I stumbled upon my first (romantic) polyamorous relationship when I went down the rabbit hole of two mom households and found one with a little twist. While planning to start a family, these women decided to take their donor search to the next level and expanded their family in a different way. I didn’t truly understand it and did not care to.
The second relationship was much more my early-twenties, black, lesbian speed. They were three very fashionable women who couldn’t compliment each other any more perfectly. Each of their post retweeted more than the last with each caption even more endearing. However, like many things on social media, it was an image with a less appealing truth.
At this point, I saw polyamory as most people do; something that WE don’t do and something that isn’t sustainable. Over the years and with the growing visibility of non-monogamous relationships, I’ve been exposed to too many to keep up with but enough to understand that they are as unique as monogamous relationships. Still, I did not understand the purpose of being non-monogamous, especially when monogamy is what we are taught to aspire to. But then I asked why.
Monogamy is defined by Merrian-Webster as the practice or state of having a relationship with only one partner. A practice that, thanks to the law, media, and society, has become interchangeable with the word love.
We are so psychotically, welded to this idea that monogamy means love and love means monogamy. And in the absence of monogamy, there is not love.Dan Savage, Vox
Monogamy being synonymous with love is an ideology as recent as marriage being synonymous love. Even though, traditional marriage was a union not founded through love but instead had its foundation in law as an alliance between families, for either economic or political reasons; This is the reason for the historic societal backing of monogamy, that polyamory lacks. It wasn’t until the 19th century that marriage became an act of love rather than business and by choosing to be committed to one person symbolized the validity of the relationship.
Measuring polyamorist relationships by monogamist standards is where I went wrong and when I stopped viewing monogamy as the standard I was able to fairly assess polyamory for what it is. Seeing a relationship that consists of three loving people is one that I was much more accustomed to seeing than I originally thought.
When I took the sexuality aspect out of it, I could see how a non-monogamous lifestyle could work with the right type of people. A mutual caring, respectful, attentive bond can be shared between three people and (above being the examples) have been in most friend groups. So why does adding romantic in front of “relationship” make it so unbelievable?
A common disbelief that multi-parent household structure is unhealthy for the child has put a grey cloud over the long-term sustainability of a non-monogamous relationship; a disbelief that I never understood. How many households consisted of children, parents and grandparents? Or children, parents, and adult family members? How many people have been raised parents and step parents? The phrase, “it takes a village to raise child,” did not come off of thin air. In terms of romantics, there is no harm found seeing three adults in a mutual loving, caring, and respectful relationship. Not to mention, the benefit of having a third parents present, a third perspective, an additional helping hand, and additional income.
Polyamory isn’t the lack of fulfillment but instead the expansion of it.
These are my thoughts on polyamory. What are yours?