• Sarah M. Neal

Monogamy vs. Polyamory

Whether you are monogamous or polyamorous, it is important we find partners who align with our values and make our hearts sing. We need to find partners who value us and our relationship; partners who are respectful and trustworthy and we must also be respectful and trustworthy.


There has been a lot of discussion about which is better: Polyamory or Monogamy.


Both sides are debatable.


For centuries Western Culture (namely Christianity and Judaism) have pushed for monogamy. Society has made it inappropriate and unethical to search outside of a committed relationship for companionship and\or sex. It is unlawful to step outside of your marriage for sex and even more so to marry more than one person. Those who advocate for monogamy say that poly folx are unable to commit; they are promiscuous, and it is all about the sex; that polyamory is an excuse to cheat on your partner.


However, there are some folx who are monogamous who will readily admit that while they don’t think there is anything wrong with consensual non-monogamy, it is just not for them.


On the flip side those many who are polyamorous will state that polyamory is more enlightened than monogamy. The argument is that polyamory allows people to love more people and that if the ultimate goal of religion is love then surely it is more spiritual and enlightened than monogamy which restricts who you can have relationships with and what those relationships must look like.


Even so, there are some poly folx out there who will readily admit that while they don’t think there is anything wrong with monogamy, it is just not for them.


So, which is better monogamy or polyamory?


I say that whatever works for one, may not work for everyone else.


On one hand, there are many people who strongly feel that one person can fulfill all of their needs and they are ready to do the same.


On the other, there are many people who strongly feel that it is unfair to expect one person to fulfill all of their partner’s needs.


Some people feel that in order to have intimate relationships sex must be involved.


Others feel that sex does not define the level of intimacy you can have with one person.


Many people dream of finding their “one-and-only” and being tethered to one person; they find solace in being attached to one person with a commitment that neither party will go and attach themselves to anyone else.


Many people feel trapped in a relationship where they do not have the option to create deep, meaningful relationships with others nor the option to have physical relationships with others.


As a Youth, I remember feeling anxious about boyfriends and the thought of never breaking up with that boy and being with them forever. I would get to this point that I was terrified of being with that boyfriend indefinitely.


The origins of the anxieties were never clear to me, and the timing was unpredictable. I would be a happy participant in the relationship and then a switch in my head would flip. I would then feel quietly panicked about being with whomever I was dating and not have a way out.


Rarely though did I want to be the one to initiate the breakup though. I didn’t want to hurt the boy’s feelings. So, I would just swallow the panic and inevitably we always broke up-usually soon after my panic.


There are memories of being interested in a few boys and mutual flirting would ensue. However, before the first (MAYBE a second) date would occur, I would feel that panic and never pursue a romantic relationship.


Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I have probably always been polyamorous (a good, personal argument for polyamory being an orientation versus a choice) but it would not have been acceptable for me to date more than one guy at a time. (Women have a daily fight with society about what is appropriate for our dating and sex lives, but that is another blog entry all together.)


In my younger mind and heart, I was looking for the person who would be “home”. I kept looking for the guy that didn’t bring out that panic in me.


I was engaged for a short time in college. Even as we were engaged, I envisioned myself cheating on him as his wife years down the line. How fucked up is that? I was never unfaithful to him though.


Being unfaithful was never really an option for me. I knew that I would have never been able to withstand the guilt and never be able to keep it from whomever I was involved with. It felt wrong. I always told boyfriends that if I ever wanted to be with someone else so much that I would cheat, then there was no point in staying with them.


At the same time, the idea of polyamory didn’t fit for me. I don’t think I understood it well. Which is understandable considering the number of resources that are out there have only been available in recent years. With that said, I also don’t think I could have navigated through the challenges of polyamory with any past loves.


While I am an incredibly spiritual person, my spirituality doesn’t have much to do with the “why’s” of my polyamorous life aside from my belief that we don’t have just one soulmate.


My personal love of polyamory comes from the sense of freedom it provides for me and my partners. I don’t feel trapped anymore. I know I have the freedom to explore other relationships without losing the love and support of my partners. I know that I can fall in love/lust/like with someone else and not have to hide those feelings from my partners. I know I can go where my emotions lead me.


I love that my partners have the freedom to do the same.


Yes, there are fears, insecurities, and compersion issues but I feel that discomfort helps us grow.


How we love and feel love is deeply personal and individual. To argue that one way to love is better than the other is a great deal like arguing which religion is better. Love is a spiritual experience not a religious experience. Our spirituality, our connection with Divine, is OURS and OURS alone. How we love as individuals is OURS and OURS alone.


If monogamy is what speaks to your Heart and Soul, then live a beautiful life of monogamy. Follow the rules of monogamy, but don’t judge or condemn those who polyamorous.


If polyamory is what speaks to your Heart and Soul, then live a beautiful, polyamorous life. Follow the rules of informed consent. Don’t judge or condemn those who are monogamous.


Neither are without its challenges or benefits.


Whether you are monogamous or polyamorous, it is important we find partners who align with our values and make our hearts sing. We need to find partners who value us and our relationship; partners who are respectful and trustworthy and we must also be respectful and trustworthy.


I think at the end of the day, we all just want to love and be loved. Who are we to say that everyone’s love must look exactly the same?


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