by Julien-Pierre “Johnny” Campbell
Love has always come easily to me. I’ve never struggled to adore humanity, to put the utmost effort into my friendships, to forge meaningful romantic relationships. But what happens when you have too much love? Or at least … you think you do?
I’ve joked for many years that I’m in love with everyone I know. All kinds of love! Deep platonic connections, strong familial bonds, and of course endless crushes. In high school, I had a few long-term boyfriends. Each relationship lasted at least a year, and each meant the world to me. Through all of these relationships, I constantly found myself falling for other people. I loathed this about myself. I tried so, so hard to not catch feelings for anyone else. But it didn’t matter — boy, girl, nonbinary person, my heart was just fickle. Or was it? My dedication and love for my actual partners never faded. It just sort of … coexisted. I’d never dare so much as flirt with someone when I was in a monogamous relationship, but … why did I want to? I respected my boyfriends. I cherished them. I valued their feelings and felt like a horrible partner. Was I just a flighty teenager or was I something else? Was I forcing myself into long-term dating too young, or was there another term for what I felt?
When I discovered polyamory, it felt like a breath of fresh air. It felt like I wasn’t broken, or a bad person, or not in control of my emotions. I was just … me. A person whose heart was too big to love just one person. And one day, I’d find other people who thought like me.
Polyamory is complicated and there’s no rulebook. Each person has their own boundaries and needs. Each relationship is different and interesting and a whole new adventure. Sometimes there is jealousy — it is honored, appreciated, and worked through. Sometimes there is confusion. Sometimes there is joy. In many ways, being in a polyamorous relationship is exactly like being in a monogamous relationship; you just share your love with more than one person.
It’s not for everyone, and I absolutely respect that. Polyamory is trial and error, especially as a young person making my way in the world. In many ways, the way I live is fairly unprecedented in my own family, so making finding my own way in life is something I’m familiar with. I’m the only queer, trans, and disabled person in my family. The second person in my entire family (extended and immediate) to ever go to college. Polyamory is just another facet of my life in which I make my own roadmap.
I’m proud of how much love I have, for the world and for my partners. I’m proud of the attentive and compassionate person I am to those I love. And I’m proud to love in the way I do.