When One Is Not Enough
For the majority of the population, monogamy is the only style of relationship they’ve seen, experienced, or desired, but there is another choice that a growing number of people have made. Polyamory can be a healthy, deeply satisfying, ethical alternative to monogamy and may be a more natural relationship style for many people who find monogamy to be
difficult. Some people who have heard of polyamory mistakenly believe it is polygamy, a marriage between one man and several wives, or that its simply a promiscuous lifestyle. In addition to the variety of reasons that some people are non-monogamous, it makes sense from an anthropological standpoint. A healthy, non-monogamous lifestyle allows people to explore different facets of themselves, develop a strong sense of self, and find a close-knit community of others who value radical honesty.
Polyamory, also called “ethical non-monogamy”, translates into the words “many loves”, and means that a person has more than one romantic partner. Sometimes its easier to understand a concept by defining what it isn’t. Polyamory isn’t cheating, since its focus is on honesty and full disclosure, requiring all parties to be aware of and consenting to other relationships. Proponents of non-monogamy believe in loving, committed relationships, just as monogamous people do, but they don’t believe that relationships equate exclusivity or possession. In our culture there are strong societal influences that inculcate us to be monogamous. People are taught that if there is something lacking in a current partner they need to end that relationship before partnering with someone new. This is called serial monogamy. Although non-monogamous behavior is prevalent among monogamous individuals, it generally isn’t discussed openly. Polyamory puts forth that people aren’t required to choose one relationship over another and this is never done in a secretive manner.
Given how challenging a relationship with...