Understanding Polygamy

Phuctifyno

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Look at it this way: a meaningful and intimate relationship between two people is endlessly complicated in and of itself. Adding another person to the mix multiplies that complexity. I think a lot of people reject the idea because of this; excessive effort/reward that they don't see as necessary.

The complexity is also exacerbated by our culture being a monogamous one. I have nothing against monogamy, but I think our cultural prioritization of it is misguided. It's widely accepted for its convenience. I'm personally at a disagreement with our culture here because in principal I'm opposed to our defining of relationship roles and boundaries before we've even met the person we expect to fill those roles. A lasting relationship should grow out of the people relating to one another, not predetermined rules. I'm not quick to say "fuck rules" either, but I don't think they should be relied upon as heavily as they are in this matter.

A lot of people, it seems, try polyamory without thinking it through and do end up getting hurt, but I still wouldn't discourage anybody from trying it.... statistically speaking, scientific-shit-tons more people try monogamy without thinking it through and end up getting hurt anyway.

Like anything in any relationship, communication is bottom line.
 

Pyrian

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Phuctifyno said:
I have nothing against monogamy, but I think our cultural prioritization of it is misguided.
I don't. In practice, polyamory seems to heavily favor relationships involving more women than men, even when that's not baked into the relevant laws (as most polygamous cultures do). The result is a whole lot of angry and frustrated young men.
 

Solkard

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Because emotions are complicated... is all I can come up with. Some people feel certain ways and others don't. All other exposition just breaks down into pandering rationalization.
 

Fox12

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Someone read Cracked.com

Could it work? If all three individuals were equally attracted toward one another, then theoretically, sure. But I'd feel inadequate if my lover did it, and awful if I did. I'd be doing it for lust, if I did it at all. No thank you, I'm a one woman man myself, and I'll keep it that way. I like things simple, and love beats lust any day for me.
 

Kevlar Eater

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Polygamy/Bigamy is like monogamy: one person too many.

I understand polygamy, but I'm personally against it. I bet that trying to handle one person's emotional baggage would be difficult enough; I couldn't possibly imagine taking in a third person (metaphorically speaking) or them taking in my garbage. Not like I would want them to.
 
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I believe that with the right people, it can work, but I am not one of those people. One partner is all I need and want, romantically and sexually. If my boyfriend were to suggest an open relationship or the like (not that he would), I would definitely feel hurt and I would not even try it. I'm far too emotional to deal with that kind of thing.

Dispute that, we have very briefly discussed the possibility of a threesome, which I would only be okay with if the third guy involved was pretty much a complete stranger who neither of us would ever talk to again. But then there's the issue of safety in that situation, so it will probably not happen anytime in the near future.
 

f1r2a3n4k5

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For me, I'll take a hard pass. If two's company, then three's a crowd and all that. But really, I think about the amount of time it took for me to feel emotionally whole for romance. (answer: a couple of decades). Now, I'm trying to build an emotionally whole partnership that neither compromises my own identity nor neglects that of my partner. It's difficult. It's imperfect. And it takes a lot of work. I'd rather focus on that arena. Multiple partners would be overwhelming.


For others: My gut tells me that a polygamist relationship is especially prone to problems. My main concern would be an asymmetric relationship where one partner gains more than the others (ie Many of the historical examples of polygamy). Barring that, emotional jealousy getting in the way.

That being said, I've meet quite a few swingers. I understand it's not the same thing, but it's my closest vantage-point to the issue. And the couples I met seem exceedingly happy.

So in the interests of not being narrow-minded, I'm open to conversations and evidence to sway my preconceptions on polygamy.
 

Parasondox

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dragonswarrior said:
Shanicus said:
It is great to hear from those who are involved in polygamous relationships and giving your honest opinion about it is great. You didn't sugar-coated it and said, "It was perfect from the beginning". You both gave us a real up and down situation to it all and said how it was and how it can work for some and not others. I appreciate the response, I honestly do. It is fantastic how it's all working out for both parties and you bring up the best point really. Communication. In any relationship communication is key and if it's not there, things will break apart. Thank you once again :)
 

small

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dragonswarrior said:
Paradox SuXcess said:
Hey there OP! Actual "polygamist" here to share with you his personal experience!

So... Yea. I'm in a family that involves 4 people. 2 women and 2 men. We all identify as... well, something other than straight. We're all at least queer. I often wonder whether that helps with things or not... Anyway, I'm involved (romantically) with both women, as is the other guy, and we're best friends. The 2 women meanwhile are each involved (romantically) with both the guys and with each other.

I consider the all the others to my life-partners, and I know they feel the same about me.

And it works beautifully. Now.

We had a REALLY rocky start. It was actually my first partner who decided to start being poly, and she went about it in a fairly shitty way, though not NEARLY as bad as it could have been. Still, there were some breakups and some hard times. Then a LOT of reconciliation and processing. The four of us have been together now for over a year and a half as a foursome (my relationship with my initial partner is close to ten years old now, and I started with my other partner almost two years ago... Like I said, making it to a foursome has been a rocky road.)

Anyway! Like I said. Things are going BEAUTIFULLY now. We all care for and support the shit out of each other. We talk about everything openly and honestly. Cuddling and kissing in front of the others is cool, and no one gets jealous about it anymore. Actually, we don't get jealous about much of anything anymore, though that wasn't true at the start for certain.

*shrugs* Maybe this is more than you wanted. *smiles* But there ya go. It's a process getting rid of all the junk you're raised to believe about romance and marriage and stuff. But lemmee tell ya. It's possible.
it's good to hear from someone in a non exclusive relationship and im so glad its working for you guys

i acually came into the thread to say it is possible, my best friend is both pansexual and naturally falls into nonexclusive and ive seen both sides with her how things can go bad and how wonderful it can be.

usually it goes bad when jealousy rears its head and communication isnt completely open
 

Avalanche91

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I've been in a shortlived polygamous relationship myself. When it worked, it was a lot of fun and the three of us did genuinely care for each other. Unfortunately one of us came from a different culture and kept butting heads with the other, both being fairly headstrong individuals. For a while I mediated between them but it just became exhausting for us, so we ended it on fairly good terms.

Like OP himself states later in the thread, communication is key. Most people have trouble doing this in a regular relation and the third partner doesn't make this easier. When it works however and when all three parties are comfortable, it is a lot of fun.

Also, I am definitely not exclusively polygamous. I can settle for one girlfriend just fine.
 

Phuctifyno

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Pyrian said:
Phuctifyno said:
I have nothing against monogamy, but I think our cultural prioritization of it is misguided.
I don't. In practice, polyamory seems to heavily favor relationships involving more women than men, even when that's not baked into the relevant laws (as most polygamous cultures do). The result is a whole lot of angry and frustrated young men.
Your response doesn't really catch the drift of this quote grab... my criticism of monogamy isn't based in "polyamory's better". It's the laundry list of relationship expectations people are to taught to look for in others before developing any kind of actual relationship with said others. By deciding we know what a relationship should be before we're actually in one, or before we've even met the person or people we'll be in one with, we set ourselves up for failure. Look at the numbers; humans are absolutely terrible at monogamy and I think our rigid approach is a contributing factor. A good relationship works because of the people in them and their capacity to communicate with, compromise with, and care for one another, not because of the superficial structures supporting it (including number of members).

I think the trend you see in polyamory is likely correct, but it's because of the shitty players, not the game itself - but same goes for the majority of monogamous relationships which also fail.
 

TheDrunkNinja

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I have a some friends who are in a polyamorous relationship: one guy who has two girlfriends. I'm good friends with all of them, and I can safely say it's not going well.

It came to be this way when he was originally dating one of the girls for a number of years and decided to break up with her. So that he could be with the other girl. That lasted for a couple months, but eventually he and his ex decided that they wanted to get back together. His then current girlfriend was pro-poly relationships (her logic being that people are inherently more inclined to love others if it wasn't for societal boundaries).

The two girls sat down and talked with each other and decided to create a system where they could both be with their man. It was all very civil at the time, but here's the catch: neither of these girls liked each other to begin with. I've heard from both sides since then, and it's pretty clear both girls are practically plotting against each other as of now. It was fine at first, things seemed to be going smoothly for them. But eventually, it would turn into two hour long venting sessions about not having enough attention or suspicions about one girl turning the boyfriend against the other. It got to the point where I seriously had to have separate conversations with both of them essentially telling them they have to keep me out of it since I got tired of putting on a mask of silence when their company. That's been better for me, although I know one of them took it extremely personally (I'm generally known as the guy to vent to in most of my friend circles).

At the end of it all, I just want to stay out of it, but when I look at them, it's like looking at a bomb that's about to go off. My opinion on the whole affair of polyamory comes down to the fact that you have to be really dedicated to the idea. This might sound pessimistic, but I don't think it's in our base instinct as humans to share. That has to be taught. When you're sharing a partner, you have to be partners with the other party as well. I don't mean that romantically, but that they're both going to be equally part of your life, even if you're only in love with one of them.
 

Riotguards

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TBH between consenting adults whom all consent to the open relationship status that is polygamy i don't see why its a problem

although unless there's a special relationship that is made through polygamy i doubt anything could postative could come out of it, hell open relationships (were your dating but you can have sex with anyone) often fail because one person is more active than the other
 

Dizchu

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One of the main reasons why I've never actively pursued a monogamous relationship (or any kind of "relationship" really) is because, I'm gonna be honest... I am attracted to multiple people. How would I even choose one? You don't choose a single friend and exclude the rest, so I'm wondering why the restriction becomes expected when the bond is more intimate. There's no "one" out there that is perfect for me and even if there was, I definitely wouldn't be able to find them either in my area or anywhere that I frequent on the internet. The odds would be astronomically against me.

Why do we have multiple friends? Is it because we find certain qualities in different people that, depending on the mood, situation and location, are more appropriate than others? We have friends we like to get smashed with on a Friday night, we have friends we like to watch films and play video games with, we have friends who we can discuss abstract ideas with and have an understanding.

Why do lovers have to operate in a different way? I mean, if we're aware of why monogamy and sex drive exist instead of ascribing it to something supernatural and calling people your "true love" or "the one" or "love at first sight", the only things I see getting away from treating lovers the same way would be jealousy and anxiety. Which are valid things to feel, don't get me wrong. But apart from that there isn't much to interfere.

CAPTCHA: Pizza

Okay maybe there is such a thing as true love
 

RubyT

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I don't think it works. People say monogamy doesn't work, but I think it does better than polygamy. People are just naturally jealous/possessive.

"Traditional polygamy", i.e. one dominant partner has multiple submissive partners, may work in highly (p|m)atriarchical societies, where marriages aren't of equal footing. But I've seen a couple of documentaries on such setups and the wives (in these examples if was always 1 man n women) were NEVER happy with it, they just had to accept it.

A completely open relationship may work better, where both partners have multiple fuck buddies. The condition here should probably be that the fuck buddies must not be more than one-night stands. Like swingers. Otherwise jealousy and insecurity will creep in quickly.
 

Broderick

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Well, I myself am in an open relationship, both me and my partner are open to the idea of being poly. I myself am Polyamorous(basically able to love more than one person at a time romantically). Basically, the reason our open relationship works so well is because of our communication. We talk about our fears, anxieties, that sort of thing. Really helps quell any problems before they start. We also have ground rules for when we finagle about with others, such as using protection when having sexual activity with those outside our relationship.

DizzyChuggernaut said:
One of the main reasons why I've never actively pursued a monogamous relationship (or any kind of "relationship" really) is because, I'm gonna be honest... I am attracted to multiple people. How would I even choose one? You don't choose a single friend and exclude the rest, so I'm wondering why the restriction becomes expected when the bond is more intimate.
I am with you on this one. I am a 22 year old male, who has a very...very healthy libido. Aside from just the sexual aspect though, I love lots of things about people. Why on earth would I want to just limit myself to only one person? It isn't because that person doesn't "satisfy" me, or doesn't fill my "love quota" or something. If I am fully capable of handling the responsibility of helping fulfill the emotional, physical, and romantic needs of more than one person, why should I limit myself? Of course, things like jealously and anxiety come into play, but that is what open communication is for! Talk with your partner/s, get to know their fears and hopes regarding the relationship. Try and help them get over their fears and achieve their hopes, and set ground rules for "do's and dont's. Then just let things go naturally.

On a side note, how many poly relationships do you think are made up of people that are pansexual or bisexual?
 

Chris Moses

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I am in a same-sex 3-way relationship. Me and partner #1 have been together for 19 years. Our "third" has been a part of our family for 9 years. We sleep in the same bed. We celebrate 2 anniversaries. We have life insurance spread out and the house under 2 names so that our world wont fall apart should one of us pass away. There were some jealousy issues in the beginning but we worked through them and I can say we love each other equally.

If you have some questions I will try to answer them. I don't check this site everyday so I apologize if my answers aren't immediately forthcoming.
 

Doctor Teatime

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I've been in a polyamorous relationship for about 4 years now, been living together for 1. Our relationship is a V constellation, so there's three of us but we're not all romantically involved. Honestly, at this point, I couldn't imagine having it any other way. My experience with polyamory has been overwhelmingly positive. ^^