File this one under “my poly interpretations.” I know this story is not intended to be poly-friendly at all. In fact, Secret Life is a terrible show and I do not recommend it, but when it was airing I HIGHLY enjoyed hate-watching it.
And yet, it had its moments. It had an unabashedly pro-masturbation episode that was delightful and campy and empowering.
And, it had this moment in Season 4, Episode 3 “When Opportunity Knocks” (2011). One of the main teenagers, Grace, is arguing with her mother after revealing that she slept with a young man she met on a medical mission trip, thereby cheating on her boyfriend.
MOM: Grace! You can’t just sleep with every guy you meet.
GRACE: This is going to be the last one.
MOM: Honey, you said that Jack was going to be the only one for the rest of your life. And I know you believed it, even though I didn’t. And then Grant, you said you were in love with Grant.
GRACE: I am! Or I was. I love him. I never said Grant was going be the last one. I think I’m in love with Daniel, Mom. And not in the same way I was in love with Jack. Or Grant.
MOM: And the way you’re in love with Daniel is not the way you’re gonna be in love with the next guy, or the next guy after that.
GRACE: (Smiling) Probably not.
I love the way Grace smacks down her mom in this argument, she just blissfully acknowledges that each of her loves have been different and that her next love will also be different. To me, this resonates with the poly sentiment that each relationship brings something different and wonderful to the table, and it certainly challenges the idea that you only get One True Love. It embodies the notion of “many loves” and it is expressed so succinctly in how completely unruffled Grace is by the supposed criticism her mother leverages at her.