f you read my blog regularly, you’ve probably noticed I’m a fan of Alan’s Poly in the News blog. My own polyamory has ended up showcased in his blog a few times, most recently by my appearance in the hotly-debated “Taboo” segment on polyamory that my friends “The Rabbits” were profiled in last June. Apparently, it’ll be appearing on TV on Jan. 9th, considerably before the March guestimate that they gave us all last year. Here’s a direct link as well:
In other news, I also contributed to a thread in another online article brought to my attention by Alan. He titled it as “Polyignorance in Ireland,” and I heartily agreed. Here’s what I posted in the comments to the article:
Dierdre, I completely disagree with what you and Owen Connelly have said here. Polyamory (= Multiple LOVES) is definitely a viable relationship choice for some people. Polyamory is a relationship style that’s based upon honesty and respect for ALL the partners. I know a number of polyamorous unions that have far exceeded the average length of monogamous marriages, so they can certainly be “successful” on that score. In addition, duration is not the ONLY measure of the “success” of a relationship–how about the happiness and fulfillment of the partners? Contributing to each other’s growth? Most poly relationships I know are *at least equal* to most monogamous relationships I know in these ways–and some far exceed them in happiness, fulfillment, and growth.
Open marriages are also NOT the same thing as a “consensual affair.” The word “affair” implies dishonesty, and the very definition of a marriage that is open is one where all the parties are in agreement about their relationships. They are OPEN and honest with each other, as well as being open to the possibility of otherrelationships.Illicit and dishonest affairs ARE damaging, to the relationship and to the participants. But what is causing the damage is not simply the presence of an additional person, but instead the lying and cheating. By choosing to be open and honest with each other in discussing wants and needs, people who engage in various forms of ethical non-monogamy (e.g., polyamory or open marriages) are able to negotiate with each other about those wants and needs in a healthy manner. This contributes to the health and well being of the relationship, and the individuals.
You also misunderstand many ethically non-monogamous relationships when you characterize them as “divorcing the physical from the emotional.” Polyamorous relationships in particular *celebrate* the emotional depth and connection that is possible between more than one pair of partners. “Love shared is love multiplied,” as we like to say! I often use the image of a candle: when you light one candle from another, the
first candle doesn’t go out, and the flame is not divided between them; it’s *multiplied* and gives twice as much light. The same is often true, in my experience, for successful polyamorous relationships.
And as others have said, I think the fact that therapists often don’t find people who are “fully committed” to the idea of polyamory/open marriage, is because they only see relationships that are *already in trouble*. As a coach/counselor specializing in polyamory, I can tell you that there are many thousands of people (in the US, and worldwide–and even in Ireland!) who are indeed “fully committed” to the concept and practice of loving, multiple-partner relationships. People come to people like me to help them figure out what people like you are telling them “can’t work”–because I KNOW it can work, and I am able to share practical tools and tips from my many years as both a polyamorous individual and coach to polyamorous people.
Polyamory isn’t for everyone. But with attention to communication and negotiation skills, understanding jealousy and other strong emotions, prioritizing the happiness and fulfillment of both/all partners, and a
myriad of other tools to support the success of such a relationship (or ANY relationship, actually), open, honest, and ethically non-monogamous relationships–such as polyamory–can be at least as fulfilling as any
monogamous relationship you can imagine.
©2011, Dawn M. Davidson