You don’t know the first thing about polyamory, and yet, you want to judge and pontificate. We were monogamous for more than 20 years and then we opened up our marriage because we were so happy and fulfilled together that we wanted to explore. It helped us grow both as individuals and as a couple to deprogram from a relationship style that was designed by other people and instead to co-create a committed relationship that makes us both happy.

We weren’t very jealous or possessive before, but there is none of that now. We no longer fight at all (not that we fought a lot before, but some) because there is no more power struggle and because we have complete honesty and transparency. Again, it’s not that we had dishonesty before but the container of traditional monogamous marriage means that certain things are off the table to talk about — like how sexually attracted you are to someone else, for instance. Now we talk about anything and everything. And because of that we also no longer look at whose job it is to do what and simply negotiate getting it done in the moment, sometimes by one person and sometimes by the other. Again, co-creation rather than prescribed roles. As my husband once only half-jokingly said, “Once you get used to the idea of your wife loving and fucking other people, whose job it is to bring in the mail is pretty irrelevant.”

It’s hard to allow for independence if you have a relationship system built on dependency and control, and also if you only get one person who has to fulfill all of your needs. If people can figure out how to put more partnership-oriented elements into their traditional marriage, that’s wonderful. When polyamory works well (and it doesn’t always), it’s because the people involved are focused not only on their needs and boundaries as individuals, but they are seriously undertaking their own self-responsibility and emotional work;

For marriage as we know it to survive in the future, we will all have to catch up. Things are shifting dramatically in our society. We are learning a new form of relationship — not based on sex, or swinging or adventure — but based on integrity, a new concept for many of us. Being out in the open about our real feelings may be a new and creative style of relating. This type of relating is not founded in following our lust or our impulses, but is the basis of forming a new style of relationship that is honest — honest with ourselves about what we really want and desire and honest with our partners about what we need. There is an inherent maturity in standing up for what we believe is our truth — even if it is the need to love more than one person at a time.

Written by

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store