Polyamory is a term that was new to me until a few weeks ago and might indeed be one new to you today but it addresses a big problem of trust and fidelity – something important to us all whatever the relationship.
Poly (many) amory (loves) shouldn’t be confused with swinging or an open relationship or just plain old fashioned cheating. To be poly amorous means to have/pursue a loving romantic relationship with more than one person without judgement. www.polyamory.org.uk
The main components that can damage a relationship can be mistrust, infidelity and the inability to commit. This alternative seems to help with the massive life choice of choosing one person forever and worrying as to whether that choice is the right one. For me, I never trusted myself enough to commit, making any partner of mine feel vulnerable and dissatisfied and often causing infidelity. What if upfront I’d have said ‘what about we say that from the start we both have alternatives – we love each other but know that if we feel the need to date other people then we can’. Personally I love dates, finding out about people, the first time sex and the connection that develops – it’s exciting and fulfilling.
Scepticism surrounds this whole way of life but talking to Lori and Amanda who find themselves in this situation made things seem so much clearer. Lori had been in a relationship with John for 13 years. He introduced her to the idea of other partners early on. Lori had always had an issue with being faithful to one person so to be able to experiment seemed ideal. For Lori and John swinging became dull and like with most sex dates they can be awkward and shallow.
John met Amanda through OK Cupid – a site designed for people in relationships looking to experiment. Amanda wanted a bit of fun but suddenly found she had fallen in love with John and him with her, which meant Amanda, who to this point had only been monogamous, was introduced to the idea of polyamory. Many couples choose to never meet their partners partners but Lori and Amanda did and they like each other – they share time and the fact everything is so honest means there is little jealousy or tension.
It is purely society that tells us that we need to choose one person. In Western civilisation we are in fact the oddity as most cultures embrace the idea of more than one partner. So many films/books dictate that we must choose – look at Bella in Twilight, Catherine in Wuthering Heights and The Hunger Games. Even dating shows like Take Me Out involve picking one of 20 girls – why not date five of them? With choosing there is rarely a good feeling during the process. The chooser feels guilt and loss and the one not chosen feels unjust rejection.
It is rare that one person can offer us everything we need – in other areas of our life we don’t have to choose so why not in relationships. I have many friends – some I love for their humour, their knowledge, their love of music; others for their willingness to travel, love of sport and dancing. It doesn’t mean I love one more than the other – just combined they leave me fulfilled.
Lori told me that when people cannot get to grips with polyamory she describes it as like having a second child. As parents, when you have one child you feel you could never love another child as much as the first – that would be impossible, but then you have a second child. That second child might be different to the first, but you love it just the same. In fact seeing both children interact makes you love them both more and your family feels even more complete.
This idea isn’t for everyone. Often open relationships will turn sour if rules are broken just like monogamous ones and often it’s easier to deal with a partner having base line sex with someone rather than romance. Much like it can be human nature to want display lust, the other six deadly sins are never far behind. We go through lives avoiding loss – polyamorous couples feel that if someone wants to leave it is inevitable – monogamous or otherwise though I can’t help feeling waving temptation under someone’s nose – giving them a bite of the apple might make someone consider something they had previously never thought an option.
I admire those who can be polyamorous as trust is so hard and to split that three ways is even harder. For those of us that feel like a constant failure in a monogamous relationship then it gives hope that, just like being straight or gay, being with one person isn’t always natural so don’t fight it as other people aren’t, in fact they’re embracing it and are bloody happy.