Polygamy, Polyamory, and Society
In my opinion, I have too many friends that are pointlessly heartbroken. First off, I feel the need to establish what exactly I’m talking about. Predominately, I’m talking about polyamory, which is not the same thing as polygamy. Poly means multiple, “gamy” refers to marriage, compared to “amory”, which means loves. Multiple marriages verus multiple loves.
When people hear the term polygamy, those who aren’t totally clueless think only of the occasional news reports surrounding select polygamous Mormon communities. Generally, this type of polygamy is patriarchal, or male-centered. In the traditional Mormon faith, it was encouraged for a man to take at least three wives. Most of the time, the brides chosen were underage. Sometimes they were even related to the groom. Almost all the time they had, and continue to have no say in the marriage.
The main role of women in these marriages is to support her husband, run a household with the other wives, and have as many children as possible. I do not agree with this. The similarities between polygamy and polyamory end at “poly”. Most people assume they’re the same thing. This assumption is ridiculously far from the case. The main difference between the two lifestyles is that polyamorous people are free, not to be caged against their will.
They date whom they want, pursuing multiple relationships simultaneously. This is different from cheating in that all involved parties are aware and comfortable with what’s going on. Some polyamorous incorporate fidelity, or commitment into the relationship, although this is uncommon. Most people involved in polyamorous lifestyles don’t believe in the same standards of commitment that are idealized by society. Instead, honesty and trust are key factors, which lets each individual experience complete romantic, emotional, and sexual freedom. I believe in the idea of polyamory, because to me it’s completely logical.
Think about it for a second. We, as animals, are not programmed to choose one mate and spend the rest of our existence with them, faithfully. It’s not realistic. I don’t believe you should have to subtract someone you love from your life instead of adding someone to it. Based on this, I feel that exclusively monogamous relationships (that is two people in a relationship who are committed to each other) are impractical and against nature.
You don’t have the right to own or rule over another person’s life, nor choose their decisions for them. A significant deterrent in the appeal of polyamory is jealousy. Realistically, jealously is a petty, pointless emotion that serves no purpose other than to cause harm. For the most part, jealousy stems from greed or one’s own insecurities about themselves or their life. I feel that jealousy is something that is to be overcome. Sadly, because monogamy has been so normalized in our society, most people are conflicted and critical of the idea of loving more than one person at once.
I honestly believe the world would be more productive if polyamory and monogamy switched roles. There would be no burden of numerous Twilight books; they could end with the second book, and Bella could live a full and satisfying life with her two supernatural boyfriends, which would bypass the events of the next two novels. There truly is no limit on how polyamorous relationships work. There could be 3 people who all love each other equally. There could be a woman with a boyfriend who has another girlfriend, or vice versa.
There could be two women together who each have partners of their own: there’s no real limit on what is possible, although the idea probably takes some getting used to. Love is not something that should be lost for no reason. Love is not a pie; the more slices there are does not mean each slice contains less. It is one of my greatest hopes that polyamory will eventually be accepted in society, and not looked down upon and avoided because of misinformation.