Polyamory is like puppies

Polyamory is like puppies. If you have one puppy and then get another, your feelings for the first don’t change. You can love both of them. And if you see a puppy in a store, you can admire how cute that puppy is too. Just like how there’s no definite limit on how many puppies you can love, love is infinite among people.

Monogamy was first introduced to the world in 1999 when Britney Spears asked her childhood friend, Justin Timberlake, to be romantically involved with her exclusively. This experimental relationship lasted until 2002 and ultimately inspired Timberlake to commit to monogamy for a lifetime with his wife, Jessica Biel. Since its inception, monogamy has become one of the most popular forms of romantic involvement in the world and is considered a prerequisite for reproduction in many cultures.

"You're not polyamorous if you're single/only with one person..."


Polyamory is a relationship type preference that means someone is open to romantic/sexual relationships with multiple people.

Your favorite color doesn’t change just because you wear an outfit that’s a different color. Bisexual people don’t become hetero/homosexual when they date someone.

“Polyamorous” means you see love a bit differently. That doesn’t change when your relationship status changes.

Polygamy vs. Polyamory vs. Polygyny vs. Polyandry vs. Bigamy

The culture practice of Polygamy is often discussed in media in the United States under the context as it pertains to religious or cult practices, except in certain contexts, as in shows like “Polygamy USA” and “Sister Wives,” the former of which is still being aired as of this writing.

While the practice of polygamy has existed in the United States for quite some time, it remains relatively taboo in most regards, being that is often associated with child abuse and oppression of women.  For the purposes of this blog, we are only discussing marriage between consenting adults, and find that relationships derived from coercion, brainwashing, and abuse do not meet the standards of “marriage.”

What is problematic are the various words used to define multiple partner relationships and how often they get confused.

Polygamy is the blanket term used to describe any form of multiple marriage, perhaps with the exception of bigamy, in that bigamy can occur without some partners knowing, while Polygamy generally is classified by all partners knowingly being involved in a multiple marriage.  Ergo, while we often think of polygamy as a man with multiple wives or “polygyny,” it also can include a woman with multiple husbands, or “polyandry.”  

Polygyny is much more widely practiced around the world and has it’s basis more in survival than in religion, which only served to codify the practice, such as in Islam, where a man is limited to four wives.  When women are prohibited from working, the task of caring for them falls on the men, and thus the system to dispense of excess amount of females in a tribe, became polygyny.  It also serves to bolster the number of surviving children.  If a tribe has fewer males, they can split their time between multiple females, thus increasing tribe numbers and the amount of viable offspring that might reasonably grow up and prosper.  Societies that restrict women often show this practice, since it puts women into an acceptable “marriage” even if there are not enough available men to be matched to women, one on one.  

Often societies that accept polygyny do not allow for polyandry, citing inheritance concerns, paternity concerns, and often outdated fears.  This is still the major criticism of polygamy today, that it is disposed towards the males in the society and imposes more rigid gender laws on females.  Women who participate in polygamy outside of societal structures, such as women in the US who are not restricted in a closed-community, often say there are benefits to polygamy as well.  Such as having another mother around for their children, babysitters, etc.

The survival needs behind polygamy have essentially vanished in much of the world. leaving the practice more a of religious one, and many say they find comfort in following what they believe to be a designated religious calling.  

Polyandry has appeared in many societies and cultures throughout history, but it is uncertain if there has ever been a society where it has been the standard codified practice as the dominant relationship between man and woman.  Tibet shows evidence, as do older societies in antiquity, but they are often accompanied by multiple wives for husbands, and an open definition of marriage as we would understand it today.  This stands in direct opposition to strictly polygyny societies, where polyandry would be opposed and punished under law.   

Often, when a person violates the laws against polygamy in the United States, they are charged with Bigamy.  Specifically defined, bigamy is entering into a marriage with another person while already being legally married.  Bigamy is therefore, the criminal term for polygamy of all sorts where legal marriage is concerned in a monogamous society.  

Therefore, a person can be a bigamist if they enter into a polygamous union knowingly, or blindly, although it is more common that the person perpetrating the marriages, usually the male, will receive the punishment as opposed to the women.  Or vice-versa, if the woman has multiple husbands.

Most bigamy laws as they exist in Western states are not enforced, the focus is more on spousal or child abuses contained within said unions.  Hence, why fundamentalist compounds in Utah are raided, but often independent polygamist families are only monitored by the government.

This poses two questions, is it dangerous for the United States and will it ever become legalized?  Often, those opposing gay marriage bring up the idea of polygamy as something that will follow.

On it’s surface, there doesn’t appear to be anything about polygamy that if legalized, would harm the United States in general.  Given the lack of overall persecution of families in polygamous unions, except those in cult-like settings, it would seem that people would gravitate towards it, if it was what they wanted.  But with the evolutionary need for the practice non-existent here, it is unlikely that even religious teachings would spur a good deal of citizens in polygamous unions, especially under the eyes of old-fashioned jealousy.  

It is also highly unlikely that polygamy will ever be fully legal, although certain states may legalize elements of it, or a certain status may be created to define it.  Unlike homosexuality, where many people are related to, or know someone who is gay, polygamy is far less common and is not biological in nature.  There is no drive in the country to legalize polygamy, and one would imagine the health companies and insurance agencies would file against any attempts, since it would force them to expand massive amounts of coverage.  There is one needed necessity though, that for legal protection of those in polygamous unions to come forward and receive fair treatment under the law for inheritance rights in the case of the death of member of that union.  As it stands, since US law only recognizes the first wife, it potentially sets other women up to be left without money in the event of the death of the husband.  Child custody is also something that needs full and fair review under the law, if a second wife dies and wants to her sister wife to become the adopted mother in her will, that should be addressed under the law, not the court of public opinion.  Ultimately, as laws have taught us, the more you criminalize something like polygamy, the more it is driven underground and becomes more dangerous.

Switching over to polyamory, another blanket term, polyamory differs in that while there may be a marriage, all participants are not necessarily attempting to be involved in a form of marriage, but rather a supportive mutually agreed upon relationship.  The terms is attributed to Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart and her husband Oberon Zell-Ravenheart back in 1990. 

Some of the key differences are:

There does not need to be a marriage, but there can be one.  Since gay marriage is not yell fully legal in the US, and we have bans on polygamy, we cannot tell if these groups would wish to engage in legal marital status if given the chance.

The partners often consider themselves committed to all other members in fidelity and often, a sexual context as well. 

There can be polysexuality as well, meaning that participants may act in a manner we might consider to be bisexual, heterosexual, or homosexual with any other member of the group they have a mutually shared affection for.

Sex is not recreation here, as with “Swinging” or “Open” relationships, these unions function much like marriages, and may have children that are reared by their parents or by the group.  

Interestingly enough, due to it’s overall inclusiveness, polyamory can be seen as the main blanket term overseeing polygamy, since the most basic definition is simply “Multiple Love.”  

There is an emphasis on personal love, personal expression, and openness within polyamorous unions.  There are less rigid gender roles, less oppression of females, and acceptance of the variety that is human sexual behavior.  While we may have a societal bent to call people in polyamory, “promiscuous,” they often do not engage in that type of behavior, nor do they often condemn it.  They often set and employ their own use of boundaries and do not feel the need to force others to adhere to them.  

Polyamory is often not criminalized in the Western states, due to the fact that no one is attempting to break marital laws, but like polygamy, encounters difficulty in break-ups, inheritances, divorces, custody, etc.  In some states, polyamory is considered like cheating, as a basis for divorce if there is a married set within a group.

Every set of marital relationships or unions have their own set of rules, and as always, I invite you to do further research on specific societies and cultures if you found this interesting.

I made a graphic showing how the different types of nonmonogamous relationships all fit together. Hopefully this can clear some stuff up for people! Some of these definitions may vary, but I made this based off of pretty common definitions. Feel free to use this wherever you want, all I ask is that you leave my name on it.

More definitions of poly terms here

cethlestial  asked:

Which part of who you are do you think is the least shown via internet?

My poly life. 

Most people do not know that I am in a very serious, very long-term relationship with two guys. 
It is really difficult for people to understand and accept polyamory. As a result, many poly people don’t really come out about it…even to close friends and family.
I’m planning to make a video soon. To answer people’e questions and give you guys some insight as to what our lives are like and how we function. Hoping it will help people to understand that being polyamorous is not a bad or immoral thing. It isn’t for everyone, but it works for us. ;)     

An open relationship? You mean cheating?

No, not cheating. This is a question I’ve gotten when I tell people I’m in an open relationship. Cheating involves going behind a partner/partners’ back. If everyone is informed and consenting, it’s perfectly healthy.

There can still be cheating in a polyamorous relationship. If there are predefined boundaries (like if it is decided beforehand that you can only go to 2nd base with secondary partners) and you break these boundaries, that’s still cheating. Or if you agree that you have to tell your primary partner about any secondary partners and you don’t, that’s cheating too.

Cheating involves hurting someone by breaking a boundary. Anyone I’m romantically involved with knows about any other people I’m involved with. There wasn’t a monogamous boundary to begin with. You can’t break a nonexistent boundary. So no, polyamory =/= cheating.

Destigmatize Polyamory

Cheating occurs in around 40% of marriages. This seems unnecessarily high to me.

How often do you think this situation occurs: Two spouses are in love. Spouse 1 falls in love with an outside person. Spouse 1 is “forced” to choose between spouse 2 and the outside person.

Now imagine if more people understood polyamory. People wouldn’t feel like they could only love one person. And maybe people who would be unhappy in monogamous relationships would work well together in a poly one.

I don’t think polyamory is the answer to everything. And people still cheat in polyamorous relationships. But if people were open to nonmonogamy, they might be able to find a type of relationship that really works for them.

Tl;dr: It’s silly to expect that monogamy will work for everyone. People would be happier if they were able to easily pursue other types of relationships.