To date, I have not had a single romantic relationship (and for me that means with a man) which has been easy or without compromise. I sometimes analyse the strengths and weaknesses of past relationships and past partners: what went well, what needed improvement, and what ultimately led to its demise. Sometimes what led to a relationship’s demise was the relationship’s beginning i.e. one that should never have started… a clear case of wrong partner – wrong time. Other times it was almost perfect if only he could have been a little more_______ , or I could have been a little more tolerant, understanding, patient, mature, confident, assertive, etc.
Wouldn’t it be great if I could take personality traits of several past partners, paste them onto the one being, and thereafter elect him as, not perfect, but perfect for me at that time? Of course it is not only impossible, but I suspect that this power would soon become tedious, much like omnipotence or immortality.
Can a relationship with one ‘significant other’ satisfy needs for comfort, companionship, sexual pleasure, stimulating conversation, moral support, friendship, excitement, to name just a few? Is monogamy overrated? Is monogamy imposed by society? Is it a mere arbitrary construct?
What if it were possible to get my emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual needs met by more than one romantic relationship?
I don’t mean that I would cheat on my partner. I have no talent for lying. Even if I did, lying, for me, equates to being a little less myself. If I can’t be myself with my significant other, then I cannot justify him occupying that special role in my life. I am better off on my own. I at least can be myself by myself.
But what if I had more than one relationship: one partner to go to for practical companionship and support, another for sensitive empathetic tenderness and romance, and perhaps another still for certain sexual needs, which could not be met by either of the other two. I need to feel close intimacy and trust before I can enjoy sex with a man, so my third partner would still be a significant other. I suspect I would struggle with more than one due to practical and social constraints, but what if it were possible? I am, of course, assuming that each of my partners would each gain from their relationship with me and I would contribute to meeting their various needs.
I started to read a fascinating (and surprisingly sensible) book on ‘polyamory’ defined as:
“The fact of having simultaneous close emotional relationships with two or more other individuals, viewed as an alternative to monogamy, esp. in regard to matters of sexual fidelity;
the custom or practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.”
The book is titled “More than two: a practical guide to ethical polyamory” by Franklin Veaux & Eve Rickert. I recommend this book, even if you are a devout monogamist, or if you do not currently have any romantic relationships, but especially if you believe in increasing self-determinism in relationship choices, as opposed to having social mores and the expectations of others determine them for you.
I would love to get your comments if you are in a polygamous relationship – successful or otherwise: Are you and your partner/s polygamous, or is one of you monogamous? Does the relationship nourish you and your partners fairly? Do you feel disadvantaged? Are you unwillingly condoning polygamy in your partner? Do you have jealousy issues? How do you manage these?