It is an age old story. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after. But what happens when that girl then meets another boy and falls in love? Or that boy meets another boy and falls in love? Polyamory is a lifestyle or philosophy in which an individual accepts that he or she is capable of loving more than one person.
Polyamorists are not swingers nor do they cheat. They just accept that they are capable of loving more than one individual and then live their lives based on that assumption.
If you let go of the belief that we each have a true love whom we will be happy spending our lives with, to the exclusion of all others, it is easy to see that polyamory can be a viable alternative lifestyle. It is easy to argue against monogamy.
In monogamy, you are counting on one person for an awful lot, you are giving up the chance to form intimate relationships with a lot of other people who may be wonderful partners, and let’s face it, just looking at the divorce rate, monogamy does not have a very good track record.
Polyamorous relationships on the other hand open opportunities. Even the happily married can be open to others who might fill their life with more love, fun, and wonderful experiences. Partners can be happy for each other as they share and their lives become fuller, and there is no need for cheating, boredom, or stagnation to occur.
Polyamory can take many forms as each of us are different. Some couples are married or in committed relationships and also date others. Some polyamorous individuals form triads, three people living together in a committed relationship, or quads (often starting out as two separate couples) which include four people who are committed to each other.
Other variations include v’s in which a person has two significant others who aren’t involved with each other and chains with each person involved having two significant others except the people on the ends who are most likely still looking.
Some polyamorous relationships are closed with the people involved feeling that their lives are full, and they do not need any more partners, and others are open with some or all involved open to or actively seeking new loves.
There are many benefits to polyamory. If you love ballet or football, and your spouse doesn’t, then maybe there is a new love out there who can share your interest. The person who is drawn to the geeky type as well as the athletic can explore both.
Children can benefit from the attention and interaction of three or more parents. There are more people to share life responsibilities. It is easier to have a non-working homemaker when two family members are working. Also, with polyamory, there is less stress on your partner to be everything you need. It is easier to have alone time and pursue separate interests when more people are involved.
The biggest obstacle in polyamorous relationships is society. Starting in early childhood, the media bombards us with images of the monogamy fantasy. We are taught to believe that there is a true love out there for each of us who will meet our every need and be dedicated to us for life.
Accepting that the one we love may also love others and still love us no less can be very difficult. It requires a huge paradigm shift and lots and lots of communication. Jealousy can erupt as we see our partner interact in a romantic way with someone else. It is typical that those new to polyamory will need to be reassured over and over of their value and of the security of the initial relationship.
However, with time, polyamorous partners in committed relationships often come to value their partners’ significant others and to see each new love with joy.