That was the message she shared on the newest episode of Red Table Talk, which focused on the topic, “Is Polyamory For You?” The practice involves engaging in multiple relationships, often sexual but also emotional, with open, honest and consenting partners. A diverse group of guests shared their experiences with polyamory, what brought them to it and why it works for them during the episode.
“I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that’s what everyone around you says is the right thing to do,” Willow said to her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith, and “Gammy,” Adrienne Banfield-Norris. She stated that she believes the main reason many marriages don’t work is because of infidelity, but when people are allowed to have their desires and needs met with multiple partners in a polyamorous relationship, that’s not necessarily an issue.
As for Gammy, she struggled to understand the practice at first as a fan of monogamy. She commented that she felt the whole thing was just about sex, but Willow said it’s deeper than that. (She also noted that she’s the least sexual person in her friend group, and only polyamorous one.)
“Let’s say you haven’t always been the kind of person who wants to have sex all the time but your partner is. Are you going to be the person to say, just because I don’t have these needs, you can’t have them either? And so that’s kind of one of the reasons why I actually was interested in poly is because I was introduced to it through kind of a non-sexual lens,” she said.
She only sees herself in relationships with up to two partners at a time. Willow would only consider marriage if it was absolutely necessary.
“The history of marriage really irks me [laughs], just the history of marriage as a whole and what it has represented over the years for women in particular,” she told her mom and grandmother. “I feel like the only way that I would get married is, let’s say me and my partner or partners wants to help people and we need to put our finances together in order to make that vision happen. That’s the only way I could see myself getting married. There has to be a purpose beyond…’I think you’re cute.'”
So polyamory is the preference for Willow, who says it’s a practice you can enjoy once you overcome feelings of jealousy.
“I was all idealistic about it and then I got in a situation and I was like, whoa, there’s a lot that needs to be addressed within myself,” she said. “Maybe I need to step away from this situation and address these things because I actually want to go into this situation with a more, how shall I put it, a more not broken mindset.”
Taking a step back and working through some insecurities allowed her to go into her partnerships able to feel content with all parties involved.
“I’m not coming into it feeling like I’m at a lack,” she says. “Coming into it feeling fulfilled and feeling like I can actually handle this. I have the tools. I have the security within.”