How Do Polyamory and Polygamy Work? All The Inside Dirt On Poly Relationships
The more the merrier: is polyamory the new black?
There has been a lot of buzz in the media lately about polygamy, especially since Sister Wives, the reality show about a man with three wives (and engaged to a fourth) and loads of kids, recently aired on TLC. The negative comments surrounding the show’s premise have been flying ever since. Women being seen taking care of multiple children while their husbands are out “courting” new lady loves to bring into their ever expanding brood has disgusted some and intrigued others. The gender bias of the man being able to sleep with several women at once but the women remaining faithful to one man has also left a bitter taste in many people’s mouths. What so many people don’t realize, however, is that there is a sexy alternative to both monogamy and polygamy.
Polyamory is defined from the Greek root, poly, meaning several or many, and the Latin root, amor, meaning love. It is the practice, desire or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
In other words, the more, the merrier.
“Polyamory is a practice of mutual non-exclusivity. It represents mutual options. But, it’s not necessary that those options are acted upon,” states artist and writer, Ben Barnett, 41, who engages in polyamorous relationships.
Understanding polyamory is based upon three principles that Barnett believes are essential for a healthy and happy polyamorous relationship.
“…Discretion, honesty and safety…safety should probably be priority number one,” he believes.
These principles really do encompass how you would have to engage with one another in order to be in a functioning polyamorous relationship, because–let’s be honest–jealousy, deception and indiscretion wouldn’t positively impact any relationship.
Discretion: In any relationship, flirting should be kept to a minimum and discreet when possible in straight relationships. So, it only makes sense that when involved in polyamorous relationships, sleeping with other people and dating other people should be done discreetly. It shows respect for everyone involved that you aren’t flaunting your new favorite flavor of the week.
Honesty: All relationships (both platonic and romantic) could use a heaping dose of honesty. We could all start being more honest with ourselves, more accepting of our own flaws and more accepting of others. Whether you are in a monogamous relationship, or daring enough to try a polyamorous one, honesty is the key to any happy union. Without honesty, there is no trust, and without trust, you cannot sustain a healthy relationship, whether it’s you plus one or you plus five.
Safety: Just as you have to be careful even when you are in an exclusive romantic relationship with one person, take even extra care to protect yourself when you are polyamorous. Use protection every time and be open and honest with your partners about your sexual past and your current open relationship.
But what about jealousy? Read on…