In our North American society and in most of the world, monogamy is seen as the norm and people will expect you to respect this established model of relationships. Of course, what we call “dating” is socially acceptable, but you have to eventually settle down with someone. Sexual and emotional exclusivity is perceived as a guarantee of commitment on the long term, and rare are people who consider other options when it comes to relationships. The main reason is that we are educated to think a certain way; even in various medias and books, monogamy is the “normal” way and is also more of an obligation than an option. Growing up with the princess and prince charming vision of love will certainly gives you a certain desire for this kind of relationship.
But monogamy might not be a good fit for everyone. After all, statistics demonstrates that 57% of men and 54% of women admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional, in any relationship they’ve had. Of course, there are many different reasons that can lead someone to infidelity, but sometimes, people have a hard time having only one partner, no matter how good their official relationship is at the moment. In some cases, people feel that it’s absurd to think you can only love one person at a time, because like in friendship, you can love multiple people at the same time, seeing different benefits and qualities in each relationship you invest in.
Following that line of thought, having two or more partners at the same time becomes possible and healthy when dealt with correctly. Love is not a pie that you share between people in your life, until no more pie is available or until you have to eventually take back some pie to give it to someone new in your life… Love is like a magical bag of awesomeness in which you can reach again and again. Loving a second partner doesn’t mean you don’t love the first one less. It’s a different experience, with a different person, and it is potentially a very healthy relationship that can help you grow into a better person and a better partner.
Polyamorous people believe in that vision. They think that if you truly love someone, you will be happy for them if they meet someone new for whom they develop feelings. They call this compersion; a neologism meaning the opposite of jealousy, that is, feeling happiness for your partner when she or he develops another important relationship. No one says feeling compersion is easy! Almost everybody comes from a monogamous education and background; switching is not necessarily natural, but polyamorous people believe that getting rid of a lot of misplaced jealousy is one path for happiness. Of course, polyamory is positive when it’s a choice and not an obligation, and when it is fully consensual. Also remember that cheating is not a polyamorous way of living; polyamory dictates transparent and honest relationships based on a good communication.
Although polyamory is not for everyone, it is still as valid a choice as monogamy. We have to remember that we tend to be monogamous by tradition or by social conventions, but not by choice. Choices are the reflection of who we are; choosing our relationship lifestyle should be a priority. So whether you choose monogamy or polyamory, know that you have both options depending on your beliefs and your personal needs.
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