For one year I was romantically entangled with a polyamorous man. He explained that he and his partner had agreed to have an open relationship where each person could love and enjoy other people sexually as long as they always stayed completely honest, practiced safe sex, took care of all each other’s emotional, physical, and practical needs first, and felt secure together–not jealous or afraid of losing one another. There was an underlying commitment that went along with their willingness to “spread the love” and explore other sexual avenues.
I soon learned that he and his partner were quite the normal couple with problems, insecurities, and hard work. Our experience ended up showing me that I was not inclined to take part in a polyamorous relationship, especially as “the other woman”. I was too selfish, insecure, and I treasured exclusivity too much to be prepared for that type of experience. I did not feel secure, trusting, nor loved. Perhaps this was his fault; perhaps it was the situation. Maybe it was me!
And although it did not work out, the relationship caused me to wonder: If we’re perfectly healthy emotionally and mentally, are we more inclined to be monogamous or to have multiple love partners? Does it depend on the individual? What is the reason for jealousy and the desire for security? What makes us cheat? Could having an open relationship help a couple? Or does it harm them in the long run? Is it only about sex?
I recently polled my Twitter pals about the titillating topic of open relationships. Keep in mind that most of my tweeps are non-religious folks from all walks of life. If you’d like to respond, please comment! I’m fascinated by the variety of opinions and research on this topic.
Let’s see what they had to say using 140 characters! I’m keeping things anonymous to conserve their privacy.
Part A: “What do you think about open relationships?”
They’re ok, if you can handle that sort of thing. don’t think I could though.
I think whatever people can make work for them relationship-wise is fine by me, I’ve seen open relationships work out fine. [cont.] I think in a way Open Relat. may be easier, as there r far less boundaries 2 worry about crossing, no fear of being cheated on.
Not for me. [x2]
Whatever works for two (or three, or four…) consenting adults is none of my business whatsoever!
I like them! 🙂 I think they’re much more realistic than what you’re told to expect, relationship-wise.
Not a big fan, but my ex-wife was a fan.
Read more and check out Part B on Monogamy vs. Polyamory below the cut!
Interesting idea, but I don’t think it would work for most people. [cont.] Could erode intimacy… I’m rather interested in others’ opinions on this. I’ve given a little thought to it before…
Open relationships: Nice in theory, in my experience doesn’t work. Jealousy is eventually unavoidable. [cont.] Unfortunately ;-P Monogamy is, in my experience, safer and healthier for all concerned!
Free love! [cont.] after all marriage is a chattel contract isn’t it?
If both partners are comfortable and safe about it, I don’t have a problem. Given the right circumstances, I could be in one.
Open relationships = You’re not my first choice, I’m checking my options, and I can’t stand the thought of being single. 🙂
Intellectually It seems like it shouldnt be a problem if its agreed upon and both want it. But…. [cont.] If I was it was early in a relationship, so that it was not serious yet, no heavy emo. attachment yet,.. that might be fine.
As long as the relationship’s rock solid first and both sides have ironed out their jealousies, they can be fantastic.
Good in the short, impossible to maintain longevity. Less the relationship takes backseat to other benefits.
I think any couple can create a future into which they are willing to live. If they are aligned on ‘open’ then it’s OK. [cont.] W/O alignment on goals and possible futures, relationship is in trouble, open or not. Relationships don’t have to look one way.
Open relationships are fine if both parties are safe and aware, but it’s definitely, 100% not for me. I’m a monogamous penguin.
Arguably an evolutionary view has males as promiscuous but not females. However, it’s in our interest to protect our children.
* * *
Part B: “Do you think humans are naturally monogamous or polyamorous?”
Though I am open to all relationship types I think *most* are naturally monogamous, a sense of belonging to one special person
If we were naturally monogamous everyone would be monogamous. It doesn’t follow natural patterns, survival needs, or history.
I think part of what makes us human is being able to decide what’s going to cause less harm, whatever our pesky hormones want.
I think it depends on the person
That’s a tricker question. I think we evolved into monogamy. With emotions comes love and monogamy. If not, it’s just sex.
I think most people are serial polygamist, having only one lover at a time.
Humans are no longer naturally anything. That’s the problem.
Is there any doubt which group men, me included, belong: P
Humans are not monogamous. Anthropology 101.
There’s no “think” about it. Any biologist or anthropologist worth his/her salt will tell you humans are not monogamous.
I think most men – naturally – prefer one life partner and multiple sex partners! [cont.] One problem is that people conflate “monogamy” and “long-term pair bonding.” Not the same thing. [cont.] I mean humans and other animals can and do form long-term or lifelong pairs that aren’t necessarily sexually exclusive.
Definitely not monogamous but humans have the capability (through reasoning) to remain so. There is no doubt that sex drives us
Either way, they’re fucked.