is polyamory “better” than monogamy?

I think that’s the wrong question.

I don’t want to be asked if my relationship style is “better.”  I want to be asked if my relationships are better.  And, specifically, better than they used to be.  I believe I can safely answer, “Yes.”  Not because I’ve met better people.  I hate that assumption.  I believe we all have the potential to be equally great.  No, it’s because for the first time, I am going into my relationships with open eyes and an open mind.

examine my relationships and myself.

Did you see the 30 Rock episode where Jon Hamm plays the eternally clueless, super sexy guy, because everybody is so in love with him they can’t criticize a single thing he does?

Liz: You can’t put Gatorade on salmon.
Drew: Yes you can – the hot Italian lady from the Food Network told me so.Some people are born chefs. Like the rat in Ratatouille.

Oh, who knows?  Maybe you’re a natural chef who tosses oils and spices together with the offhanded confidence that usually only comes with years in the kitchen (plus real talent and practice). Or maybe you end up dousing a chunk of fish with cotton candy soda and calling it a day.  Anything is possible.  I’m not one of the natural chefs (I’m pretty decent at putting good ingredients together and it tasting good, but I need lots of practice and I’m far from the best), but perhaps you are.

I believe, however, that some people are better at being chefs than other people.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

I also believe a more examined, thoughtful relationship is “better” than an unexamined one, or, specifically, that it has the chance of being better. (After all, one can self examine without any real benefit towards oneself or others.).  Is polyamory better than monogamy?  That’s the wrong question.  Does it not only allow for, but force, a more examined relationship?  Yes (as with any form of relationship anarchy, as you are creating your own standards and therefore must accept the consequences of so doing).

Polyamory in is its very structure encourages and even forces self-examination.

As someone with a relatively low risk tolerance, this appeals to me.  It means that many of my relationships shatter upon impact, but it also means I know sooner than later if the relationship is suited for the two (or more) of us.

If someone can come up with whatever relationship form demands similar self-examination, that is equally worthy.  This is simply the first I have stumbled upon.

Relationships can be glass houses.

They’re pretty.  But you don’t know the strength until someone throws a brick at it.  If you’re lucky, the glass is thick, solid panes.  You never really know until after the brick hits.

Monogamous relationships, as with non monogamous relationships, can be sturdy or fragile.  Only imagine if a non monogamous, particularly an emotionally open ENM (ethically non monogamous) relationship, is like a house in a hurricane zone.  It’s already prepared for hard weather (unlike a house built where a freak storm passes by).  That ENM house of yours?  It’s gonna be tested.  Immediately.

Whereas, in a monogamous “house” you might have perfect weather and gentle people for months, years, even decades, before the first object slams into its side.  Ten years down the line.  Twenty years.  Longer.  They had happy lives.  They just weren’t the happy lives they wanted for themselves. That isn’t good enough for me, and it isn’t for them.  Settling is something we all do, but that level of settling?  Just no.

It’s not right to find yourself in a place where you have to choose to be the person you want to be, to choose to live in a loving romantic relationship OR choose to do the right thing by your children.  You shouldn’t have to make that sacrifice.  You shouldn’t make your children suffer your consequences.  And believe me, they do.

I believe it’s worth giving polyamory a chance as the default.  Or relationship anarchy.  Or relationship freedom.  Whatever you wish to label it.

Once in a while, you get a particularly stubborn couple who pretends everything is lovely for a few years, even within an ENM relationship.  But generally?  They just fall apart in a few months, if not weeks.  Before anyone can get significantly invested (i.e. home, kids, legal entanglements, or other Things You Can’t Just Walk Away From).  Things You Can’t Walk Away from sometimes include our children.

If someone could tell me their choices hurt no one, I would be fine.  People do get hurt.  Innocent ones.   And while the people hurt most are often the ones that chose it for themselves, I still don’t want them to suffer.

I want others to have the same quality of life I want for myself.

To live without fear, to live with security.  Maybe not all the time.  But at least with those they call their loves.  I know my family is my family.  I will always have that, no matter what happens around me.  I know I’m loved for me, not some illusion of me.  I’ve passed through the “tests” I need to have that surety.

Hell, this is no more than the standard the kink community demands for themselves.  The ability to love and live as one chooses (and the people involved, of course).  The ability to seek the pleasure without guilt or compromise.  If I want to be beaten until I cathartically collapse and cry out every goddamn thing that’s ever happened to me?  I should be able to satisfy that need, and yes, it is a need that kinky people have for themselves. (No, this isn’t my actual need, but it is a need of many and a valid one!). 

Do as you please.

If, through conscious choice and full desire both parties in a relationship wish to be romantically and physically intimately exclusive to each other, well, fair enough.  Hell, even if they desire to have no emotional or close connection to any other human but One True Love.  Heck some days, I’ve wondered if I wanted anything beyond my master.  But…it forces that self-examination.  I had to think about it.  Nobody else decided my life.

Marry, produce children, whatever.  Once you determine for yourself whom and how you love?  The rest is relatively easy.  If you can stand up to society with your choice to love two human beings in a romantic relationship, you can stand up to your parents and say, “Actually, I don’t want children.  You’ll have to satisfy your need to be grandparents elsewhere.”  I mean, am I wrong?

Oh, just “being polyamorous” isn’t a fix.  But I like the setup, that’s all.  Just a chance.

Something needs to give, change.

Something needs to be better than what we’ve had before.

…is polyamory that something maybe?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top