We’re taught that love happens on a standard timeline. You date a few different people, find The One and then settle down for life. While this might work for some people, this isn’t the only route available. While some people might connect with the monogamous lifestyle, a growing number of people are exploring the possibility that there could be more than just The One.
The practice of polyamory still feels very taboo. Perhaps because we don’t talk about it openly and because there are so many myths about polyamorous relationships circulating today. In this article, we’re going to look at some of these most common myths and why they are so wrong.
According to a 2020 YouGov poll, nearly a third of millennials said that their ideal relationship was non-monogamous in some way. There is clearly an appetite for approaching relationships in a different way and allowing love to take the lead. Let’s explore some of the polyamory myths that would be better off left in 2020.
There is the misconception that being polyamorous is all about being able to have sex with multiple people. But just like monogamous relationships aren’t just about sex, neither are polyamorous ones.
While some people might discover polyamory through an increased sexual appetite, there are others who find themselves there for the exact opposite reasons. Those who identify as asexual may be more comfortable in a polyamorous relationship as it means that they can be celibate without forcing their romantic partner to also be celibate.
Polyamory is not about having permission to cheat on your partner. It’s not just a kinder way to sleep around. Traditional relationships dictate that we pick one person and then devote all of our time and attention to making them happy. But if you’ve ever been so busy in your life that you struggle to fit in quality time with one partner, now imagine you have to make time for more than one person.
Polyamory is in many ways a greater commitment, as you are taking on the emotional toll of more than one person’s feelings. But in some ways, it can relieve some of the pressure of a monogamous relationship.
There is no doubt that jealousy plays a role in polyamorous relationships. But none more so than with a monogamous relationship. The difference is in how this jealousy is handled. In a monogamous relationship, jealousy is something you are taught to handle on your own. It’s something that only you can work through. But in a polyamorous relationship, jealousy is approached with more openness and curiosity.
When you can get these feelings out in the open, it’s a lot easier to explore why you are feeling left out. Some people enter polyamorous relationships and later discover that it isn’t for them. But some people prefer being able to share their attention between multiple people far more than devoting all of their time to one person.
Group sex can happen in polyamorous relationships, but it isn’t the endgame. And when group sex does happen, it isn’t the passion-fuelled romp you might be expecting. Some throuples will engage in group sex on occasion, but it is more likely to be a restrained affair than something inspired by a porn. Sex with multiple people at once is not the standard, nor is it expected of all polyamorous groups.
Polyamorous couples need to be more safe sex aware than monogamous couples. And in many ways, they might be even less likely to pass on infections. In a monogamous couple, if one party cheats, they are much less likely to seek treatment due to the fear of getting caught. But in a polyamorous relationship, individuals know they are sleeping with someone who is sleeping with someone else, so the need for regular testing, openness and honesty is even more pressing.
Cohabitation and commitment don’t go hand in hand. You can be committed to someone you don’t live with. And marriage isn’t the only way to commit. Some people approach polyamory as a way to be more realistic about how love and relationships work. If they know that being with just one person for the rest of their life isn’t a realistic life goal, they can adjust the playing field instead of trying to adapt themselves to the game.
Polyamorous people are often framed as deficient. People assume that they lack emotional attachment and the reason they seek out multiple partners is to conceal this lack of attachment. Make no mistakes, polyamorous people form attachments to all of their partners. Rather than thinking of love as a finite resource, polyamorous practitioners think of love in terms of something that can be activated. So when you add an extra partner into the mix, you aren’t sharing finite love between two people, you are activating your capacity to love in abundance. So the polyamorous aren’t hiding a lack of emotional attachment by sharing their attention and love between multiple partners, they are making space in their life for even more love and attachment. And just like in any other relationship, there is the capacity for heartache, broken trust and betrayal.
Actually, no. In a polyamorous relationship, it’s more common for all parties to know who is involved. While an open relationship is more about being able to have a sexual relationship with people outside of a monogamous relationship.
The key thing to remember about polyamory is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It is adaptable and adjustable to your needs, provided those in the relationship consent to the terms. It allows you to love who you want, how you want, and for as long as you want.
As attitudes towards polyamory become more relaxed, we could start to see more couples exploring this new territory.