I am evolving. The more I live each day, the more I realize that love has limitless potential and wider expressions than what’s presented as the social norm: monogamous relationships. I’ve realized that I’m capable of loving many people, but all in different ways. I love some more deeply than others. Some are strictly lovers, and I appreciate the physical pleasure that they bring into my life. Others are good friends, and I appreciate the companionship that they offer my journey. And others are both, making them prime candidates for life partnership, which requires the deepest, most unconditional love. At this point in my life, I feel more supported, loved, and appreciated than ever by the men in my life. All of them are aware that I’m seeing other people, but more importantly, they know that I’ve been questioning whether or not monogamy really is the right path for me.

The truth is that I battle with non-monogamy. I like the concept of polyamory, intellectually, as it’s a transparent answer to most humans’ tendencies to be non-monogamous and a valid experience of love. But I’m also wary of its longevity in my personal life, in the same way that I feel about monogamous relationships. At times I feel monogamous, like my heart was made to romantically revolve around one individual and nothing else matters. At times I feel polyamorous, like I want to openly have one life partner but many lovers.

Most of my women friends lean to the monogamous side, and reply with confusion when I genuinely say that I wouldn’t mind having a long-term open relationship. Personally, I don’t equate monogamy with partnership, as monogamy is one type of commitment and one of my lower priorities when it comes to a long-term relationship. I’m more concerned with knowing that my life partner is my best friend, protector, and confidant. I want there to be a space in our relationship for the acknowledgement of outside attractions, and if we desire, the permission to act upon those desires.

But I’ve noticed that many women have a sincere fear of their partner leaving them for another. And while they might be interested in exploring a relationship with someone else, they’ll dismiss that desire in exchange for their partner not receiving the freedom to act upon similar interests. I find that polyamory is often discussed as a “man’s dream” in women’s circles, dismissing the advantages and pleasures that it also offers women. There are so many women who have closed themselves to the idea of more than one man or woman committed to loving, supporting, and pleasuring them in life, despite the fact that it has historically benefited us more in terms of relationship balance and life fulfillment.

These are some of the thoughts that have been on my mind for quite some time. But I am not advocating polyamory over monogamy or vice versa. I simply want to have a conversation that goes without popular stereotypes and misunderstandings of both lifestyles. Monogamy has its benefits, as does polyamory. And both have disadvantages as well. But I do find it interesting that the only type of relationship that most people consider from childhood is a monogamous one. It’s not the only way.

What are your thoughts on monogamous versus polyamorous love? How do you imagine long-term partnership? And where do you rank monogamy or polyamory on your list of priorities? Speak on it.

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  • Timcampi

    Wow, so everyone’s just gonna assume polyamory is about sex and monogamy is clearly about building a strong relationship? I don’t think that’s how it works… Like at all. Polyamory can be something cleverly disguised as a close friendship. Intimacy does not always mean conjoined loins.

    But even if it is, what’s the problem? I mean it worked for the bonobos and we’re really not that different.

    • African Mami

      @ Timcampi,

      Girrrrrrrl what in the world is a bonobos?! Or are they a special species of the humankind?!

  • Trini

    It may very well be that Im just unsufferably naive but I cant even BEGIN to wrap my brain around polyamory. The whole idea completely confounds me! I read most of the comments in hopes of some explanation and found none. I dont think Im capable of the mental and emotional acrobatics required for such a thing!

    But I will say this, I certainly understand the motive behind polyamory. Its damn near impossible to find someone who can give you even half of the things you need. I swear celibacy is looking better and better EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

    • MarloweOverShakespeare

      “Celibacy is looking better and better EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!”

      Second this to the tenth power square..

    • Vonna B

      Third….I agree as well. Have we completely given up on the concept of a one on one relationship or are we just too lazy to put in the effort to make this type of relationship work anymore?
      I weep for our future…hell I weep now

    • Trini

      @VonnaB

      “I weep for our future…hell I weep now.”

      I was thinking the same thing reading this article….and most of the comments.

    • SAA

      @Trini- no you’re not naive for not being able to wrap your mind around it.

      @Vonna B- I do not weep but can only shake my head in amazement and slight disgust. I definitely believe its a laziness that stems from people being less socialized as we are now able to live our lives from behind a computer/ cell phone screen and not interact with anyone on a personal level. Platforms like twitter and facebook give people an over-inflated sense of ego and importance and the feelings of others take second road to that individuals wants and desires.
      I think the author was trying to speak to polyamorous relationships but it came out sounding more like an open-relationship. Based on her experiences it doesn’t sound like she’s had either of those but rather she’s just sleeping with whomever her heart desires…which is fine I guess but it’s not an open relationship or polyamory.

      Arielle said something that was very curious to me though;
      *”There are so many women who have closed themselves to the idea of more than one man or woman committed to loving, supporting, and pleasuring them in life, despite the fact that it has historically benefited us more in terms of relationship balance and life fulfillment.”* Thats a really bold claim.

    • Whatever

      @ Trini

      It sure is! 3 years celibate.

    • Trini

      @Whatever

      BRAVO!!!

      Come to think of it, I’d love to read an article about your experience with that so far! You should write one!

  • Monogamy is learned behavior, I’ll admit that. It’s not natural to only want to be with one person. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. Self control is something that we all have to learn. Most of us want one person that we can love unconditionally and we don’t want to share. I don’t care how “acceptable” open relationships become. I’m not down. If I love someone I’m not sharing. If I’m willing to share, you’re not that important to me.

    http://www.RealityUnscripted.com
    @Runscripted

  • nathan

    i’ve found this website to be particularly useful in sorting out my thoughts and feelings on non-monogamy. i thought you might enjoy it too. (of course i’m a bit biased as its written by my wife : ) seriously though, we’ve explored many of the edges, distinctions and issues you start to raise above, and the site is our contribution back to others: http://www.redefiningmonogamy.com

  • Gam

    Why do people keep exchanging Love with Sexual Attraction. Love is not Sexual Attraction, you love your parents, but you aren’t going to sleep with them (I hope), no matter how polyamorous you are.

    My points.

    1. OFCOURSE ”monogamy” is not the only way. Humans can, like Animals behave any way they want. However, the big difference is, unlike Animals, we have Responsibility. We can choose, and must be responsible for whatever choice taken.

    2. The Human body is one of limited resources, if you want to dedicate your resources to sex, don’t be alarmed when you have a reduced ability to do other things. Mental health issues, Sexual Health issues, Physical health issues, you name it.

    3. Now, if your choice is to be polyamorous, please weigh the risks, be informed about your choice at the very least.