Why Choose Polyamory

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.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Benny the Irish polyglot February 16, 2010 at 14:40

Hey Vlad, thanks for your honesty! Very interesting topic and I’m sure your readers will appreciate your frankness! It will likely ruffle some feathers, simply because it challenges traditional viewpoints.
If I had to be totally honest, I’d say that I’d be intimidated by the idea of polyamory for the insecure reasons you pointed out, as well as jealousy. Then again, I know that some girls I’ve been with would be totally OK with this idea. It’s something I’d consider trying in the early parts of a relationship with the goal of eventually being exclusive having confirmed that other people don’t tempt us as much.
However, for a long-distance relationship I’d be hard pushed to really call it polyamory. It’s more just honesty that you are being with other people while not with her. If you do live together and continue the open relationship, then that would suit the definition quite a lot more, just my opinion ;)
I’ve been open to ex-girlfriends before about another relationship starting, while still saying that if our travel paths align again I’d like to continue the relationship where we left off (cancelling the “ex” part). I suppose this comes down to different definitions of what it means to have a girlfriend.
.-= Benny the Irish polyglot´s last blog ..Is it better to travel to villages for language/cultural immersion? =-.

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Vlad Dolezal February 16, 2010 at 14:48

@Benny:

You’re right, it’s not quite true polyamory until we’re both happily living together and still dating other people on the side :)

That being said, I feel like that’s where we’re heading (once we get the chance).

People might not really believe that we mean it until that happens. Oh well, so be it. This is how I feel about polyamory, so that’s what I write :)

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Clyde Machine February 17, 2010 at 17:31

“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.”

I remember my tweet about marriage that you had replied to with the above idea. XD I may have worded it wrong or something, but whatever it was I said, your response was indeed insightful.

I’ve never heard of polyamory, and now that I’ve read about it, I know I would never try it, but I can see how some might choose it, for the reasons mentioned above, that it’s another way of proving not only to your partner but to yourself that you’re with the right person. With those reasons you’ve mentioned, I wouldn’t try it, as I feel that I’ve found the one person for me. I’ve proven it to myself why she is right for me (and especially why I am right for her), you and I just used different methods of testing to find the truth for ourselves.

Glad it’s worked out for you thus far. =)
.-= Clyde Machine´s last blog ..A Lesson to be Learned: Critical Thinking Teaches =-.

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Vlad Dolezal February 17, 2010 at 19:11

@Clyde:

And I’m glad you’ve found the right person for you :)

In the end it doesn’t matter so much how you get there… as long as you do.

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Gabrielle February 18, 2010 at 02:51

Awesome t shirt. Suits the etymology geek in me. I suspect the term’s not going to change, though, until poly is more accepted in the mainstream.

There are many poly models, and I’d say yours fits the definition of “multiple loves”. Living together is not required to be in a relationship. It’s the commitment that counts.

I’m curious, though. You said people can make you get married. How so?
.-= Gabrielle´s last blog ..Sidetracked =-.

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Vlad Dolezal February 18, 2010 at 12:22

@Gabrielle:

If you like the idea of polyamory being wrong, here are several other equally wrong things ;) :

  • homosexuality
  • liposuction
  • sociology
  • television

You can check out the wikipedia article on hybrid words for more cool examples that will blow your mind:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_word

As for people making you get married… sometimes people get pressured into getting married by their family, or peers, or their society. If it was up to them, they would wait another few months or years, or maybe even not marry that particular person at all.

I was making the point that no matter how much pressure others put on you, it has ZERO effect on your psychological feeling of commitment. That’s something that comes from within.

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Zoli Cserei February 20, 2010 at 01:51

Hey Vlad,

You presented a very interesting concept here. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but if I’m perfectly honest, this term was quite new to me. I think that it fits what most people call an “open relationship”, though I can feel a little difference, right? I’m a typically faithful guy and when I’m with a girl I choose very carefully so that if I finally start a relationship with her than I know that there’s some interesting stuff going on between the two of us.

I really liked the metaphor between the forbidden fruit and this kind of relationship handling. Maybe, if it wasn’t forbidden Eve wouldn’t even care.. :)

Interesting concept, though in the small town I live in finding even one girl for me is quite hard, so maybe when I go to college :-” :)

Cheers!
Zoli

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Vlad Dolezal February 20, 2010 at 14:33

@Zoli:

There’s a small difference. Open relationship usually means you have one main relationship, and are free to meet other people on the side for fun (and sex).

With polyamory, you’re free to love multiple people. Having full-blown relationships with more than one person.

Good luck finding as many girls as you want ;) (Yes, where you are matters more than most people realize.)

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Hedonalia February 22, 2010 at 02:05

This is a great post, and from the comments I am glad many people have read it.

Labels are messy and not worth nitpicking, but I call myself in an “open relationship” even though I also consider myself polyamorous: open to meaningful, committed emotional relationships that go beyond sex for fun. However, I do consider my marriage (16 years and counting, w00t!) to be my primary relationship and any other one has to fit into a secondary role. There are many many ways to skin this cat. :)
.-= Hedonalia´s last blog ..Hedonalia: V is not a great listener. She likes to be listened to. The other way around, not so much. =-.

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Vlad Dolezal February 22, 2010 at 11:53

@Hedonalia:

Exactly. In the end it comes down to loving more than one person, and it’s not worth nitpicking too much exactly what you mean :)

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Jon H March 25, 2010 at 08:57

this is everything i know am, and everything i could never articulate. thank you so much.

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Vlad Dolezal March 25, 2010 at 18:30

@Jon:

No problem. It took me a while to get the thoughts sorted in my head on exactly why I like the idea of polyamory so much.

Feel free to point people to this article :) . I also often point people to an article written by someone else if they manage to explain something better than me.

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Marco April 15, 2010 at 01:18

Jumping into Polyamory was a huge decision for my wife & I…especially with another couple. Talk about some rough times there. Over the course of a year with our ‘other half’ things have went incredibly good to extremely depressing…and back & forth. It’s been one helluva ride, that’s for sure.

Funny thing is, we’ve jumped into this lifestyle before we even knew there was a word for it.
.-= Marco´s last blog ..1) Love…..lots of it. (The Prologue) =-.

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Vlad Dolezal April 15, 2010 at 11:15

@Marco:

I guess you’re an expedition leader ;) . Keep it up!

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WILLIAM October 4, 2010 at 04:51

Dear vlad,

First of all, i think your blog is great!!

Now about this theme, personally i agree almost completly with the idea of having multiple relationships, i think it should be the way everybody relate with their partners, yet i most say this: i think that having a monogamous relationship nowadays should be considered as a way of self-preservation from the world’s courrent situation with the std, like aids for example, now you probably would be thinking that it’s the responsability of each of us to take the apropiate precautions using condoms for example, yet even thoug you take the respective precautions there is still a possibility of infection and the more sexual partners a person has the more the possibility increases, this is important considering that as a person who knows that life surely is larger and more intresting than just having sex, the possibility of getting sick with a serious disease that can really affect your overall quality of life makes me think of the value of putting ourselves in a potencial risk. Also i think you may agree with me that having sex using condoms, latex dams and other preventive stuff really takes much of the fun of the sexual encounter. In other situation if one had a partner which one could trust enough, the sexual experience would be richer and safer for both.

Well thats a little thing that i’ve been thinking for a long time now and i think it’s another point of view that should be considered if people is planning to be plyamorous.

Thanks (:

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J November 24, 2010 at 18:11

This post was unexpected, and I have to say I disagree. I’m not going to go about bashing you immaturely, but I do consider your reasons to be flawed. Polyamorous relationships in most cases will not work well in the long run. As far as I’ve gathered above, you really like one person, but feel fine spending time doing intimate things with other people on a more short term basis. Would you call yourself committed to your girlfriend? Because for me, being committed means that I don’t think about being with anyone else, and am comfortable with the other person. If I need to spend time with people, sleeping with them or whatever, then the fact that I feel the desire to explore other relationships renders the original one useless. Being in a relationship is not going into a cake shop and putting a finger into every cake and comparing whether they are as good as your favourite one to re-affirm your feelings. I have no business in other people’s relationships, but equally I’m somewhat disgusted that based on your own experience you wish to promote this in a shortsighted way. Everyone feels uncertainty at some point whether the person they are with is ‘the one’, yet how would it help to have many short lived relationships compared to the one with your more permanent other half – maybe you might see who you are more sexually compatible with, but I find it ridiculous that anyone can have multiple, very meaningful and deep relationships. Since in the comments you said that a polyamorous relationship is not strictly an open relationship, is your girlfriend not the person you chose in the first place, and keep comparing everyone against? This is another confusing point.

Aside from the irresponsibility that can come with multiple relationships, I would definitely find myself having little left for myself if my partner decided to take this path. Certainly, I’d feel that if both of us did that, we’d never be committed, and that for someone to agree with such a relationship, they are doing nothing more than to condone cheating, and in the case of a child being involve, this is disgustingly inconsiderate. To have this somewhat carefree attitude I cannot agree with, and feel the need to comment when there is responsibility on the blogger’s behalf to enlighten and educate. I’m sure you realise that there are many people who will blindly follow ‘advice’ without question. You are free to write what you want of course – it’s your blog, but this poorly worded, and not very rigorous article does put me off somewhat from the rest of the blog which I have found quite interesting to this point.

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Vlad Dolezal November 24, 2010 at 23:02

What I sense from your comment (and please correct me if I’m wrong), is that you come from the belief that finding one great person to spend the rest of your time with is the ultimate goal.

Looking at my post through this frame, you think that the whole point of meeting other people is to “taste” them and maybe discover someone better than my first girlfriend. That is not so.

I love being with my girlfriend, but at the same time I enjoy meeting other people. Every person you meet teaches you something new and interesting, and I don’t see a reason to avoid meeting people in a romantic sense in the same way it makes no sense to stop making new friends because your significant other is afraid you would spend more time with your friends than with her.

Further, polyamory isn’t just about having one main relationship and then a bunch of short-term flings on top of that. There’s the whole avenue of having two or more deep, meaningful relationships at the same time (which I’m starting to explore, but I won’t go into the details).

With all that said, I get a feeling that monogamy is the right choice for you. And it’s a perfectly good choice.

I wrote this post to broaden people’s horizons, and get them to consider polyamory. Monogamy is completely fine, as long as you consciously choose it instead of just defaulting to it because you never considered another option.

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Paul November 25, 2010 at 14:35

What is the difference in the definition of a ‘partner’ and a ‘friend’? It is the intimacy and love. Meeting people indeed teaches you something new and interesting, but for that purpose you don’t need to be partners with them. You don’t need to be intimate or in love with them. So that point makes no sense at all.
There is no reason to stop meeting new people in a romantic sense, I find it wrong, but I don;t mind you doing it. However in this way poly-amory makes no sense, since it means loving multiple in the romantic sense. And that is physiologically impossible. You can only dedicate a few ‘components of love’ to multiple people, but never be “Truly in love” with all of them nor having deep, meaningful relationships with them. Of course, you can have a very close bunch of friends, who you may spend time with more than with normal friends, and engage in sexual activities, but it is never going to be what you say it is. Therefore I object to usage of poly-amory to describe your life style and to provide fallacious arguments to support it.
And yet again, you make monogamy seem as a social factor and pressure, rather than a genetic predisposition. It is fine not to comply with the society blindly, but trying to reason that it is a a social pressure is a farce.
It is the right choice for you for now, since it is only natural for humans to engage with multiple partners before they fall, as you put it, “truly in love”.

Your use of fallacious and illogical arguments to justify your behaviour is also perfectly normal, it seems to be stemming from your insecurity that you are too ordinary just like everyone else, therefore you are trying to overcompensate for that and try to justify your actions in front of an audience and seek approval.

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Vlad Dolezal November 26, 2010 at 09:38

Ah, okay, I think we have a core belief disagreement here.

You believe it’s not possible to have a truly deep, meaningful relationship with more than one person.

I believe it is possible.

I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one :)

I also don’t believe we are genetically predisposed towards monogamy. If you’re interested in this topic, I’d recommend the book Sperm Wars by Robin Baker. He digs deep into the scientific research (stuff like sperm counts and women’s ovulations periods etc.) and actually finds that we’re more predisposed towards having multiple partners, whether openly or secretly.

Now, I’m not saying it’s right to have multiple partners. I’m just saying that genetically, there’s nothing predisposing you towards monogamy.

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J November 26, 2010 at 05:39

I am writing because I feel very strongly against the message this post sends out, rather than enlighten. That is why I’m writing about this specific issue, so I’m confused why you make the significant statement of ”you come from the belief that finding one great person to spend the rest of your time with is the ultimate goal”.

You’ve misunderstood me so far, and at 5:30am I’m a little annoyed in the assuming style where you write about what you incorrectly perceive – although credit to you for encouraging me to point it out. With reference to what you’ve said, there is a good evolutionary reason why people tend to have only one partner. Extending great relationships with multiple friends to having great relationships with multiple women/men is illogical. You are still very young, and perhaps you will be very happy doing things this way – this I am not denying, but I would be interested to see what happens 30 years down the ‘polyamorous’ route you’re taking.

Your reply I feel has completely ignored the obvious flaws I’ve pointed out in my last post, and I will not be highlighting these again in this reply. If it wasn’t clear before, I will state that I have objected so much to this post because it was done so in a considerably irresponsible way. It is one thing to retell your experiences and invite the readers to make up their own mind, but it is certainly another to encourage it in the same way a priest would blindly preach to others.

I am glad that many people seem to be helped by various posts you’ve made, but I’m afraid I will not be reading any. And now, off to sleep!

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Vlad Dolezal November 26, 2010 at 09:42

Sure, that’s why I asked you to correct me if I’m wrong. It’s hard to get exactly what a person is thinking from a single comment. And until I see where you’re coming from, it will be hard to answer in a way that makes sense to you.

I won’t give you a point-by-point analysis of your whole comment and everything I disagree with (for example, you calling multiple relationships “irresponsible”), because then we’d be here for hours.

(Update: I’ve decided to answer J’s original comment in detail. See below.)

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Paul November 25, 2010 at 14:19

Dear Vlad,

You seem to be using flawed illogical arguments to support your point. I am not going to say what is right or wrong to do, it is your choice after all, but I find it frustrating that you are using ignorance to support your argument and sway your viewpoint.

All I worry is the influence on people who may not see the flaws in your argument. It would just result in problems for many people… imagine if someone was swayed by your post and said what you said to your girlfriend? Their girlfriend may loose trust in them and a relationship may break. I know you use a childish argument of “If you were fully confident in being attractive, interesting and mature, you wouldn’t worry about your current partner leaving you.”… This is resorting to bullying and persuasion techniques of the form: “if you are NOT [something] then do [something]” or “You are [this] because you are [insult]“. There are many examples like that above, not only they are semantically null in regard to supporting your argument, but they are completely unsupported with facts or references. Generalisations like “Most monogamy stems from insecurity” also are completely un-based. With regard to the first quote I provided, “being attractive, interesting and mature” has nothing to do to support the argument you are making, you also resort to many of these irrelevant statements to construct an argument.

Going back to the matter of the post I am not going to fully dis-assemble the post, but a few thing surface immediately after having read it:
You say that you need to confirm whether that person is right for him by going out with other people and rather than going by a promise and nothing more. But a whole point of being committed is that the promise comes after liking someone, not before…. so by the time you are together you are sure that you love them without need for exploration…
Physiologically a deep relationship can only be between two people, if more people are involved then nobody is experiencing all the physiological factors contributing to love… and for true love you need three of them firing at the same time… I am not going to reference anything here for now, but I will be more than happy to provide. For a curious layman, beginner’s reading would include http://www.helenfisher.com/articles.html .
There are human instincts going against that kind or relationship, like jealousy for instance, so if they are not firing off with either partners in means that: there is something wrong with their body that it is not working properly or they are not ‘partners’ as such on physiological level as above, i.e. just two random people living together who are a bit more than friends, but certainly not a “truly in love”, quoting you. I, I assume that you are healthy, so it only means that you have never experienced that feeling as described above and thus don’t really know what is it to be .
You make monogamy seem as a social factor and pressure, rather than a genetic predisposition. It is fine not to comply with the society blindly, but acting against the body is difficult and there is no way to get ‘used to it’.
You promote irresponsible behaviour (imagine you having kids in such a relationship… kids will inevitably sleep around, but with kids the irresponsibility will kick in and thus things like STDs will be a problem…)

Kind regards,

Paul.

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Vlad Dolezal November 26, 2010 at 09:55

Alright, fair point.

I have no basis for statements like “most monogamy stems from insecurity”, it’s just what I gathered from talking to people. Quite a few men have told me things like “This polyamory thing sounds cool, but I won’t bring it up with my girlfriend because she’d kill me.” – It’s the lack of communication I find disheartening, because I think communication is one of the most important parts of a relationship.

As I mentioned in the reply to your other comment, I believe it is possible to have multiple meaningful deep relationships, and you believe it’s not, so I won’t go any further into that.

You’re absolutely right about the whole committing to a person after you’ve found out that they’re right for you, not before.

And the whole jealousy thing – I’d say it’s analogous to craving sweets and junk food. Sure, it’s natural behaviour you’re born with. But when you start eating healthy as opposed to eating junk food, soon you will start to notice increased alertness and energy levels, your mind will make the link, and you will start craving junk foods much less, and look forward to eating apples and such instead. And I believe you can overcome jealousy in the same way that you overcome cravings for junk food, to the point that it only pops up occasionally as a mild annoyance, instead of the all-consuming gut-churning feeling, because you see that a polyamorous relationship brings you much more than a limited jealousy-ridden monogamous one.

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Hi November 26, 2010 at 12:25

J has pointed out exactly the things I found very confusing in this post. But it looks like a certain someone don`t want to answer to them. I wonder why…

And as for the post… Ugh. It`s the kind of situation where you understand something is gravely wrong but cannot find where exactly.

Your earlier posts were cool and interesting, but the side you turned to now sickens me more and more. Sadly.

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Vlad Dolezal November 26, 2010 at 15:11

Alright, since it seems like J wasn’t the only one who found some of the points unsatisfactory, I’ve decided that I will go answer your comment in detail.

I have a lot of other work on my plate right now, but I’ll get to it as soon as I have a bit of free time. Probably sometime this Sunday.

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Vlad Dolezal November 28, 2010 at 18:56

Okay, here it goes. My point-by-point answer to J’s comment above. (Bold text is J’s.)

“If I need to spend time with people, sleeping with them or whatever, then the fact that I feel the desire to explore other relationships renders the original one useless (…)”

I’m not going to say what’s right for you, but I disagree with your implication if somebody explores other relationships, it renders the original one useless.

Your relationship with a person is no less intense or real just because you spend some of your other time with other people.

Now, if the time you spend with other people starts to cut down on the quality or quantity of time you spend with your partner, then it might be a problem. But it’s the same with hobbies and your work, and a question of deciding how much time and energy you can dedicate to certain things.

I would not be starting a new relationship if I felt that I wouldn’t be able to really give it what I wanted, or if I felt that it would detract from my other relationships, or other parts of my life.

Oh, one more thing. If you don’t feel the desire to explore other relationships, then by all means, don’t! I’m not forcing you. However, if you do feel the desire, then make sure you know what reasons you have for not exploring it. (Again, the whole point of this post was to open people’s perceptions to the possibility of polyamory, instead of defaulting to monogamy thoughtlessly.)

“Everyone feels uncertainty at some point whether the person they are with is ‘the one’, yet how would it help to have many short lived relationships compared to the one with your more permanent other half – maybe you might see who you are more sexually compatible with, but I find it ridiculous that anyone can have multiple, very meaningful and deep relationships.”

I agree with you that multiple short-term relationships wouldn’t be as satisfying (to me, at least) as one deep, lasting relationship.

However, I disagree with your second point. I honestly believe it IS possible to have a deep, lasting relationships with more than one person.

Since we have a belief disagreement here, let’s just leave it at that. Logic doesn’t do much when it comes to deep-seated beliefs.

“Since in the comments you said that a polyamorous relationship is not strictly an open relationship, is your girlfriend not the person you chose in the first place, and keep comparing everyone against?”

I was making the distinction that usually, an “open” relationship means having one main relationship and other short-term relationships on the side.

Polyamory, on the other hand, lets you explore multiple relationships with the full aspect involving love and commitment, to the point of having two or more full relationships, without any of them being the “main” one, or a “secondary” one.

As for comparing everyone to my girlfriend… well, yes and no. Obviously I notice how different women I meet are different. However, I don’t compare them in terms of being “better” or “worse”, because they honestly are just… different.

You can love your parents, and your pet, and your significant other, and you love them all in different ways, not “more” or “less”. And in the same way, you can love more than one partner, in their own unique way.

“I would definitely find myself having little left for myself if my partner decided to take this path. Certainly, I’d feel that if both of us did that, we’d never be committed, and that for someone to agree with such a relationship, they are doing nothing more than to condone cheating, and in the case of a child being involve, this is disgustingly inconsiderate.”

It sounds like monogamy is very important to you, and so obviously you would want to be with a partner who is also monogamous. This is an important preference in a potential partner, just like the environment you want to live in (urban? rural?), or whether or not you want to have children (and how many). Neither option is wrong, but it’s important that you find a partner who is compatible with you.

I don’t like your use of the word “cheating”, because it implies something that’s “against the rules”. However, for polyamorous people, meeting other romantic partners is no more “cheating” than making new friends.

And as far as raising a child, there are many things you can do right and things you can do wrong. You can do a very good job raising a child in a polyamorous household (as polyamory doesn’t mean running off and suddenly abandoning everyone. It means being around and committed, while also sometimes being with other people). You can also do a really crappy job of raising a child in a monogamous household. The two are unrelated.

(And, if anything, a healthy polyamorous relationship on average requires a higher maturity level from people, as it requires real communication and openness, and thus would be better for a child than an average monogamous relationship, because your maturity level is one of the most important things when raising a child.)

“I’m sure you realise that there are many people who will blindly follow ‘advice’ without question.”

Read the article above again.

My advice is that people re-consider why they’re monogamous, and if they find the idea of polyamory interesting, talk to their partner.

Encouraging open-mindedness and communication is bad advice?

And that’s all. If you have any other points I haven’t made clear in the article, feel free to ask.

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[deleted] March 14, 2011 at 11:25

[comment deleted]

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Vlad Dolezal March 14, 2011 at 14:59

Not so much justify, but I thought I would explain it in a way that monogamous people could identify with.

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Brynhild Tudor July 3, 2011 at 08:26

I love your article and I agree with you that people pursuing polyamory, such as I am considering doing, need to have an exceptionally high level of emotional maturity, both to discuss the prospect and to make it work. There are an incredible number of immature people in society today who use monogamy as a cover for not exploring/confronting their own emotional issues and insecurities. You are absolutely right that one can overcome emotional issues as one overcomes food cravings… possibly extremely difficult to undertake, but certainly doable. I find your responses to nay-sayers of your article to be quite kind, patient and really going out of your way to explain your point of view to them.

I am a musician and play 3 different instruments. Some people, such as those who only chose one to major in at conservatory, say I’m not dedicated (I was told by a professor I wasn’t a dedicated musician because I couldn’t pick one), since I chose not to focus all my time on a single instrument. But I love flute and piano equally, and choose to devote smaller amounts of high-quality time to each, rather than 8 hours to one. I was also a singer. I find it far more satisfying when my life has a healthy balance of multiple different things in it. I find it annoying how people corrolate one’s level of commitment based solely on the amount of time a person chooses to pursue a single endeavor in life. I now have moved on to physical fitness, and even in that arena, I chose the sport of gymnastics, which has 4 events, plus I love indoor cycling. But just because I love 1 thing does not mean I wish to put all my eggs in one basket, as it were.

I also agree with your statements equating partners with friends. I actually see no difference between the 2, as some posters on here do, and think you can have just as much intimacy/love for a partner as for a friend. I also feel your friends should be your partners and vice versa.

I think there is a fundamental difference between how poly people view love (it is not a bank account, there is plenty of love to go around) versus how opponents of polyamory feel (love is limited in terms of a person’s emotional resources.) While I think truly limitless love is impractical in this world (it’s just not possible, for time/monitary reasons, to love 8 billion people), I do think that one can have high-quality relationships with more than 1 individual, even if it be in a small group.

Keep up the wonderful work, and I wish you many happy, fulfilling, committed, deep, meaningful relationships throughout your life.

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Vlad Dolezal July 3, 2011 at 10:27

Spot on, Brynhild!

Funnily enough, I also play more than one instrument. I’ve loved the piano for a long time – I don’t need to explain to you why. But about a year ago, I was at a meetup of esperanto speakers, and I realized that a guitar is really awesome to play when you’re with a group of friends, so everybody can sing along. So I went and picked up a guitar and by now I’m reasonably proficient at it.

Neither piano nor guitar is better or worse, they’re just awesome in different circumstances!

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Matt R July 12, 2011 at 12:23

Hey Vlad!
Just stumbled on this.

I’m glad that you in a healthy relationship that proves that polyamory can work.

It’s always good to see all possibilities and not being set in one kind of thinking.

If a future girlfriend were open to the idea, I’d definitely give it a try.

-Our evolution has ancestry that was into polyamory because the difference in avg. height/weight in male/female is quite drastic.
-Species that are monogamous tend have avg. male/female that look almost identical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBm3oqMnWyo
The Laysan Albatross. Best example of monogamy. I mean, which one is the male and which is the female?

But like anything else, there doesn’t need to be black/white. You could always shift form polyamory back to monogamy and back again. It all depends on everyone’s specific situation.

Best.

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Vlad Dolezal July 12, 2011 at 12:29

I recently talked to a friend about polyamory. He had the fixed idea that just because you’re polyamorous you must always be dating several people at once and sleeping around.

Plenty of polyamorous date just one partner for long stretches of time. It comes down to whether you have the time/energy available, and whether you meet awesome people to be with.

I’m not contradicting you, just adding to your points :-)

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Alyssa C October 6, 2011 at 02:53

The first time I read your article about polygamy, I thought, ‘hey if it works for you that’s great, but I don’t think it is for me or really even that beneficial.’ But then I started thinking about relationships and marriage and I came to some different conclusions. I do agree with most of what you said and I wanted to expand with some of my own thoughts.

Polygamy has to do a lot about how you feel about yourself. If you find out your boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on you, you are mad because when you enter a relationship you have this idea that ‘you are the only person I need and I am fully committed to being with you’. So that when someone cheats on you it is like they are saying ‘you couldn’t give me everything I needed, so I had to look elsewhere’. This makes you feel inadequate. And this is something I have been struggling with personally. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with not being able to do everything. Everybody has there own talents and you cannot be good at everything. And relationships consist of different things, none are the same. You cannot expect one person to give you everything because they simply cannot. So now, polygamy seems natural to me.
However, when it comes to having kids I believe that it should only be with one person, simply because it takes a lot of energy to raise a family and having multiple families would split that energy and your kids might suffer from that.

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Vlad Dolezal October 6, 2011 at 11:50

Very well said. I agree with all your points.

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Katie Bartell November 14, 2011 at 21:18

Hello all,
Thank you Vlad for this blog post. I also have another friend who is polyamorous, but I have never been in a polyamorous relationship and don’t know if I every will be. But I appreciate the knowledge!

Not to attack anyone, but more to bring an outside perception of J and Paul’s comments: they seem to disagree with your opinions and almost argued to try and say you were wrong. The thing is, if you don’t like what you are reading and don’t agree with it, then move on because telling your viewpoint doesn’t change anything. That person is still going to believe what they want. And if it makes them happy, then why try and persuade them otherwise? Also, it is a waste of energy to state your difference in opinions. It doesn’t change the other person. People change because they want to change. We do not control how or if they change.

Paul said:
“But I find it frustrating that you are using ignorance to support your argument and sway your viewpoint.”

First off, arguments are used when you want to persuade somebody. Vlad was not trying to persuade anyone. He was bringing awareness. He fully said he was okay with monogamy.

J said:
“but I do consider your reasons to be flawed. Polyamorous relationships in most cases will not work well in the long run.”

That’s great if you feel someone’s reasons are flawed, but guess what? It doesn’t matter what you think because all that matters is what the individual person thinks and how they choose to live their life. If you choose to live your life differently then, by all means do so! This is extended to both monogamy and polygamy. Second, stating that polyamorous relationships in most cases won’t work in the long run, is a presumption and a waste of time to even bring up because it might work for Vlad.

All in all, these two people seem to disagree with Vlad’s beliefs and seriously, what’s the point of even commenting? There is no solution to this argument. Vlad is going to believe what he believes based off of what works for him. Trying to bring up why you think he has ignorant viewpoints doesn’t matter. We cannot change people or their beliefs. We have to give space to people and their unique and individual beliefs and perceptions. So polygamy works for him. Then so be it! Debating back and forth is going absolutely nowhere. Honestly, what is the point of leaving your negative comments? What does it accomplish? He is just being open and honest about a piece of his life and allow him to have his beliefs and instead of try and point out why you disagree. It doesn’t matter if you disagree. All that matters is that Vlad believes it and if he is happy then I say, be happy!

And what is the point for me commenting then? Because I am sick of people not allowing others to be different and not understanding that it doesn’t matter if you disagree with someone. All that matters in life, is that we do what we believe in and if you disagree, continue living your own life and leave that person be. Because we cannot change anyone! Commit to living a life that is pure and following your own path, not trying to change someone else’s. But most importantly, the time you spent disagreeing with Vlad, could have been spent doing more of what you love in life, having a phone call with an old friend, writing a letter to someone, working on your book or anything else that specifically affects YOUR life.

Thank you. Sorry about the long post!

P.S. I don’t wish to argue with anyone, and I will not respond to anyone nitpicking my comment. I am solely trying to stick up for Vlad when other people are bickering with him for his belief and his effort to bring awareness.

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Vlad Dolezal November 15, 2011 at 10:00

Woo, nice long comment, Katie!

I’m generally happy to discuss things with people who have opposing viewpoints. Because guess what, that’s how I often discover and find out new things.

But yeah, aside from that, I agree with your points. This post really isn’t about calling anyone’s lifestyle wrong, it’s about bringing the awareness of polyamory to people who might be happiest in such a relationship setup!

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Dan December 20, 2011 at 14:59

“P.S. I don’t wish to argue with anyone, and I will not respond to anyone nitpicking my comment. I am solely trying to stick up for Vlad when other people are bickering with him for his belief and his effort to bring awareness.”

I am not going to nitpick your comment – there are simply too many obvious faults with what you are saying and an intelligent reader will see it for themselves.

What I will point out is that by arguing for your doctrine with falacial logical arguments, talking down on others and then simply refusing to listen puts you along side aggressive religious preachers who simply shut off the world around them, fuel their delusion by staying in their small world of similarly minded people and ignore the world around them. This is called deluded closedmindedness. Somewhat ironic, isn’t it?

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Katie Bartell November 14, 2011 at 21:22

Oops, I meant to use polyamory instead of polygamy! Sorry!

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Katie Bartell November 16, 2011 at 07:57

Totally agree that it’s good to hear others’ viewpoints in order to learn something new!

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Dan December 20, 2011 at 15:02

Irony is strong in this blog post… Hipocricy I sense… Find it funy I am!

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Ocean Love December 23, 2011 at 22:25

My comments are simply that people have a lot to learn about love. Any spiritual text you pick up paints love in a very freeing
& limitless way. However many tend to use love as yet another area to place controls on others and even themselves. There are always going to be the two groups of people: (1) those who live by societal rules and fear any other lifestyles despite seeing that they can work. And then (2) the more fearless group who try to pursue their best life, reconfiguring their lifestyles to best suit them. It’s no easy road, going against the grain. It means alot of self reflection & soul searching. It also requires justifying oneself at any given time because people often times feel that your example directly challenges their choices. When really we are simply trying to live the lives we feel we were meant to live. Misery is a choice too, people. And I simply rebuke it.

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stacey May 13, 2012 at 21:20

people nowadays are not forced to be monogamous.they just feel it is not right to break a loving and comitted relationship.Polyamory doesn’t draws you that closer as you think.you feel happy just because you think maintaining deep,loving,multiple relationships makes life.the real test would be the circumstances when either of you would not go for it..does not make sense that every desire needs to be fulfilled!if your most of the desires are fulfilled it would be selfish to ask for more.when you are with someone special you certainly wouldn’t want anyone else and in polyamory all relationships are treated in the same way and you are just one of her multiple relationship partner. i think you are not that comitted in a relationship otherwise you would have understood why monogamous people don’t tell their partner.it just hurts when you love someone and are comitted that person still trying to get more relationship certainly not for fun.

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Bryan June 19, 2012 at 13:42

Nice post Vlad. Good on your for raising awareness. Would you allow me to rant a little? :P

Oh cool. Well then, I’m just going to “let it all out”, then …

Isn’t is sad how some small minority of presently insecure individuals don’t not seem to know common dictionary descriptions of the word “love”, let alone what it means to be lovingly, committed polyamorist? (Rhetorical) I must spend more time working on a way to help the poor souls. Heaven knows, I could have used a little help in the past. (Still do, but I’m probably too cynical to accept much help, these days! :p)

Then there’s the concept of ‘commitment’. It would also appear that much confusion exists around this term, for some. If the concepts J puts forward were to be correct, as just one random example, then commitment, I guess, would have to be completely impossible. In such contexts after all, if one were truly committed to one person or thing, then one could then never be committed to anything else. If it were one’s spouse for instance, then I suppose there goes your job, your kids … and screw feeding the cat. “Sorry ginger! I am committed to my spouse. I have no time to feed you.” (Aren’t cats supposed to be able to feed themselves anyway?)

Yet these same people would call on “logic” to both make and defend their pointless arguments, not to mention spread their misguided disgust. And on and on goes the “flawed logic”. Oh and hey, I am doing the same thing, right here! How “ironic”, indeed. I must be human. Dang. :P

To be fair to anyone reading this and wondering exactly what I am going on about, it is basically this; that the idea that one can only truly love one person (or thing) at a time is just so incredibly, sad and nonsensical. True, it is what certain religions and popular cultures would have us believe. But since when have they ever been right about anything? No. Really? Context is everything.

Then again, perhaps I’m just plain wrong in my present view? Maybe I can only be truly committed and loving toward one person (or thing.) Perhaps I am deluded in the belief that my parents love both myself and my sister, fully. Maybe I only get an even third of their love (assuming they do not love their own parents, etc.)? Or maybe it’s less than a third — or more (I am a pretty amazing son, after all!)? They say they love us both totally, fully and completely. Maybe they’re lying? OMG .. maybe they don’t even love each other. Maybe they gave all that up, when we were born, out of necessity. How tragic! Oh but I deserve their love, so I shall not complain.

Don’t even get me started on how these types seem to believe that sex and love are the exact same, inseparable things. That just blows my mind! (Does a rapist love their victims. COM ON. Sheesh. What? Oh? That’s different? Oh dear. *sigh*)

Summing up, in no more politically correct terms than the above, I will affirm and proudly claim that, just as the Earth turned out not to be flat, so too the concept of polyamory is a more advanced system of belief than the likes of programmed monogamy. But life would not be fun without such challenges. So by that measure alone, polyamory is clearly a “better” ideal to shoot for — even if it does turn out to be impossible, for some.

Incidentally, I am a polyamorist currently in my sixth year of a ‘monogamist’ relationship with another committed polyamorist. That is, neither one of us has encountered any additional loving relationships during that time. Our predicament would look for all intents and purposes, just like the committed, long term, strictly monogamous relationship that church and society so admires. In fact, we are both raving polyamorists — and there’s nothing anyone could ever do to change us. (Like I said — polyamory is to me a more advanced (complex — yet natural) belief system. It is not just an alternative or opposing view. I consider it rather a super set of of all lesser complex ideals.)

And for a little more fun … Yes, yes. This has all been just my personal opinion. However, I fully believe that I am 100% correct in my beliefs. Since my beliefs are correct and since they all work together in my one mind, they must therefore also be 100% logical! Yay for me! \o/

P.S: Vlad, if your girlfriend (or yourself) is into electronics and RC model aircraft and if she (or yourself) is interested in meeting someone else of similar ilk then please put her in touch with me! Cheers. :-D (I would be another long distance relationship, I am sure!)

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stacey June 22, 2012 at 07:17

hell…what utter nonsense have you written!!!…don’t mix up relationships!!
if you cant be in a true monogamous relationship..or don’t know its value..its your own problem..!..and simply your lines seems you are greedy for love…first nurture a relationship then look for another..!!you seem to say that poly is better than mono..in what way….!!!more does not always means good…!!!

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Anonymous June 24, 2012 at 03:38

Hmmm.

“Greedy for love”
Oxymoron or just confusion?

I don’t see how it is possible for “greed” to have anything to do with loving behavior. The two ideas would appear mutually exclusive.

This is also why many common enactments of monogamy don’t work for us; because the resulting behaviors appear borderline insane, greedy, unfair and frankly unjustified. (The continuing inequality between men and woman in many such relationships being only the tip of the iceberg.)

Let us also keep in mind, that men (having probably only good and just intentions in mind) wrote all the rules about how traditional monogamy is supposed to work. You know, “Man of the house” .. “Wife should submit and be loving, no matter”, etc. Hardly a good foundation for a, “truly loving” relationship, if you ask me.

Of course, not all modern monogamous relationships find themselves in such archaic imbalance. Then again, not all religious people actually practice the teachings of their given denomination, either. So why then do such persons adhere so avidly to such roots? Enough there for several thousand books, of which most have long since been written, I suppose.

“first nurture, then look for another [??!!]”
We’re not looking for another. Did I say we were? Why would we? Why should we? Then again, why would we reject others out of hand, should they come along? At best, that would seem simply cruel, mean and unloving. At worse, it might turn out to be the worse, ongoing mistake of our lives.

Then there’s the oft’ mentioned — but only vaguely implied by yourself thus far — idea that polyamorists do not understand, “commitment”. In simple terms, any such assertion utterly and completely indicates a complete and total misunderstanding of what the polyamory ideal actually stands for. Such an idea is in fact diametrically opposed to the very idea of polyamory. Thus, if you believe such a thing, then it is only fair to warn that you are arguing from a position of (easily forgivable) ignorance.

“imply that poly is better than mono …”
Your words, not mine.

I meant only to observe that the conceptual ideal of polyamory is more advanced or complex, compared to monogamy — because it includes complex ideas, such as love without exclusion and a goal to lessen undesirable or unnecessary discrimination. Polyamory requires more trust and much, much more communication to remain stable — even in the short term. Then again, a person is free to expand their horizons, perhaps leave entirely on solo quests and still be loved for doing so, unlike in monogamy again, for example where divorces typically descends into foul, hateful war. Surely, there has to be a reason for this to occur … when it does, of course.

Obviously, many monogamist relationships do survive long term. In my opinion, those are most often the ones involving full transparency — another core and critical component of the polyamory ideal.

“… more does not always mean good …”
I trust you were not actually intending to be funny here. I most certainly do not believe that “more complex” necessarily amounts to “better”. I would rather believe that “better” results from at least subjectively increased gains.

Indeed, I am quite certain that adding complexity to an already questionable relational foundation, could spell only trouble ahead. Perhaps this is the context from which you have are engaged in this topic? “A relationship with one person is hard enough. Forget adding a third!” [??]

Whether so or not, I would assert in general that no loving, transparent relationship should ever be “hard”, either in ideal or practical terms. Without jealously, greed, insecurity, mistrust, et cetera why, how could any such wonderful thing be, “hard”? Is it not nearly a description of heaven itself? But I digress (I think?)

And finally, “… monogamous relationship..or don’t know its value …”

A little crass, don’t you think? But I may understand the confused place you might have been coming from there. In actuality, I value my relationship(s) more than anything else in life. In fact, I believe that, “to be” is to be in relationships and that one’s relationships define the individual, while bearing witness to their very soul. If that is not of value to the human cause, then I do not know what is.

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hello July 15, 2012 at 22:19

“The idea that one can only truly love one person (or thing) at a time is just so incredibly, sad and nonsensical.”

Nobody is saying you can only love one person at a time. I’m saying who cares if you love more than one person. Tough sh%t. Do you always have to act on every desire you have?

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Bryan July 19, 2012 at 02:30

Yet another poor soul who equates the word “love” with “sexual act”.

“I’m saying who cares if you love more than one person.”

Umm.. yes. Yes you did.

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Anonymous August 10, 2012 at 05:18

well well please keep your comments
short so i can read it it…
wat do u mean by we can love each person…
just bcz u have strong desires for a person do u need to act upon it…
dont u ever feel guilty loving a second person romantically having first..how can u even think of acting on it if your first love is true..
its like i have a wife but that chick is hot enough lets try it..!!
n if u are talking about divorces and other hassles poly people are more likely to suffer…
people cannot follow monogamy that the prob of them within.therefore they start making relationships giving name as poly..whether it is ryt or not..they feel they shud support it like u poor souls so dat do not have to feel low in front of people..
god will surely help this world to find a way out.
but if you yourslf cant figure it out.no one in the world can..
good luck.

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stacey August 10, 2012 at 05:25

well well please keep your comments
short so i can read it it…
wat do u mean by we can love each person…
just bcz u have strong desires for a person do u need to act upon it…
dont u ever feel guilty loving a second person romantically having first..how can u even think of acting on it if your first love is true..
its like i have a wife but that chick is hot enough lets try it..!!
n if u are talking about divorces and other hassles poly people are more likely to suffer…
people cannot follow monogamy that the prob of them within.therefore they start making relationships giving name as poly..whether it is ryt or not..they feel they shud support it like u poor souls so dat do not have to feel low in front of people..
god will surely help this world to find a way out.
but if you yourslf cant figure it out.no one in the world can..
good luck.

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F September 19, 2012 at 06:43

I have been thinking for several years that I am most likely poly. That’s not to say that I just jump in bed with the first guy that wags his finger at me, but I am most definitely NOT the jealous type and I feel like I could easily love more than one person. I think having kids was what did it for me though…I realised that just b/c I have one daughter doesn’t mean I can’t love another…and just b/c I have 2 older daughters doesn’t mean there is no room left in my heart for my son. Extending that to other family members, I don’t love my dad less than my mom, my brother less than my sister…etc. ALL loving relationships are DIFFERENT but they all make and create and support me…in many different ways.

In my opinion, 2 people who are poly who are together, when one of them finds someone else and wants to spend lots of time with them, it just means the other person either has to find a way to be nice to them (kinda just like how you usually make friends with your partner’s friends when he invites them over to watch the game or something) OR you find times when it is convenient for your partner to spend time with that person if you really for some reason don’t get along well, like when you say to your partner “well YK I know you really like Alice, but since she’s not so much the type of person I like to hang with, you go shopping with her sunday afternoon and enjoy yourself!”.

Currently I am madly in love with a man who I am quite sure could easily be poly. I KNOW he’s had a threesome before not that that equates being poly but he is pretty open minded. But he dumped me for a girl who is FAR from open minded and is insanely jealous from what I understand. *sigh* I am more than happy to be “just friends” with him, sticking to platonic situations in public places if that is what he wants (for now…I suspect someday he’ll wake up and smell the jealousy coffee but who knows…I could be wrong) but if even that is too much for her really IMO what hope is there. Long-term IMO jealousy is pathological for a relationship. It starts as a small ember of doubt and eventually grows to bonfire proportions. I left my exH over his insanely jealous controlling attitude mostly and I am at the point with this man I adore that I am saying I really don’t care if she’s got the jealousy illness, I refuse to let ANOTHER person control who I can or can not see/spend time with, so we’re doing this.

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Vlad Dolezal September 19, 2012 at 10:10

Pretty much all I can say is – spot on. On all the points you make.

I also have no problem with people who decide to be monogamous. But I worry for them a bit if they decide to be monogamous with someone who gets extremely jealous. That never leads to good things.

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dls September 21, 2012 at 16:09

I see men wanting to do this, but not being okay with their wives doing it.

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A March 23, 2013 at 04:41

I find it funny how it seems like a lot of what you said just describes polyamory as a tool to test your love for your ‘primary partner’ – like you are just periodically testing out others to figure out if your partner is still ‘number one’. I don’t know how cool I am with that. Isn’t polyamory about ‘loving many’? What about partner number 2(or 3) etc?

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Vlad Dolezal March 27, 2013 at 09:39

This post is mainly aimed at people new to polyamory, so I focus on why polyamory doesn’t mean your relationships are any shallower than a monogamous relationship. In fact, it’s often the opposite.

That being said, I wrote this three years ago, and when I re-read it after myself today, I definitely see other things as the “main” benefits of polyamory. But hey, the above is exactly what I thought at the time!

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Bryan March 24, 2013 at 02:04

In my opinion, to even talk about, “number 1″ (or two or three) is to demonstrate a difficulty in coming to terms with the very essence of polyamory in the first place. Certainly, there are add-on terms, like “primary partner” and so on. But these are description of certain and current dynamics,which come about more for practical reasons than anything else. Never the less, I do not like such terms being used in the context of “polyamory”, because to me, they simply do not fit well with the overarching ideal.

In an effort to explain what I mean; let’s say you had a first child, to whom you would of course offer all the loving care and positive behavior you could muster. (Would that mean removing all your love from the child’s other parent, assuming they were present? Who then should be, “number one” in even this sense?) But then a second child comes along. Now there are two children. So, you now have to decide who is number one — who should receive the greater portion of your care and attention — or at least how much of your love to give one, versus the other. From the perspective of love itself, I think anyone could agree that something is not quite right with that just stated.

As we have all been taught, love knows know quantity; no boundaries. Of course, the practice of being a lover or a loving parent is not so easy to describe. Certainly, our behaviors and indeed our bodies, know much of limitations. But love is a concept. It is a word. It is the meaning one attaches to the word to describe the concept, that I feel is all important. So it is with the word, “polyamory”. Clearly, each of us has a different meaning attached to this world. However, from what I have read here, I think it fair to say that Vlad and this author may well share similar meanings, in our own thoughts.

If no one is losing, then where is the wrong? If everyone is gaining, then where is the problem? If anyone has lost, then where was the love? We are all learning.

For practical reasons if not more often for social acceptance, the most common style of relationship today functions in a completely isolated manner, where there is one to love and only one, to absolute exclusion of all others … until the relationship fails anyway (if it fails). This is nothing new. Everyone knows the, “rules” of this set-up and to most of us, the rules seem common sense.

Polyamory does not seek to break down the core values of those rules, but to expand positively on the model. It seeks, I believe, to allow for more, without necessarily searching it out and certainly not at the expense of someone we claim to love. Now I know, to many of us and especially at certain stages of life, the very idea of looking elsewhere immediately conjures up thoughts of abandonment or infidelity or whatever. Polyamory however seeks to involve more people in the circle of love without such detrimental behaviors or outcomes. If this idea seems impossible to the reader, then perhaps polyamory should left where it is; a place not to venture, lest one be somehow reduced or harmed. We each must do what makes sense to ourselves, after all.

That said, many people find it difficult to remain committed to just one person. Whilst the challenge might be just and rewards of success appreciated, they never the less deduce from the experience that being, “committed” to more than one would be more difficult, if not a contradiction in terms and therefore pure folly!

Successful polyamorists on the other hand have learned that the opposite can be true; that multiple commitments can in fact be easier, more natural — at least in the sense of being more productive and enriching of an experience, for all involved. It goes without saying however that many attempts at such a relationship dynamic have also failed, even catastrophically. Yet from these failures, in most cases, I like to believe, comes at least the opportunity of tremendous successes in self discovery and learning about others and relationships and not least, how to love. Where there is no pain, there is often no gain. This too is certainly no different in the world of failed monogamist relationships.

So we understand that not all efforts achieve their intended goals. Yet, is not the very intention that really counts? Should we not aspire to raise ourselves higher and greater standards? By this I do not mean, “superior”, for all things are relative and there is always give and take. With additional complexity comes great challenge. With rising challenge comes increased chance of failure, if not more opportunity to learn.

Of course, even the simplest of loving intentions can prove difficult to manifest int he real word. Sometimes however, the weight that our desire to love places on us can be made lighter, by simply having more loving supporters around to help. All human relationships are dynamic, some more than other and some more dynamic at times than at other times.

To me, polyamory is not about going out to find, “more”. It’s about being open to love, wherever and whenever it may come to light. It is also about believing that we deserve to be loved, wherever and whenever we are! It’s about accepting love, from whomever may be offering, if it makes sense and is fair to all involved.

Above all, in my own belief, polyamory is word; a label, intended to pin down an ideal to target, for the purposes of loving and learning to love, better and more deeply. Love itself is a journey into self-discovery. The self is always at the center of experience, no matter what we may prefer to believe.

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