To Polyamory or not to Polyamory?
When people think of polyamory they often think of sexually permicious people having lots of sex. Although sex is often involved, Polyamory is a lifestyle choice where partners agree to engage in multiple emotional and romantic relationships. This is different from an open relationship, where partners may have multiple casual sex partners, but only have a deep connection and commitment to one partner.
Polyamorous relationships involve high levels of communication, as partners need to work out what relationship structure is best for them and their other partners. Some poly partnerships engage in relationship hierarchy where they have a primary partner who gets precedence over secondary partners. For example, some may choose to spend spend special days like birthdays and graduations with their primary partner, and only introduce primary partners to their family. Others engage in relationship anarchy, where all partnerships are treated equally. In polyamory, each partner needs to work out how to get their needs met both sexually and romantically, and this involves high levels of communication and often looks very different for each couple.
What are some pros and cons of poly ships?
Cheating is less common. Yes, cheating can still happen in poly ships because each dyad creates their own rules in the relationship. For example, say a poly dad is going to have a baby, they may decide not to have any other partners during the pregnancy and if a partner broke this promise this would count as cheating. However, poly couples have a lot more freedom both sexually and romantically so cheating is less likely than in monogamous unions. Check out the book The State of Affairs by Esther Perel to read about the specifics, but it’s astounding how common cheating is in monogamous relationships, so for some poly ships is an ethical alternative.
You get to have new and exciting experiences. Each person you date often expands your horizons sexually, romantically and experientially. Also, partners have different qualities that help you grow in different ways. For example, one partner may be better at rough sex and exploring certain fetishes, but another partner may be better at the slow passionate sex. Both are equally important, but it’s often hard to find one partner that can be both types of lovers. As well non-sexually, one partner may teach you pottery and about interesting authors and another partner may be more adventurous and take you up mountains. One may talk to you about philosophy, and one may deeply relate to your disability. One may make you laugh until you cry, and another may make you learn about how Battlestar Galactica is really the best show ever made. All of these experiences are beautiful and help expand one’s horizons in different ways and in Poly Ships just because you found one amazing person, this does not limit you from having other concurrent romantic and emotional experiences with other people.
Polyamory makes you to practice and insane amount of communication and self reflection.
In monogamous relationships there are often a set of assumptions regarding what relationships look like, but poly folk make up their own rules. This can be incredible, but you to figure out what you want out of your relationships, and to talk about it to multiple partners.
Jealousy is common in any relationship polyamorous or not, but the difference in polyamory is that the chances that your partner is out having sex and potentially even falling in love with other person is REAL, and is in-fact part of the relationship structure. It takes a certain type of person with a high level of confidence in themselves and their relationship to be comfortable knowing that their partner may have other emotional and sexual attachments. In my experience, some people are naturally more jealous than others, and many people simply don’t have the desire to have this type of relationship because the jealousy would overcome them. There are certainly techniques that can be utilized to work on jealousy, but you need the desire to analyze yourself, your relationship and the root of your jealousy .
In Poly relationships you need to be a solid scheduler and need to find a way to make time for all of your partners. If you are working 40 hours a week, it may be difficult to maintain more than one relationship, as all relationships need care and time to be maintained. As well, time management is something that should be discussed with partners because if one partner is spending more time with another partner, their third partner may be hurt. A lot of poly couples have multiple shared calendars to figure out scheduling.
A third con of Poly relationships is that they are still very much not accepted by mainstream society. Unless you are safely nested in a poly community, dating can be hard for poly folks, as saying you are dating multiple people and plan to continue to do so may be a turn off for some people.
Poly Relationships are certainly not for everyone, but many have found this lifestyle to be a refreshing alternative to monogamy. If you are considering being poly think about your ability to manage jealousy, to communicate clearly among multiple partners and remember that you can create any type of relationship structure that works for you.