Sexual desire is there all through life. People who are married and have children sometimes long for a new love. If they limit themselves to fantasy, daydream and masturbation, nobody usually notices. If they put it into practice with a third party, there are different terms for that:
Strongly disapproving: adultery, infidelity, cheating, playing the whore
Disapproving: screwing around, cheating
More or less neutral: extra-marital relationship, polygamy, polyandry, mistress, lover, partner exchange, swinging.
Positive: open marriage, free love, polyamory
Polyamory is therefore one of the positive approaches to having more than one love relationship at the same time. The difference with the idea of ’open marriage’ is that it is mainly about giving each other a little space in terms of work, vacation, hobbies and acquaintances (‘you don’t always have to do everything together’) while there polyamory is also a question of a love relationship of which the sexual desire forms the core. The difference between polyamory and free love is that the idea of free love is very idealistic and too high a goal for this target group of married couples with a family.
The polyamory aims to be very practical. How do you make it possible to stay married, to look after your children, to maintain a good relationship with your regular partner and at the same time to maintain a new, happy and enriching relationship with a third valuable person? How do you organize that? What about your personal feelings, your feelings towards your partner and that third party? How much time do you have to invest in overcoming anger and sadness, fear of abandonment, jealousy and envy? And do not forget the feelings of guilt when you are brought up with the idea that what you do is adultery and unfaithfulness? Polyamory is a peculiar, invented word. It seems French…..ending with the vowel ‘ie’ (as lingerie, etc.) but ‘poly’ (a lot) is Greek and ‘amor’ (love) is Latin. What a mess! But the intention is good and the supporters are tolerant.
Polyamory is not for everyone, according to its supporters. For some it is better to cheat (without informing your partner) or to swing (have sex with other couples, but love is forbidden), and those who do not feel the need for third parties do not have to participate either. Polyamory also places certain demands on people and not everyone can meet them. If you want to engage in polyamory, you have to love yourself, know what you want, be able to make your own choices, accept your partner as he or she is. You have to understand how other people react, jealousy and anger are normal, you should not disapprove of them, but accept them patiently and allow them to get settled slowly by giving them lots of love.
But you also have to be able to arrange all sorts of practical matters. Many people get confused when they fall in love and that leads to unwise and awkward behaviour and an unnecessarily soon end to what could have become something beautiful.
Don’t let that happen, make agreements and stick to them, that is very important. People must be able to trust each other, then they can also accept a lot from each other.
Certain qualities are important, such as a talent for intimate relationships, well-developed interpersonal skills, and willingness to work on personal and spiritual growth. A bit of “spirituality” is part of life nowadays , because you are a slightly better educated citizen, who no longer goes to church but would like to believe in something so that you do not completely drown in a materialistic and meaningless job existence. The positive sides of polyamory are clear: you enter into a seriously love relationship with someone else or at least you are open to that. Your partner agrees and has the same ideas. There is no question ofdeceit, infidelity, sneaking around, guilty escapades that, when they come out, lead to sadness, anger, quarrel, divorce, sometimes even suicide.
One only needs to read world literature to know which major and minor emotional disasters occur in monogamous relationships, who on closer inspection evoke a sense of compassion that people are so limited in their love life, whereas they are so keen on finding love. An extra partner means an extra friend, an extra person to do something with which you have never done before, someone to learn from, for whom you can do something. Someone who is more than a good friend, someone you love and who is always there as a partner. Polyamory is the practical application of “free love” for adult, married (or in a committed relationship) people with children, who enjoy the lusts of infidelityas much as possible and keep the burden as low as possible.
Love is not completely free yet. In the polyamory we talk about a limited group of mainly white Western middle-class adults with a permanent relationship and (often) a family. Whether that will ever evolve into everyone’s ‘free love for everyone’ is doubtful. For free love (a term that I find more suitable) requires ongoing sexual reform. This means that we break through the existing structure of marriage and family, so that people can learn to deal more freely with sexual desire as the foundation of love much earlier in their lives.