Polyamory or Monogamy Which One Is For You? Polyamory means having simultaneous close emotional and possibly sexual relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned. The growing practice of polyamory in the United States indicates a significant shift in the way marriage and intimate relationships have evolved over the past few decades. For some individuals, monogamy could be a better choice and for others, polyamory may be a better fit. How do you know which one is best for you? If you’re not sure what would work for you, I highly suggest you find out sooner rather than later, especially before you get involved in a committed relationship as changing your mind from monogamy to nonmonogamy without a discussion with your primary partner can be deemed an infidelity. The emphasis in relationships is openness, caring, and mutual consent. Being attracted to what another person might offer needn’t be an irreversible disintegration of the relationship. Learning how to have a dialogue about possibly opening up your relationship can go far in keeping your relationship truthful, transparent, and trusting.
As a Marriage Counselor, working with all types of couples, monogamous and nonmonogamous, I come across individuals who are in monogamous relationships where one partner makes a unilateral decision to open up their marriage. And because that partner didn’t make his/her intentions explicit an infidelity has occurred. In Affair Recovery, learning how to talk about possibly opening up your marriage is an option that could be considered. See my blog: https://couplescounselorsandiego.com/relationships/id-like-open-marriage-conversation/
As a Marriage Counselor consensual non-monogamy and the New Monogamy is the preferred term in the academic world and is being talked about in Marital Therapy in my office as well as in other innovative clinicians’ offices throughout the country. What I mean is, while serial monogamy is popular, lifelong monogamy is obsolete and whether we like it or not, polyamory is catching on. Author Deborah Anapol gives pertinent information from her book “Love Without Limits.” see blog article https://couplescounselorsandiego.com/relationships/polyamory-monogamy-one/
It’s extremely rare these days to find someone who has had only one sexual partner or “significant other” throughout his or her life. There are definitely some people who are far better off taking it one person at a time, and then there are those who can have multiple partners sequentially or at the same time. There are those who practice polyamory with ingenuity and vulnerability and those who justify what they refer to as polyamory but is really self-deception and lack of integrity by indulging in multiple affairs as a means of hedonism.
What’s important is not so much the Glamour of multi-partner relating as it is allowing love to dictate the form rather than attempting to force love into whatever mold the mind has decided is right. Polyamory is less about how many people you are having sex with or feeling love for than it is about allowing love, not lust, to lead you into whatever form is appropriate.
There are pros and cons to both polyamory and monogamy but the main point is that it is not a question whether it’s possible to have one partner or two or several or none at all but rather a question of whether to allow love to lead and surrender to the direction that love chooses rather than surrendering to cultural conditioning, peer pressure, social censure, or unruly emotions.
When love, not lust, is freed from restrictions dictated by law and society it very often veers from the monogamous standard our culture has sought to enforce. Understanding and educating yourself about polyamory opens up discussion about the different realms of open relationships and multi-partnering. Some people find the aspect of allowing love to lead unfamiliar and often difficult to comprehend at first. Obtaining the information you need about the subject will help you gain better understanding and perspective that may be helpful to you in making an informed decision about alternatives to monogamy and the nuclear family. In this day the incidence of polyamory is far higher than anyone suspects as people keep their private lives private.
Whether working with Monogamous Couples or Polyamorists I have no position on whether people, in general, should be monogamous or not. That fact is that it is very rare to find anyone who has had only one sexual partner for his or her entire life. Monogamy works for some people and does not for others. It’s a matter of what works for you and your relationship. Having a dialogue about what you want in your relationship is a start. In Couples Counseling, I help Couples initiate conversation that may seem difficult and make them feel vulnerable, as talking about what you want sexually is unfamiliar and awkward to some. As a Marriage Counselor, I characterize my position on polyamory as pro-choice rather than antimonogamy and have no position on whether people in general “should” be monogamous or not. Individuals need to do what is right for them. There is no judgment or criticism in however you choose to relate in your relationship.
What works for one person may not be the same for all people or even for the same person in different stages of their life.
For more information on polyamory and if it is suited for you and your relationship please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 or email me at Sarah@CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com