A polyamorous relationship is a type of relationship where one or both partners are allowed to love more than one person. The word “Polyamory” is derived from two Greek words; “Poly”, which means many or several, and “Amor”, which means love.
In these relationships, you are allowed to develop meaningful and intimate relationships with other people besides your partner, but after they have given their consent. Most people who practice it will describe it as the practice of consensual, ethical and responsible non-monogamous relationship.
Such people believe that you can be in a relationship with two or more people without jealousy coming into play. In addition, they do not hold the view that for you to have a meaningful, committed and loving relationship, you have to be sexually and relationally exclusive. It is safe to assume that the ideas and philosophies of polyamory are closely similar to those of polygamy.
Today, however, the term is used as an umbrella by people who indulge in other forms of non-exclusive, or multi-partner relationships. It is evident that polyamorous people have different philosophical ideas as compared to monogamous people. If you fall into the category of the latter, you are probably asking yourself, “But how does it really work?” Well, it all boils down to values.
First, unlike monogamous people, Polyamorists define fidelity as a commitment to promises and agreements made and not sexual exclusivity. Therefore, a polyamorous individual is at liberty to have multiple partners, with each relationship having different degrees of intensity, closeness and commitment. A breach of fidelity only occurs when the relationships have not been disclosed.
There are no widely accepted standards for polyamory. Therefore, the success of these types of relationships is predicated on the terms and conditions negotiated by the partners. The individuals involved also have to clearly spell out that their relationship is an ongoing process of honesty, openness and respect.
However, since most times these standards don’t hold, Polyamorists will turn to pragmatism. They will accept that promises and vows might be broken; therefore, it is important for them to communicate when there has been a breach of trust so that they can mend the relationship.
Trust, honesty, dignity and respect is portrayed only when both partners come clean about all other relationships they are involved in. The partner’s partners are supposed to be accommodated as though they were family members, and it should not seem as if they are being tolerated. Oftentimes, the idea of “don’t ask don’t tell” is considered to be a less than ideal model in this type of relationship.
To most people, the idea of a polyamorous relationship sounds like some sort of utopia. They think that being in such a relationship would pave the way for them to have more partners, endless sex, idolization and unending attention. However, the fundamental question is, do these relationships really work? The truth is, more often than not, polyamory doesn’t work.
1. Jealousy and Self-Pride
Jealousy and self-esteem issues cannot be avoided in any kind of relationship. Polyamorists tend to think that they have control over their feelings, but this is never the case. By and large, people never want to be seen as jealous because they think it portrays them as insecure.
However, jealousy is an emotion just like any other type of emotion. It is normal for you to feel jealous when your partner starts seeing someone else. And even if that was not the case, it is highly unlikely that you will not be worried when your partner spends more time with someone else than they do with you.
When you are dating someone who is seeing someone else, your inner sense of pride becomes vulnerable. Allowing this to happen could mean that you have opened Pandora’s Box; your partner could take advantage of your naivety. You could also end up losing the respect of the people close to you.
Most people who enter a polyamorous relationship tend to think that they are going to be equal to their partners. This, however, is never the case. One partner could find it easier to hook up with other people as compared to the other partner. This brings about an imbalance, and it signifies the beginning of trouble.
You can say that you will mitigate the discrepancies by agreeing on when and how to start dating other people. But who’s to say that your partner will honor their vows or keep their promises?
3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Polyamorists often have multiple sexual partners, while in a relationship with one partner. This makes them susceptible to contracting, and spreading sexually transmitted diseases if they engage in unprotected sex. With cases of STD infections on the rise, living a polyamorous lifestyle might make you live in fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. And in the event that you do end up with an STD, it could spell out doom for your relationship.
An unwanted pregnancy can cause a strain in any relationship, but specifically when multiple partners are involved. Many questions will arise as a result; how do you deal with your partner becoming pregnant by someone else, or how do you deal with your partner impregnating someone else? A man could suffer extreme psychological and emotional pain when they realize their partner is carrying someone else’s child. A pregnancy can have serious complexities that could force the partners to terminate their relationship.
5. Emotions Get Involved
Emotions can’t be controlled. Thinking that you can control your emotion is a farfetched notion. And even if you could control your emotions, it doesn’t mean that your partner is capable of doing the exact same thing. Your partner could fall deeply in love with someone else. Also, you could fall deeply in love with someone else as well. What then becomes of your relationship?