The other day I was thinking about polyamory (something I often do), and what I landed on is that many people hold beliefs about polyamory without having much or any knowledge or experience of it. Below, I will name a few of these beliefs, and shed some light on the true nature of polyamory:
1. Polyamory is all about sex. Well, no, it’s not. The definition of polyamory is romantic love with more than one person, honestly, with full knowledge and consent by all involved. The emphasis is on love, intimacy, and relationship, not sex. In fact, by some defininitions of polyamory, it is even possible to have a polyamorous partner that does not involve sex at all, simply an intimate, romantic connection. What some people in monogamous relationships would call an “emotional affair”, except it’s not an affair if everyone knows about it!
2. Polyamory is another word for swinging. No again. Generally, in swinging, couples have an open relationship in which they may have sex with acquaintances, people they newly met, or even complete strangers. When I was a stripper, I would sometimes get propostitioned by couples that wanted me to come home with them. Those people were swingers, not polyamorists. (This didn’t appeal to me, so I said no to it. However, I have no judment about swingers. I am simply pointing out the differences between swingers and polyamorists.) In swinging, the emphasis IS on sex, not on relationship. In fact, some swingers insist on only hooking up with another person or couple one time, so that they WON’T develop feelings for each other. Then they move on to someone new. In polyamory, on the other hand, couples choose other partners based on feelings of love and connection, and may keep these partners for years, or indefinitely.
3. People who are polyamorous don’t get jealous. Not true, again. Some polyamorists have little to no jealousy, that’s true. That’s just who they are. Others experience higher levels of jealousy, sometimes quite painfully. Sometimes, a polyamorous person may have varying amounts of jealousy depending on the situation. Polyamorists are not immune to jealousy. They get jealous just like monogamists. The difference is that in monogamy, people tend to avoid or try to rid themselves of jealousy, while in polyamory, jealousy is oftentimes explored curiously, as an experience to learn and grow, rather than shrink, from.
4. Polyamory is taking the easy way out. Actually, no. Polyamorists cannot just have indiscriminant sex with anyone they feel like hooking up with. Polyamory that works requires a lot of commitment- to honesty, to a LOT of communication, to safe sex,to facing one’s fears, and to processing some very intense emotions (just to name a few). Does that sound easy to you?
5. Polyamorists want to have their cake and eat it too. Well, DUH! Yes, they do. As if that’s a bad thing! Honestly, I’ve never understood this expression! Who really wants to just have their cake and stare at it?! We’ve been taught that it is bad to want too much, that “you can’t have it all”. Well, who says? Certainly not God! Whatever it is that we desire to be, do, or have in this life, we can manifest. For some, it is more than one loving partner; for others, it may be marriage, kids, and career.