Why Choose Polyamory


by Vlad Dolezal on February 16, 2010

Today, I will talk about something I’ve kept private until now – my romantic life.

I won’t try to convince you that my relationship choice – polyamory – is right for everyone. But I will give you a few compelling arguments for polyamory, including:

  • why it draws you closer to your partner
  • how it gives you more perspective (and often makes you realize your partner is even more awesome than you thought)
  • how it makes you feel more secure in your relationship with your partner

As well as all the obvious benefits of more freedom and meeting more people.

(In case you haven’t heard about polyamory before – it’s about loving more than one person at a time.)

And now on to the reasons for polyamory…

Polyamory draws you closer to your partner

I’ll start with the big one. Most people think that by sleeping around with other people, it distances you from your partner.

But polyamorous people (including me) find that polyamory draws you closer together with your partner.

Normally, if you promised to be monogamous with someone, you might have doubt nagging you in the back of the brain. Did you make the right decision? Is your partner really as awesome as you think, or is it just not being alone that’s so awesome? That woman (or man) you’re having such fun conversations with at your yoga class, would they be a better partner for you?

There’s also scarcity (a.k.a. forbidden fruit): If you can’t have something, you will desire it more.

The funny thing I found after openly discussing polyamory with my girlfriend and getting the green light – I wouldn’t really want to date most of the cute women I know.

Having one happy steady relationships already satisfies most of my desires, so my standards for a second relationship are pretty high. I don’t really feel like sleeping around with lots of women (the idea just doesn’t attract me at this phase of my life), and if I were to enter a second steady relationship, that woman would have to be something special – not just the usual cute and fun.

Polyamory also gives you perspective. After I discussed polyamory with my girlfriend, I dated another girl for about two weeks – and she made me realize many small details that make my girlfriend awesome for me, and other people awesome for somebody else. There are so many awesome little (and big) things about your partner you probably don’t even notice. Meeting other people gives you the perspective to know how lucky you really are to have found them.

I want to be with my girlfriend because I WANT to be with her, not because of some kind of promise

Monogamous people might argue that by making a promise to be exclusive, (or getting married), you’re showing your commitment to someone. You’re showing that you’re serious.

My girlfriend knows that I’m commited to her – she doesn’t need a ring on her finger to see that.

More importantly, I would find it actively disrespectful to be with someone when I don’t really want to be with them.

It’s like asking someone out for dinner, and then spending the whole time texting your friends, making business calls and reading a book. Yuck.

Also, by not making any promises, my girlfriend knows that when I’m with her, I really want nothing else in the world more than to be with her. If I wanted to be with someone else, I would. If I wanted to be doing something else, I would tell her, and go do that.

Because we’re polyamorous, my girlfriend knows that when I’m with her, I want nothing else in the world more than to be with her. Also, if there ever comes a time when we don’t want to be together anymore – we will know, and we can leave on a high note. Unlike people who cling on to failed relationships for years, only making themselves and everyone around miserable.

Most monogamy stems from insecurity

What’s your first thought when you consider polyamory?

Something like “Oh no, my partner will go off, find somebody else they love more than me, and leave me!”?

That’s just your insecurity speaking. Think about it – if you were fully confident in being super-attractive and having found the right partner for you, would you worry about them leaving?

I also struggled with the same thoughts when I first considered polyamory.

Then I realized that my girlfriend and I have a very deep connection. We’re truly in love, and just because she goes off and finds somebody and has great sex with them, it won’t change anything between us.

And if, against all odds, she does find somebody else she loves more than me and wants to be exclusive with them – then the two of them belong together. It comes down to respect again – why would I want to make her stay with me when she’s happier with somebody else?

Another insecurity you might have is that you won’t be able to attract another partner if your current partner leaves you. So once you manage to someone, you cling on to them for dear life, paradoxically driving them emotionally further from you.

This happens a lot with psychologically immature people. Like the girlfriend who won’t let her boyfriend even look at other women, fearing that he would leave her. She will call him all day, read through his e-mails and text messages if she gets the chance, and even follow him to all social engagements to make sure he isn’t meeting other women.

That’s not a healthy relationship. If you can’t even trust your partner, you’re doing it wrong.

If you were fully confident in being attractive, interesting and mature, you wouldn’t worry about your current partner leaving you. Deep inside, you would know that somewhere out there is a person who is a great fit for you, and if your current partner leaves you, they weren’t that person and they’re letting you move on and get closer to finding your perfect match.

Monogamy is fine (if you do it for the right reasons)

I’m totally fine with people who choose monogamy.

But the key here is CHOOSING. Do you really want to be monogamous?

Choose monogamy because you want to. Not because your parents tell you to, or the society expects you to, or all your friends and relatives pressure you to get married already and start having kids. Even if your partner wants you to be monogamous – only choose so if you really want to.

Nobody can make you commit. Sure, they can make you get married, but that’s completely different from psychological commitment. Nobody can make you do that.

A lot of failed marriages stem from people rushing to get married before being psychologically commited to each other. Sometimes they even feel the lack of commitment and think that marriage will make up for it. It won’t. Marriage is a legal contract, no more, no less. Psychological commitment is completely separate.

But if you feel committed to your partner, and they feel committed to you, and you both like the idea of monogamy – go for it!

A few details about my relationship

In the spirit of full disclosure, here are a few details you might want to know.

Me and my girlfriend live in different countries, and only get to see each other every few months during holidays.

That’s actually one of the reasons we started talking about polyamory. Maybe if we were together, we would be quite happy and wouldn’t even consider polyamory.

That being said… once we get a chance to live together, we will definitely stay polyamorous, for all the reasons outlined above. It just feels much healthier psychologically, to us. So being separated made us consider awesome things that might have been too uncomfortable to consider otherwise.

That’s one thing about polyamory. It makes you face up to your insecurities (like not being awesome enough to keep your partner), rather than hiding behind the safety of a monogamous promise. It might be uncomfortable at first, but feels much better in the long run.

If you like the idea of polyamory…

So here’s the million dollar question – how do you bring up polyamory with your partner?

And here’s the answer: Just talk to them.

Really. If your partner leaves you or gets upset when you even mention the idea of polyamory, that’s a big red flag that they’re not the right person for you. Relationships are all about honest communication, so why would they get upset when you mention something you’re honestly thinking about?

If you want polyamory at this stage in your life, and your partner doesn’t even want to hear about it… then you might not be right for each other right now. But that’s up to you to decide.

In the end, your life is about what you want.

I like the idea of polyamory. So does my girlfriend. And we’re very happy with it.

And that’s why I choose polyamory.