to me concerning the quest for potential lovers and soulmates in Oligoamory.
Because according to the principleDo not do to others what you would not want them to do to you”, I do not want to be considered or treated as a “luxury” or a “bonus” at any rate. I am a whole, complicated person with my weaknesses and strengths and I wish to be accepted as such. Whoops, with that request I touched the second aspect as well: Because in order to be “accepted”, I must be able to accept myself just as sincerely. In Entry 26 and 27, I discuss how I can overcome my internal fragmentation in order to experience real closeness and true intimacy once again. And concerning that, the somewhat tenacious and relentless utilisation of straight self-honesty plays a major part.

Let’s assume that, according to Mr. Hopkins, we would be tolerably able to treat ourselves no longer “as an afterthought” because we managed to accept us and each other in our quirky-beautiful, definitely human, uniqueness, to which our valiantly applied honesty would significantly contribute.
Then, in return, this would clearly mean that our potential loved ones should be treated just as equally…
Upsa-daysie!
Since now we have stated an aspiration regarding our “search” and regarding possible dating, concerning which we ourselves have to do meet the requirements first:
Do I currently have the capacity in my life to appreciate a WHOLE (additional) person as such?
Maybe some people will think now: “Oh, please, dear Oligotropos, I would never ask anyone else for something like that, that he*she*it considers me in such a way. It would be enough for me if they would appreciate me as a good guitarist/surfer/bedfellow – whether I pay my taxes correctly or where I stand politically is quite unimportant in that respect…!”
Oh yes? Then you may(be) still get lucky in Polyamory – but in that case this website has nothing to offer for you. And do not complain any more about experiencing such a deep miserable inner discrepancy between pretence and reality – because you seem to favour a “Reality of separation” or at least a life far away from integrity and coherence.
I apologise for these outspoken words – but there are consequences, if we want to stand up for the equal well-being of all parties involved regarding the relationship level.
And it’s a good thing if we try to incorporate these consequences already at a very early stage, virtually unilateral while setting things in motion on our side.
Our goal of an “oligoamorous relationship” would be marked by the desire to find a (additional) person, who in this way becomes part of our “soul tribe”, becomes one of our “associates“. That way, we hope for a relationship that is characterised by familiarity and a level of intimacy that allows all participants to put off their “everyday-armor” in front of each other. In such a relationship, the affected people would be important to one another precisely because of the many little things that – according to the writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – would “gain the colour of wheat³ “: (Just) Seemingly insignificant details, which make the respective personality shine and highlight it in the view of the loved ones.
After all, every human relationship is based on the fact that in such relationships, beyond our visible achievements, beyond our successes and beyond our knowledge – and also beyond our sorrows and worries – we simply want to feel accepted as human beings. And, to be sure, not as a kind of validation from outside – here Osho and all his co-speakers err in my opinion – but as an encouragement and an assurance of our own inner acquired certainty regarding our value, the value that every other human being owns – without being diminished by anything or anybody.

Conclusion: That’s why for me as an oligoamorous-sensitive person online dating is more exciting and complicated than it could favourably be.
E.g. many websites appear to prefer a strategy that suggests multiple introductions to as many profiles as possible. I can’t do this without feeling somewhat incoherent and disloyal in a strange way: Every profile stands for a whole person (as I am behind my profile). And no two profiles or people are alike. That is why I think that each of these people has earned its own approach. Otherwise it would be a little bit as if I had yelled into a pub to a group of women “Hey girls!” And would hoped that one of them approaches me now because of my eloquent and individualistic speech…
And in fact, when I read a profile, I think about whether I have the capacity to be more than just a projection surface for the desires and needs of the other side – which in case of doubt would be badly thin veneer, which wouldn’t withstand any acid test.
And I’m always wondering if it’s a good moment for such a step right now in my life:

  • Whether there is room for a WHOLE (additional) person in my already rich life (I recall the Anaïs Nin quote from Entry 6, “that each new person represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born”).
  • Whether I’ve tidied up my “inner space” sincerely enough to let a (additional) person in – or if I only provide a tight spot in front of my best-decorated showcase.
  • Whether I am currently a secure harbour where another person can be safe enough to get rid of their “everyday armor”.
  • Whether I have enough inner certainty that I do not have to cling to myself, in the panic of losing myself – but have both an arm for me and an arm for somebody else to welcome him*her*it, to encourage him*her*it – and to endure him*her*it.



¹ Osho/Rajneesh/Bhagwan, “Walk without feet, fly without wings and think without mind “, Talk #8

² Osho/Rajneesh/Bhagwan, “The Power of Love” He said /She said: Love in a relationship

³ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince, Chapter 21, Excerpt from the Fox’s Speech: »But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me back hurrying underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: do you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. The golden wheat-fields have nothing to say to me. That is said. But yo have hair that is the colour of gold! Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…«

Thanks to Simon Müller on Pixabay for the photo!

Entry 29

…and missed the forest for the trees.

A few days ago, an acquaintance of mine, who cancelled an agreed meeting, wrote to me the following lines:
…I turned my life around spontaneously in the last few weeks and for now I am monogamous once more. I fell deeply in love and right now we just want to be on our own. He had only normal relationships in the past and I realise that this is beneficial to me as well. Especially after all that constant back and forth I experienced before...”
Well.
Maybe it’s a pity concerning our meeting – but if they want to concentrate on their twosome togetherness because of their fresh infatuation, I can understand that.
And yet…– in a sense a “disturbance in the Force“, as actor Alec Guiness stated as the sensitive Yedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the movie “Star Wars” (Episode IV).

A far more greater “disturbance in the Force” I felt just last September when LGBT activist, actress and comedian Margaret Cho revealed in a podcast interview¹:
You know, for me, I get polyamory-fatigue and I get total BDSM-fatigue. It takes so much energy in terms of negotiating and what you want and what you’re doing and I just don’t have the energy for it. Also, the processing that happens, so I did get tired of it. To me, it’s very stuck in the 90s and early 2000s, but I do love it.”
Well, at least she has added the last half-sentence… Because otherwise such a statement from someone who had committed the last 25 years of her life intensively to a lifestyle of ethical non-monogamy appears to me like an earthquake of seismic magnitude. Especially if this person adds in the same interview:
I have this idea that because I’m now single, my thought is I would like to try to remain unpartnered for the rest of my life and I’m going to really try.”
And when asked why, she answered:
Well, because I’ve been partnered for so long. For my adult life, I’ve had partners pretty much since I was like 25 or whatever. I feel like now that I’m 50, I should really give a college try to see if I could just be a lady alone.
Well.
These are also understandable reasons for me.
And yet both statements unsettle me. Since I have heard such explanations in polyamorous circles before. However, Mrs. Cho was a very prominent example to me recently which is thought-provoking – and somewhat troubling.
“Polyamory fatigue” – that sounds serious, like a medical trait; to quote Wikipedia »significant tiredness, depleted reserves of strength or increased need for rest disproportionate to recent exertion«.

Concerning someone like Margaret Cho, much of it may be true, especially with a quarter of a century of experience and an active life including major media presence, her support regarding gay and LGBT rights, BDSM, and queer lifestyle altogether.
Especially if you are somehow “different” yourself, then there is often the need to stand one’s ground, to defend the “divergent”, the “deviant” against the prevailing morality and the established lifestyle – thereby making the personal political – and the political personal.

As an explorer of non-monogamous-oligoamorous lands I am nevertheless concerned. For it seems to me that my acquaintance as well as Margaret Cho query two values which are crucial to my view of Oligoamory – crucial to a point that I put those values in the subtitle: Commitment and sustainability.
To be fair, I would like to add that neither my acquaintance nor Mrs. Cho ever declared themselves oligoamorous – and that even I, who am the author of this blog, would by no means want to decree that a once-chosen lifestyle must be retained at any cost.
And yet they exist – a substantial group of people who will confess after some time: “Polyamory? I tried it. It didn’t work…, I’m back being monogamous/single again…” Maybe the more sincere people in this group say somewhat more specific: “It didn’t work for me.”
Everytime I hear those stories, I sigh and think: “Oh, folks...”
For personally, I often experienced that if something does not work, very rarely “the thing” itself is the problem, but much more often our quality management.
“Quality management” is a broad term in this case. However, there is evidence that many people apply ethical non-monogamy (such as Poly- or Oigoamory) in much the same way like that devastated guy who returns a chainsaw back to the hardware store and groans: “I’m totally exhausted, it didn’t work, I drudged all day and barely managed a single tree...” The salesman looks at the chainsaw, pulls the starter, listens to the engine and says: “I can’t find any fault...” While the stunned customer stares at him: “What’s that noise…?!”
If people try to handle multiple relationships in this way, it’s no surprise that they actually experience them as “back and forth” and are threatened by “Polyamory fatigue” in the end.

At the same time, I absolutely do not want to deny the strenuous ramifications while practising ethical non-monogamy: Time management with multiple partners, constant (self-)justifications comcerning the own way of life, a lack of legal foundations and the difficulties of finding like-minded people – these are all real hardships and therefore potential sources of conflict. A single bLog-Entry on an obscure Oligoamory website can not even list the numerous challenges, or offer in a few lines adequate practical solutions to the various living conditions in which people can get in contexts regarding multiple relationships.
What I want to offer is some calming for the waves of exhaustion before those affected believe that the only way out is to pull the plug entirely and to be “monogamous once more” or “would like to try to remain unpartnered for the rest of their life“.

I do not know either my acquaintance or Mrs. Cho well enough to be able to tell anything for sure about their inner motivation. And as I wrote, the road to ethical non-monogamy is truly not exactly adorned with a red carpet.
Aside from the many inner and outer pitfalls which we seekers of multiple relationships have to deal with, I nevertheless believe that we create a certain amount of pressure all by ourselves. And this pressure has an effect on our mentioned “quality management” – particularly because we want to become proud “chainsaw owners” as soon as possible so that we may live it up at the next tree straight away. Next, you will find yourself visiting chainsaw workshops, the local chain sawing regulars’ table, browsing through chainsaw forums on the internet – all the while the stress is mounting: When you realise how many logs the other people seem to be finishing off – and your knees are trembling just because of only one tiny tree trunk…
Because analogously, “the other polyamorists” can very quickly appear as seasoned jack-of-all-trades, who happily manage several intense relationships with a multitude of interesting lovers. Whereas oneself e.g. is stuck in an unpleasantly tough dating-swamp, finding not a single soul who shares the own preferences regarding multiple relationships even approximately halfway. At the same time you will still get more and more confused, because at the side of the road you will spot exciting monogamous people or solitary singles, who unfortunately do not share your own view now. Oh, everything was much easier back then, when you were still monogamous or leastwise solitary yourself… On top of it all, the pressure even increases, if you are possibly in an already existing relationship, joined with a slightly dusted (marriage) partner, – you have perhaps mutually agreed on opening your relationship – but in a strange way nothing substantial happens… Or when you get into a multiple relationship with people who said “poly-/ oligoamorous”, but meant realistically “promiscuous”. In addition all that constant processing (which often fluctuates somewhere between sore soul-searching and self-defiant justification): That’s more Polyamory-fatigue than anyone can bear. Put that chainsaw back right where it came from or – so help me…!

It is said that especially men always want to try out new devices immediately, without wasting even a thought regarding its manual. In the case of ethical multiple relationships, this applies in fair equality to all participants – independent of gender. Otherwise, we all would rather notice that we could achieve a better result if we first of all would be paying attention to the performing engine. And even a running engine does not “guarantee” any yield – but it makes it in any case more likely.
Perhaps it is important to reassure us by what it does not mean to be a chainsaw owner – I beg your pardon – a human being in the context of ethical non-monogamy:
It does not automatically mean that you have immediately many exciting parallel relationships – or rather, that they are instantly available to you. In general, “availability” seems to me the key word here: A change of our choice, how we want to lead relationships doesn’t change the status quo spontaneously. And then? Am I a “failed polyamorist” because I do not have any other relationships right now? Or just one? Would my conviction or my activism concerning matters of ethical non-monogamy be less credible in such cases?
Does being “non-monogamous” mean that you (or other participants) are always available, always potentially accessible – or, what’s more, that you (or they) have to be it?
If we actually begin to think about ourselves like this, then we would summon up a considerable amount of stress and polyamory fatigue on ourselves.
Because it would accordingly mean that we pay more attention to the (chain)saw – regarding the “if ” – instead of its quality and performance – regarding the “how “. Which could mean in consequence that we would be willing to make concessions concerning the “how” to ensure the “if”. Transferred to the relationship-level, this could mean that we end up sooner or later in relationships which don’t match our needs (being a “constant back and forth”) or in circumstances where we feel restricted and dependent (and you crave to “try to see if I could just be a lady alone”). Even from an oligoamorous perspective such conditions wouldn’t be either sustainable or committed.

In the best case, it would be up to us to decide for ourselves what kind of concessions we would agree to in order to finally get involved in multiple relationships.
But.
Wether pragmatist or idealist – this time your being determines consciousness at any rate. Since we convince ourselves that chainsaws are unsuitable and unreliable in the long run, which means: That ethical non-monogamy can not provide fulfilling relationships. Because it’s always such an abnormal back-and-forth with tedious processing, which in the end fatigues us “disproportionately to the previous efforts”.
Who wouldn’t return the chainsaw now?
Who wouldn’t be tempted to think that monogamy was “normal” and “beneficial” – and that being “unpartnered” finally meant to “be a lady alone”?

But that is somewhat flawed reasoning, since that way we didn’t prove whether ethical non-monogamy, Poly- or Oligoamory wouldn’t have been capable. We did prove that our expectations eloped our neediness – because, when we first heard of a chainsaw, we grasped the story as though this miracle saw was doing our job all on its own. Referring to multiple relationships: that choosing this particular lifestyle would ensure need fulfilment [And here’s a bitter blow for those poly-preachers who still believe in the argument that polyamorous people are better off than monogamous people because “one single lover/partner can neeeever fulfil all the needs of another lover/partner”. Fiddlesticks. Non-monogamy, even with 100 lovers/partners, doesn’t achieve this either].
That way, in the worst case, we will create “converted polys” who will report (more weird than the usual opponents of multiple relationships) back their (bad) experiences: “Never again multiple relationships, they did not only fail to make me happy, but exhausted me and left me burned-out…”

Just as the possession of a chainsaw calls for a great deal of due diligence, I would like to invite you, with regard to ethical non-monogamy, to exercise this carefulness, which should primarily benefit your own self. In the context of Oligoamory, I desire precisely for that very reason a distinct honesty, which is first and foremost a combination of self-sincerity and self-responsibility.
And in fact, we would not get around those values in any kind of relationship, even if being solitary or monogamous seem to ensnare us as “social default mode”: Just because something seems familiar it does not mean that all our questions had already been solved by our predecessors (parents, teachers, social philosophers, politicians) – and without our further contribution. The ubiquitous “default mode” conveys this illusion only by its dictate of musty-familiar normativity.
To continue my metaphor: In this respect, any relationship-philosophy would be some kind of saw – a jig saw, a folding saw, a hacksaw… – and the risk in case of incompetent use will inevitably lead to self-injury or collateral damage.
In that respect, no one can provide us with finished answers, as Confucius said: »Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.«
We ourselves have to fill our relationships with our own lives – thereby learning to apprehend ourselves, the relationship(s) and the other people involved. “Processing”, which Margaret Cho perceived as tiresome, is an important part of it. But if I’m tired of it and no longer dare to face my own intentions and motivations, how am I supposed to be credible and authentic anywhere – or believe I “could just be a lady alone” (red-incoherency-alert)?
If I wish in Oligoamory “Have good relationships!” I mean that you shall have appropriate relationships – but most of all, conscious and honest relationships. Usually we are not used to such an high degree of honesty – neither towards ourselves nor towards other people – even less in an early stage of a relationship. We may improve – I agree with Confucius – but only by practising, by involvement – not by abandoning or resetting the strategy.

I wish that regarding the renunciation of ethical non-monogamy in those affected applies, what Charlie’s mother explains to her son in the book by Roald DahlCharlie and the Chocolate Factory“: »Ah yes, well, sometimes when grown-ups say “forever” they mean “a very long time



¹ The podcast is available HERE but requires registration on the site.

Thanks to Andreas Scherbel on Pixabay for the photo.