Poly, (Polyamory) in 2017

I recently had the opportunity to visit with family and friends. While doing so, on two separate occasions, the conversation subject changed to polygamy style relationships. Now I know some people may wonder how that could have happened. Trust when I say I was wondering the same thing. Anyone that truly knows about polygamy knows that legally it’s impossible to formally be in a polygamist relationship in the United States. Informally, or non-matrimonially, apparently is the new craze in relationships. Known as the shorten term, “Poly,” polyamory relationships today are made up in different ways.
When I first moved to California, is when I noticed that this “Poly,” relationship actually existed. While having a conversation with an associate, she slyly mentioned that she and her boyfriend shared a girlfriend. Of course, the curiosity inside had me wanting more information about the dynamics of the relationship. She explained to me about her bi-sexuality, and how having both a girlfriend, and a boyfriend worked for her on many levels. Not only did she get to have her cake and eat it to, but he did as well. This eliminated the concern of either one of them wanting to step out on the relationship. Since they all lived together, the financial burden was divided into three, which helped all of their pockets tremendously. And where children were concerned, those responsibilities were also divided by three, so no one’s schedule was overloaded with task and chores. For her, she felt like it was a win/win situation. She believed that she could handle whatever negativity that came out of the three-way relationship, because there were so many positives. For her, the most difficult part of being in that relationship, was during the times of misunderstandings between 2 lovers. The third lover is always in limbo. You can’t show loyalty, or take sides because at that point you’re going against the dynamic and pushing someone out or away. According to her, the third person must be a mediator, unbiased, and never persuaded by another lover.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that seems like it would be hard to do. After that conversation, I slightly questioned several other people about polygamist relationships and they all were aware of what I like to call “Polyationships” (polyamory relationships). A dear friend explained to me that everyone he knew that decided to partake, did it mainly for financial reasons. He went on to say that, most times it didn’t work because of the lack of maturity, or jealousy of one partner.
That was the last conversation I had about the topic, until I was home in Chicago visiting with family and friends. After a few social drinks, and the topics of business, and politics, had been covered, the topic of relationships came into play. That is when I heard it, “A poly is the perfect relationship for me.” I will be the first to admit, I sort of thought it was a “California thing.” I’m very aware of the prejudice in that statement, but for me California is very free. People are free to explore who they are, maybe a little less judgmental than other places. As the debate began to ensue, I took note of some of the points, one very articulate young lady was making. Eventually, we stepped aside and began to have a private conversation on the topic. Her arguing points were very similar to the previous conversations I had. What she offered in conjunction with that was a historical look at polygamy around the world, ethnically, and religiously. Her point was that ancestrally, many of us come from lineages where polygamy was the way of life. It was culture. Our progression towards monogamy, in her words, goes against our “natural culture.”
That wasn’t the last conversation I had that night about the subject, but it was the most memorable. While I can’t say that it changed my personal opinion on the matter, I will say that I understood where she was coming from. It also sparked my interest on doing some research on the topic. According to the latest Gallup Poll on polygamy, there’s been an increase in the acceptability of polygamy relationships. In 2003, only 7% of Americans found it morally acceptable. Today that number is 17%. While many of you will see that number as arbitrary, it is significant in showing the leaps society is making in its open mindedness towards different lifestyles. Several dating websites are specifically geared toward polyamory, allowing dating and married couples a way of finding that special someone who will become a part of their relationship. It’s unclear of whether this is a current trend or something that is just “coming to the light of day,” but more participating individuals are becoming more vocal about it.

And while I don’t know enough to offer any advice, or pass out more information on the topic, I’m interested in learning more from our readers who do. Please drop a comment, send an email, share your story!

 

Author: Elizabeth Keith

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