I always assumed that people who were ‘swingers’ were in a bad relationship or sexually perverted or had serious psychological problems like untreated bipolar disorder.
Then I found out that a friend is polyamorous. And this is a person that I feel safe enough to let watch my kids.
Ironically, I have a very sweet relative who adores small babies and animals that I do not feel safe to leave my kids with for an extended period of time. More for her sake than for the kids, perhaps.
So now I have to deal with having a polyamorous friend that I look up to.
I currently have two theories about polyamory.
One is that it is a symptom of our society which is obsessed with infatuation, romance and continual dopamine highs, and which devalues steady deep friendships.
(I’ve been reading 18th century literature, I think its influencing my writing 🙂
Mary Wollstonecraft vigorously argues that by training women to see romance as their only occupation in life, that society creates a league of adulteresses. According to her, these women were taught that romance was a high ambition. After marriage settled down the passion, only mystery and intrigue could keep the husband interested. So, the wife flirted to make him jealous. This is sort of like bringing in a third party to a intimate relationship. Of course, it doesn’t fit the definition of polyamorous in which all parties must give enthusiastic consent.
I read a biography of an American woman who married into an elite Mexican family. They all lived under the same roof. When the marriage of her husband’s brother and his wife grew cool, the American felt that friendship and talking about it would resolve the issue.
The mother-in-law scorned the thought of spouses being friends. The mother-in-law’s solution was to slip one of her gloves into her son’s room. His wife found a strange feminine glove with her husband’s things and flew into a jealous rage. She went back home to her family and her husband had to woo her again. Passions were revived.
With such an expectation for married love, I can understand that bringing another party in could ‘spice things up’. In the movie 1940 “Too Many Husbands”, the wife is ignored by her husband until her previous husband, thought dead, turns up. She loves the attention that she gets as they fight over her.
There is another film, The Freebie, http://www.calgaryfilm.com/2010/schedule/film/452/ I heard about on the radio recently about a couple who can’t remember the last time they had sex. So they decide to go out and have sex with other people. I don’t know how it ends.
Ok. That all sounds very sad to me. It is placing the dopamine rush of new romance at a revered level. I don’t think that is healthy, and can just lead to going from person to person in search of ‘happily ever after’.
An unmarried friend of mine thinks marriage is endless romance. She is in for a surprise! How will she deal with flatulence and conflict when she is expecting flowers and candles? Will she get bored too?
But, my non-monogamous friend tells me, she isn’t bored with her partner. She just finds polyamory fun. And says it has brought her closer to her partner. And helped her grow as a person.
I’m guessing that she could have experienced this same growth doing any challenging activity with her partner. Like mountain climbing or swimming with sharks.
That is my second theory: it is a comfort-stretching activity.
So, maybe there are many reasons for polyamory. And maybe I was wrong.