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    Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    created by Lynsey 2436 days 19 hours 31 minutes ago

    Category: Politics

    Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    When I turned eighteen, I began hearing a term I'd never heard before: polyamory. I wasn't sure if it was because I moved to the west coast or because it was catching on in society as quickly as bisexuality did, but either way it had me fascinated. How could it possibly work? Why didn't partners get jealous? Was it an appropriate lifestyle choice, or just a glorified excuse for cheating?

    I've run into several polyamorous couples now, and they've all left me with a different opinion. For one couple, it worked perfectly. For another, it was the husband's way of getting away with sleeping with other women. For me, it was all far too confusing to figure out.

    To clarify, polyamory is not strictly sexual, a common misconception. Those people are called swingers, not polyamorous. Also, having a girlfriend on the side is not being polyamorous. In a relationship involving polyamory, all partners know about each other, as the relationship is a romantic one. The technical term for sleeping with other people behind your partner's back is "cheating."

    The common argument against it I've heard is that polyamory is degrading to women. Many people confuse polyamory with the polygamist cults pictured in the media, where one man marries 20 different women. Polyamory is actually vastly different. The couples I've seen discuss everything together, from the wife's new boyfriend to the husband's new girlfriend. One couple actually both dated the new girlfriend, and had a strange sort of triangle going on. It worked for them, so cool. Personally, I'm the jealous type, and I know myself well enough to know I could never make it work.

    My question is, what is your take on polyamory? Is it a different lifestyle choice, or is it a glorified excuse to cheat on your partner? Could you ever partake in a polyamorous relationship? Do you think it's morally wrong to try to love two people at once? If your significant other were to tell you they wanted to try polyamory, how would you respond?

    I get that this is kind of a tough question, but I hope some of you are brave enough to try. I look forward to any replies!

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    Personally, I have no problem with it. They are not putting anyone in danger by "loving" more than one person. Like you, I would not be able to be in a polyamorous relationship. I've never been a jealous person, but I like being in committed and faithful relationship. I don't want my jealousy to be tested.

    Honestly, I don't think there is only ONE person out there for everyone. It's just about time and place. You might find a "true love" in Arizona and refuse to believe that there could be anyone better... until you meet someone better in New York.

    If everyone involved is able to handle the relationship(s), then it should be fine. Problem is, as much as people say they are "strong enough" to handle it, a lot of them really aren't. Just like that couple you mentioned where the man used it as an excuse. The woman might just be agreeing to it just because she is too ashamed to admit that she is being cheated on. There is a sort of "shame" attached to being cheated on. Although the one being cheated on has done nothing wrong, they may feel like they have because their partner isn't faithful.

    On the polygamy topic, I wrote my Senior Paper about that and I was completely against Polygamy because of the FLDS. Uncles were getting married to their nieces. Incest was being committed and there are now many dead newborn graves in Utah and possibly other states. After being with a Muslim and reading a few of WindMarkBob's forums, I am more open to the idea of Polygamy. If all parties involved consent to it and no incestual crimes are happening, then I have nothing against it. Even while I was writing that paper (in which I was forced to choose a side), I went back and forth with which paper I would turn in. I wrote two papers but only turned in one.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    Wow. Deep, deep topic. There's a lot a person could say here.

    I know there are others who are going to bring this up...but it's like animals in the wild...they usually have several different mates at once to reproduce as much as possible. Though, being as the world is overpopulated, I don't think a guy will need 3 women to bring him his offspring.

    It really depends on the couple. I think it's an antiquated principle....after all, whatever happened to staying faithful to one person? Is that such a pipe dream?

    Besides, if someone is not faithful to one spouse, why would they be faithful to the other?
    And there's always the component of jealousy. It could go terribly wrong.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    One of my favorite shows "Big Love" ended in January. I always asked myself what would I do if I had a husband who wanted to try polygamy.

    If a person is consciously practicing what they think to be a vital part in their religion or purpose for their family's well being, without feeling stifled or oppressed, then it is their choice. Who would I be to mess with their bliss and sense of duty. I think I would even see the beauty in a polygamous relationship considering I try to find the good aspects in all things in life.

    But don't get me wrong, I find duty and bliss, while fulfilling to be apart from a loving connection or spiritual love. Aside from the cults, which to me sometimes use religion as an excuse, for socially organized institutions which oppress women, I think that a plygamous relationship would have to be without that spiritually connected love.

    I think a person cannot be deeply involved with more than one person at a time. I guess they will have to split their heart. Not so much a bad thing because what if a split heart means making a better impact on many people's lives? What if the man supports 5 women financially and loves each one just a little, enough to make them have a happy lifestyle?

    People that believe in monogamy are not necessarily deeply connected in love but their chances of doing so are larger because their heart is not split. From a character or essence point of view my husband and I find bliss in our fortitude to not cheat and desire to not want anyone else. Well at least for now, because we should never say never.

    As for the cheating I guess at the end of the day it is a way to get more than one women but it is only oppressive when it hurts the other women.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    To me, polyamory is glorified cheating. Lets see: girlfriend has another new boyfriend, boyfriend has another new girlfriend, and let the cheatfest commence. Especially in a marriage situation. I said my vows to that one individual, not the numerous others my partner is choosing to bring into OUR relationship. Guys sometimes do in fact choose to joke about having two girlfriends, or a wife and mistress. When you are honestly thinking about adding someone else into your relationship, that is overstepping some major personal barriers. I could never, would never be accepting to or agree with polyamory. Its against my moral code, and to me its just all around wrong.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    I think it is immoral all together. Done!

    But... if they who are involved and don't have a problem with it then it is fine! I would never take part in such.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    Wow. Personally for me, I would never participate in this kind of relationship. It would just be too weird. I have a really hard time thinking about how some people are okay with this. I would love to sit down and talk to someone who was in this kind of relationship. It would be very interesting to hear what they have to say!

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    I'm a little conflicted on the subject of polyamory. I don't have any moral issues with it, though. I prefer to adopt the "live and let live" posture.

    But, is it cheating? I would say no.

    To me, cheating is stepping outside the agreed upon boundaries of a relationship.

    For some couples, (mainly religious types) watching porn could be considered cheating. Flirting could be considered cheating. Or, maybe the line is physical contact.

    It all comes down to the people involved in the relationship, and what they're comfortable with.

    I actually talked to a guy who explained to me that, he and his wife were having issues because he was in the military, and while he was away, they would both cheat on each other.

    When he'd return, they'd both be all pissed off. He said they sat down to have the divorce conversation, but neither really wanted to split. So, they chose a polyamorous relationship as a way to stay together.

    They have rules: If she wants to fool around with someone outside the relationship, he has to meet them first, and give it his blessing. (and vice versa) He said it's not so much a jealousy thing, but he wants to make sure she's safe.

    I don't know if most people are cut out for that, (or myself, frankly) but it seemed to be working out okay for them.

    Who am I to judge?

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    I see it as their choice. Every relationship is different and it's not up to me to tell them whether it's right or wrong. Some people really don't have sexual possessiveness, and as long as you aren't breaking laws or hurting someone I say do what you want to feel happy. You don't know what vows they said during marriage or boundaries they set when a couple got together.

    Now, for me it would be impossible. Like some others above I am a jealous person and don't want anyone else in the relationship but me and my man. I say up front if anyone else gets involved with my partner it's cheating and see it as the end of our relationship.

    Will that change one day? Probably never, but maybe I have an accident in which I can't do physical love and give my mate permission to find someone to help them. Most unlikely, but one never knows.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    For me? No, I don't want to have a polygamous marriage. That'd be weird, for me.

    For other people? Honestly, I don't care. Marry six women, marry twelve women, marry a goat, a monkey and a six-headed dog, for all I care (though I imagine it'd be awkward to take the last couple on a group date). It's really not up to me what people love and how many people, people love. So long as they're not forcing their ideals on me, then you go right ahead and have cute six-headed dog/goat/monkey babies.

    Is it cheating? No. Cheating, like you said, is sneaking around behind your partner's back and seeing someone else. So long as both partners know what's going on, there's no cheating going on.

    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    I don't think Polyamory could be considered glorified cheating as the very definition of Polyamory states that any relationships are with the consent of all involved.
    I have no problems with it. On a biological, we are wired to be attracted to more than one person, at least on a sexual level. This is socially unacceptable, so we suppress these urges (or try to anyway). Polyamory, as you mentioned, is not strictly sexual and deals with relationships. Humans aren't wired biologically or mentally to only be in a relationship with one person either and it's natural to be attracted to multiple people.

    When we are significantly younger, it's "cute" to have crushes on or be crushed on by two or more people. As we get older, it becomes, once again, socially unacceptable. We're told that we have to pick one or the other. It's a decision that agonizes some and one is finally made, it's one were someone is going to end up hurt. The funny thing is, until some adult opens his or her mouth, more often than not, the kids are doing an okay dealing with the relationships on an emotional level. Is the love the young experiences as 'significant' as love between older people? Regardless of your personal opinion, the fact is that young kids do have polyamorous relationships or relationships bubbling on the edge of polyamory. As we grow older however, we quickly 'learn' to suppress these emotions from society and to outwardly appear to have interest in only one partner at a time.

    As far as jealousy goes, I think that there is a certain level of jealous, though all those involved know how to handle their jealous better than others. Further, their is jealously even in a monogamous relationship; who's to say that any jealousy that stems from a polyamorous relationship isn't similar?

    Like all ideas that go against the grain of normality, I think that there will be a shift in thought and polyamory will become socially acceptable as older generations die and newer ones crop up.


    Re: Polyamory: Lifestyle Choice or Glorified Cheating?

    If you actually want to LEARN what "ethical non-monogamy" is, whether you think you could be a part of it or not, then here's an excellent "primer" for you:

    If you don't want to learn, then bite your effin' tongues, or acknowledge that you don't know a damned thing about it, but your opinion should be valuable because...(fill in the blank)

    Polygamy entails 1) Polygyny 2) Polyandry and 3) Polygynandry, or Group Marriage. Come on, people, at least try to do a little research every once in awhile.