Man meets woman. Man and woman marry. Man or woman brings another into their union. Society calls it cheating. Man and woman call it happiness.
Let’s fast forward to 2010. Cheating isn’t always just cheating anymore. The new-age relationship seeker wants to maintain an interesting sense of security with one partner, but also be “free” to date others and expects their mate to feel the same. It’s the classic “have your cake and eat it too” paradigm and believe it or not, some people are comfortable with this. Polyamory is growing, and growing fast.
A relationship with multiple consenting partners has been a major topic of discussion this year. People are not considering themselves polygamists but just open to “open relationships”- no titles involved. Couples are dating couples with only heterosexual sex involved. Men are introducing their mates to other men and watching love blossom between the two. Kids are growing up in households with two mommies and two daddies and never questioning it. All of this is happening in every major city and serial monogamists and all of societies “normals” are puzzled. I had the pleasure of sitting and talking with people on both sides of the spectrum to see why they feel the way they do.
“It always strikes a funny cord with me when these “sex scandals” cause such a stir. Men and women have been battling monogamy for millenniums and no matter how many laws and creeds get passed, the body and soul will do what it wants. Most mammals are not monogamous. What makes us think humans are different? Is it because we have bigger brains? Monogamy should be a choice. It should be a glorious epiphany that consumes your being when you meet the one. At least with polyamory, you are dealing with someone who had the courage to tell you the truth. Truth is the basic element of trust and relationships.”
“My personal belief is that there is a very small percentage of people who can functionally and openly participate in polyamory and open relationships. For those who find themselves unable to be faithful in a monogamous relationship, perhaps it’s a better option than lying and hurting feelings, however, it could not EVER work for me. I could not reconcile sharing the love and attention, that I believe I deserve, with ANYONE else. It’s my belief that love and commitment means giving 100% of your emotional and physical energy to one person who does the same for you. Adding other parties only thins out the percentage of the energy that you are receiving, and compiles the complications that a monogamous couple already experiences. It’s hard enough to relate to, communicate with, trust, and invest in ONE person, let alone many.”
“I believe it’s an underground norm. People engage in these types of relationships all the time but some, unfortunately, are not honest about it. It’s hard to not be possessive with someone you care about or with someone you’re sexually compatible with, but the fact of the matter is we share partners all the time. I believe in temporary monogamy. And that monogamy is very conditional. The very moments that lead to the evolution of the relationship can also pave the way for cheating and infidelity. We romanticize relationships and put them on a pedestal that they fall ever so graciously from when they are viewed realistically. Perhaps it’s because I don’t believe in long-term monogamy that I’ve had the experiences I’ve had but it just does not seem like a progressive concept when considering the evolution of sexuality and freedom. There are so many beautiful people in the world and I feel like limiting the opportunity to experience life (and maybe love) with them robs us of the chance to learn and grow and evolve.”
“‘Babe, honey or sweetheart I love you but I think in order for us to stay happy I have to see other women or men.’ As of July 2009, there are more than 500,000 polyamorous relationships. Some call it weird, but who are we to define one’s happiness? Now marriages can end up extremely dry and boring throughout the years, so indulging in poly-relationships work for some people. But I’m a strong believer that it has to be a mutual agreement, the trust factor needs to be extremely high, and it’s imperative that both parties are secure with themselves. If a couple can honestly handle these things I’m in no fashion opposed to their lifestyle. Happiness comes in all forms and if the world would spend more time promoting individual happiness opposed to conforming to traditional lifestyles we would all grow, and be more open-minded.”
So it seems that the opinions around polyamory run the spectrum, from the supportive, to the rejective but what seems to ring true for most people is that every couple is responsible for its own success. If the couple decides that they would like to try an alternative method of relating, so be it. The truth is, polyamory isn’t new. It’s just finally showing its face in our generation. But historically it has been prevalent and is easily recognized in several cultures across the globe as a sign of wealth and stature. We all know about Solomon and all of his wives, Fela Kuti and his long line of beauties, and most recently, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, arguably one of the sweetest examples of Black love, who also had an open relationship for years. But the cornerstone of most relationships is the same – to bring love and happiness to the life of your mate…or mates. If that’s being done, more power to you. In the meantime, let’s all focus on our own happiness, our own perversions, and our own left-of-center ideas that we think could make our individual lives a bit sweeter.
By Kia C.