Since same-sex marriage has been made legal in America thanks to a Supreme Court ruling on June 26, the nation is abuzz with talk of “non-traditional” relationships and marriages. Polyamory, or the consensual romantic and/or sexual involvement with more than one partner, is a form of non-traditional relationships.
Some have long beleived the legal acceptance of same-sex marriage would lead to other forms of non-traditional marriage and relationships, such as Polyamory. The nuclear family and traditional Western marriage is a relatively new social development for humans, as anyone who has taken a cultural anthropology class would know. Polyamory and other variations are actively accepted in other parts of the world and in certain religions. People fear having open and honest discussion about other kinds of relationships will degrade traditional marriages somehow. I argue this is not the case and other forms of relationships need to be discussed.
Polyamory is not the same as polygamy, or the marriage of multiple women to one man, or its counterpart polyandry, where a woman marries multiple men. Polyamory has no sexual orientation requirement and is not related to the actual act of marriage. Religions such as Islam and some sects of Judeo-Christian religions actively practice polygamy in India and other areas of the world, according to religioustollerance.org. In the United States, marrying more than one person at a time (called bigamy) is illegal but there are no laws regarding multiple non-marital relationships as long as all parties are legally able to consent.
I am in a polyamorous relationship with an agender person and a girl. This is different from cheating as all parties are fully aware and in approval of all members of the relationship. I did, in fact, have a rather emotional talk with both of them 2 a.m. one time to ask for permission to date my boyfriend and my established girlfriend, as I had fallen deeply in love again but would not pursue a relationship if she was not in approval. After a lot of panicking for no reason, my girlfriend accepted my then soon-to-be boyfriend with open arms, and everyone cried happy tears. They’re in a very close platonic relationship and ever call each other boyfriend and girlfriend.
I have to say my triangle, as we call it, is probably better than your average couple. Why, you might ask? All relationships, romantic or not, are going to have arguements and misunderstandings. A triangle pretty much guarantees a mediator. If two parties are in disagreement, the third party can talk to the other parties separately to determine the real cause of negative feelings and then coax the two to reconcile and work to be better people. In this setup, no one person can have undue control over another. There are emotional protections from mistreatment and it is a lot easier to have the emotional support you need.
If one partner is burned out from stress and cannot emotionally support the other, there is always a third person. Taking on a partner’s emotional burdens is no longer so taxing because three people are sharing the same burden and can support each other in the act of supporting the third person. In a functioning polyamorous relationship, you do not split your love, you only add to it.
If you are thinking about starting a polyamorous relationship, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If you have relationship problems already, attempting to add a third person could destroy your pre-existing relationship, regardless of the stabilizing effect polyamory may have on healthy relationships. You sould also carefully manage your time or you will run into the problem of one partner feeling neglected. If you or your partner is already the jealous type, adding another person will only intensify the issue.
If you’ve decided you want to start a polyamorous relationship, communication is key. You and your partner need to discuss boundaries such as how much communication they want with a third partner and how they expect to be treated by both you and the third partner after the relationship has started.
Personally, I have found polyamory to be a fulfilling experience and would like to encourage discussion about this form of love.