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gottamakeart's avatar

Polyamory: The practice of having more than one devoted partner (group love, I suppose) your thoughts, opinions and ESPECIALLY word from the experienced among you.

Asked by gottamakeart (1318 points ) September 26th, 2009

I’ve wondered about this concept, as have some of my friends, does it work out? (is it a little like what Mormons do?) can people actually be happy like that, or is it just too complicated? I think it can already be a lot to deal with just being with the same person for awhile, never mind more than one.

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25 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yes, it can work out but rarely, imo – my partner and I are in an open marriage and you really have to get your head straight BEFORE you venture into that world

Sarcasm's avatar

Whatever happens between consenting adults seems fine by me.
I don’t think I’d ever encounter it.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t say it’s impossible for such relationships to work, but it would take a lot of work, I imagine.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Seriously: I’ve heard of it, but I’ve only known of one person that tried it and it ended in an abysmal failure. I suppose that it would work, given the right circumstances and the right mix of personalities. I don’t see it being all that common, given the human ego and all of its idisyncrasies.

Off the cuff: What do you call a man with a wife and a girlfriend? A glutton for punishment.

FutureMemory's avatar

I’m biased on this subject. Personally I avoid such scenarios like the plague.

Adagio's avatar

There was an interview about this very topic recently on Radio New Zealand National and at first I was convinced they were saying Pollyanna-ry. And from the e-mails that came in to the show I was not the only one who thought so.
I do not think I could happily live within such a situation but there are obviously those who can but cannot imagine they would bear any resemblance to Pollyanna

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The more people that are involved in a polyamorous collective, the higher the likelihood of jealousy, miscommunication, and STD transmission.
If people decide this is what they want to do then they need to make sure everyone is on the same page lest things go horribly wrong.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It works… Depending on what kind of society you live in. The Western world is a unique one because our societies tend to value monogamy above all else. However, as I said, we’re in the minority. Most other societies practice polygyny/polygamy/polyamory, quite successfully and have been doing so for thousands of years.

In this society, it definitely wouldn’t work for most people. That’s not to say that it couldn’t work for a rare few, however.

drdoombot's avatar

I’m not jealous of anything or anyone in my life, with the exception of the attention and affection of my lover.

Most other men think I’m weird because of these two quirks.

Syger's avatar

@drdoombot I don’t think you’re weird bro, I’m pretty much the same way.

laureth's avatar

Some people are Polyamorous, some people are not. For those who are, it works beautifully. For those who are not, it fails.

My guy and I are monogamous at heart. We’d each tried Poly (before meeting each other) and, well, like I said. Failure. We have Poly friends, though, and it’s fine for them.

There are as many kinds of Poly relationships as there are Poly people. It doesn’t mean (necessarily) that everyone sleeps with everyone else. Sometimes it just means that you have more than one girlfriend and/or boyfriend, and sometimes you see one, and sometimes you see the other. Sometimes, a bunch of people have interrelated relationships. Sometimes it’s as simple as having a spouse and a side-relationship and loving both of them. There are lotsnlots of ways to do this.

May I suggest reading The Ethical Slut if you’re curious enough. That’s pretty much the standard work for people looking up this sort of thing.

mponochie's avatar

I think it could work if all parties know about it going into it. I think it could be a blessing in disguise, especially if they work together collectively. However my husband knows this isn’t a option that would work well for me.

gottamakeart's avatar

1. Sexually speaking, I’d enjoy some variety, 2. Socially, I’d like to have someone different to hang out with. But I doubt this would work out well in reality.

I’ll just have to settle for Social internet sites for the 2nd thing and….....

The 1st thing can be addressed by what I beleive is the other thing keeping the internet going : “adult- entertainment” ;)

Problems solved, and no extra beds.or one big one thats hard to change the sheets on.

Jeruba's avatar

My adventuresome friend said it worked for her and her husband and was just great, fantastic . . . .for about a year and a half. She said that amount of time seemed to be about the length of a successful trial for other couples they knew. Then it got to be too much of a strain on the relationship, especially if one got more dates than the other, especially if one fell in love a lot and the other didn’t and got jealous instead. She enjoyed it very much but ultimately had to give up her special friends and lovers because her husband couldn’t handle it any longer.

I do know one couple who have been at it for more than 20 years. I think he’s the busy one. She is such a sourpuss. But then, you can never really guess how people are in intimate relations just based on the way you see them casually.

Me, I’m not tempted.

Zen's avatar

I’m with @Jeruba. Well, not with her, but I agree with her. :P

filmfann's avatar

i have several friends who do this, and none of them are happy with their lives.

answerjill's avatar

Just a side-note response to something in your question: Mainstream Mormons, or, as they tend to call themselved, members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, no longer practice polygamy as part of their religion. There are fundamentalist(?) Mormon churches that still follow the practice, but they are not accepted by the main church. (Please note: I am not an expert on the LDS world—I’m just a “nice Jewish girl”—but maybe someone else can clarify and/or validate what I have written here.)

willbrawn's avatar

@answerjill is correct. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints “Mormons” do not practice that.

Sects that broke off the church do and they are not affiliated or supported by the LDS Church.

shortysith's avatar

I think in our society it is very difficult to break away from the concept of monogamy. For those who don’t have a problem with that, I still think they run into the difficulty of dealing with the emotions of more than one individual. Someone is going to get jealous, or someone is going to get left out, or get more attention than another here and there, etc. You would have to go into the situation knowing all of those facts, and being ok with that before doing so. The one thing nice about it is the group dynamic. You would have a lot of people who cared for one another, which is never a bad thing.

nikipedia's avatar

I love the idea of it. It seems more honest. So many people cheat (I think 50%?) that it seems to me we are deluding ourselves if we pretend we are only going to have feelings for one person for the rest of our lives.

Beyond that, I don’t see any inherent value in monogamy. Why should we have a one and only forever?

So I have nothing but respect for people who successfully pull this off. It seems way more genuine and legitimate than monogamy to me.

deni's avatar

It takes a strong person to be able to let the person you love love somebody else, too. I could never do it. Ever. It is admirable to me that people are able to do it.

cwilbur's avatar

It takes honest communication and enough self-awareness to know what you want and need. Many people struggle with one-on-one relationships because they do not have enough of either of those, but it’s a lot easier to bumble along in a one-on-one relationship that isn’t working well because the participants are not fully honest or because the participants are not especially self-aware than it is to stay in a polyamorous relationship that’s not working well.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wanted to say that I left the question after posting my comment because I expected a lot of negativity for the concept -when I came back this morning, I read through the above and was surprised at the responses..I want to say I’m sorry I made the conclusion that people were going to be less accepting and I wanted to say that the answers here taught me something

DrBill's avatar

It can and does work with the right people.

The wrong people can make it a disaster.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I met these three girls that were in a poly relationship together at a Con some years ago. I wanted so badly to ask them all sorts of probing questions because I was so fascinated, but I didn’t know them that well, and I felt like that might be rude. They were all hot in different ways and, I’ll be honest, the idea of being in the relationship with them was kind of a turn on. Anyway, two of them seemed perfectly suited to the arrangement. The third had obvious jealousy issues, made apparent by her behavior after one of the other girls had flirted with me.

I’m fascinated by the idea, but I don’t think I’d be able to do it. It’d be easier if I wasn’t very emotionally invested, but I still tend toward possessiveness and jealousy, so I think it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience for any party. Plus, when I am really emotionally invested, I honestly have no sexual desire for anyone else and I’d be shattered if my partner was looking for excitement elsewhere.

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