Polyamory Loves New Frontier or Relationship Suicide?
Those that believe in polyamory refer to it as the new frontier for love, which I find completely irritating as a marriage expert as I see how this is destructive to marriages. To send a message to a marriage that is in a weak condition, to the troubled marriage that there is an option; to help save them from their pain and the option is polyamory is deeply concerning to me. If a couple that is currently in distress receives the message that utilizing the external (other intimate relationships) as a solution to feeling incomplete to complete, unfulfilled to fulfillment, unsatisfied to satisfied, etc., they are receiving the wrong message. I believe polyamory is relationship suicide!
To be in a committed relationship, the person you allege you want to spend the rest of your life with, but then you decide that is simply not enough for you and for it to be a plan, a way of life to be with others is an outrageous concept, and that concept is the belief of polyamory. I say this is outrageous because to come to the conclusion that we as humans are never quite satisfied, never quite fulfilled, and there is just not enough to eat on our plate so we must order more is a sad commentary of humans. It is interesting how so many have come to the point to say: gosh darn it well, we have to always get what we want right now, we need immediate gratification and must fill every need all of the time because otherwise we do not feel whole – well then golly lets certainly jump on that need and therefore fulfill all needs all the time. (Notice my sarcasm). This notion of polyamory suggests that to go without complete fulfillment is not acceptable, and we must feel fulfilled and since one person cannot do that for another, let us just acknowledge it, and rather than accept or think of healthy ways of working with one’s needs, we must have an additional relationship/relationships.
Upon researching polyamory among many ridiculous points that are made in favor of polyamory, one of them is that it is not just about the sexual relationship. Come on now, who are we kidding here? Ok, agreed, yes, it is not just about the sexual relationship, indeed a poly person gets more then just sex from the relationship, but, yes, but, without the sex it would not be polyamory it would be just friendship!
I specialize in solution focused treatment that has positive effects and true individual and relational growth and enhancement for the short term and long term. I am here to offer the “other side”. Polyamory is not love’s new frontier. It is not the answer. Polyamory is relational suicide! It does not work for most for the long term. When I researched different authors that wrote about how to make polyamory work for couples, I found my eyebrows squashed together as I read about that there are agreed upon “guidelines” for polyamory. I am here to inform that the guidelines typically end up becoming a major problem in relationships. It is those very guidelines that I have seen time and time again that at some point one person in the relationship wants to change the guidelines while the other has a different opinion. This is what I have seen over my 18 years as a marriage therapist. It is in that moment that trust becomes challenged and a slew of other problems occur. I have seen time and time again when the inclusion of another/others in the relationship occurs that the onset of more problems in the relationship eventually surface and that piles on top of what the problems were that never were attended to. Not unlike the marriage where both started out as drinkers and one no longer drinks alcohol and the other does, the impact on the relationship is severe and system wide.
It is my opinion that polyamory is not a solution it is an escape for the person that wants to avoid conflict, is feeling unfilled/has a void and is looking for the external to fulfill it. Yet that void is within so can never be fulfilled fully which is why that person is always seeking for more, needs attention, affection, and reinforcement when they want it. It is this type of person that does not want to commit and give of one’s self fully.
Those that believe in living a life of polyamory suggest that it allows for “adventures in sexuality” inferring that a monogamous marriage implies boring, substandard, dull sexual relations. A couple that wants to enhance their sexual relationship needs to communicate this desire and challenge their relationship as an interactive dynamic of two, without the inclusion of others. Themes of; jealousy, trust issues, change of what one wants out of the experience comes to play with polyamory. It is human nature to want to be special, to be a duo. Once you introduce other people into the duo mix you become less special and additional conflicts arise.
Those that are pro polyamory seem to suggest that a life of polyamory indicates validation of and acceptance of being with another as healthy. The inference is rather than addressing what can be worked on in a marriage, instead, have someone else in your life to spend time with so you don’t have to address the problem at all. In my opinion, we have already become such a society of the utilization of the external as coping with life. We have become such a throw away generation of our relationships, be it a spouse, a sibling, a parent. Look around you at how many people are either divorced, married but living like roommates rather then attending to the problems that exist, adults not speaking with their adult siblings, lacking a relationship with one’s own adult parents. So many exist in a lifestyle of conflict avoidance rather than trying to conflict resolve through focusing on what the actual problem is.
It is my clinical opinion that polyamory is simply one more technique of conflict avoidance and problem escapism to the external.
The notion that it is “acceptable” to live this lifestyle of polyamory rather than giving of one’s self fully in a relationship, by not having to be responsible to another, commit to another because you have others in your life to “fill” one’s self is living a life where we always feel there is an “out”. Have we become such a society of claustrophobics that we are so trapped and experience such anxiety and panic if we cannot constantly be pacified by our spouse so we need someone else to do that for us? Is it possible that those that choose a life of polyamory have decided that a close friend, a therapist, reading a good book, expressing one’s feelings to one’s spouse, joining a sports team, spending more fun quality time with our spouse is no longer methods of choice? It is with consistency that when I see people think being with another in addition to their spouse is going to work for them positively, if you follow these couples long enough, it always ends badly.
It pains me what the generation of children that grow up in polyamory as an acceptable life choice experience and shall become. Those that believe in polyamory suggest the importance of helping one’s children to see this as normal. I am here to say; do we really need a long term study to know that this is trouble waiting to happen? How do we as rationale people really think children will be affected? Try this idea on for size, perhaps children may develop even less of a responsibility for others then so many kids are already since their parents’ role model such a lack of responsibility that cannot not effect children. Specifically, polyamory adds to the concept of a throw away society, throw away relationships. There is such a lack of stability in our world already such as: job insecurity, death, friends moving away, extended family geographical distance and thus not developing strong relations and/or not a close relationship due to fighting and distancing issues, that to provide one more aspect of a child’s life that lacks in stability is ludicrous.
To have significant others in a child’s life that are important relationships to one’s parents, and then they are disposable once a parent no longer has a relationship with that person will absolutely impact the child. In polyamory people are disposable when you are done with them, when they no longer fulfill what you want to be fulfilled within. How can a child learn long-term stability of relationships if what they experience is short term relationships? The development of healthy attachments for children is very important. Just as many the adopted child longs for connection to the biological mother, the child of a parent that has ended a relationship while married longs for that person in one’s life. If the child experiences several losses in one’s life and time and time again just has to put up with this because who is in his life and important, and then out of his life and no longer important is based on the emotions of one’s parent, then the child eventually either has to learn to not develop healthy attachments and thus becomes detached emotionally or can become quite depressed with all of the grieving he will do each time he looses a person, or can become quite angry and resentful. The child may also question why just his mother is not enough of a woman for one’s father, or why his father is not enough of a man for his mother. This then in turn leads the child to question if he/she is enough in many areas of his/her life. In essence themes of self concept and self worth emerge. This is just but a few brief mentions of the potential impact on one’s children.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that polyamory is a detrimental non-solution for marriages, it is relationship suicide and a problem just waiting to negatively impact the emotional welfare of children.