I am polyamorous. I’ve publicly referred to myself using that term over the last six years after spending 10 years contemplating my values and ideas about love, commitment and sex.
Two thirds of respondents reported their prior relationships resulted in them feeling controlled and harmed while over half experienced domestic violence and coercive control.
There’s been public discussion about the benefits and disadvantages of polyamory as an identity, a philosophy, a value system and a lifestyle choice. They’ve been insightful and thought-provoking and I’ve grown by participating in them. I don’t seek to repeat them here, but instead develop an understanding of the factors that lead people on the journey towards identifying as polyamorous.
Like most of my controversial ideas, these also will invite deep introspection, ask uncomfortable questions and will invariably result in attacks by those who feel threatened. Nevertheless, my search for understanding, insight and growth for myself and others will continue undeterred. All those who hold controversial views won’t be surprised by this, as they also will have frequently been attacked for their ideas, while similarly refusing to conform to the opinions of others.
As a naturally curious person, I wonder why I and others would even consider starting on the process of adopting an unpopular view that results in them becoming part of a scorned minority. I suspect that many are like myself and chose to do so after trying the more socially acceptable relationship model and found it lacking. Not just lacking, but so seriously flawed and damaging that they were compelled to seek very costly alternatives.
My observations over time of polyamorous people, including myself, has led me to arrive at the following conclusions. Those who call themselves polyamorous tend to:
Have diverse relationship experience.
Have a strong sense of identity and determination.
Be more self-aware, curious and intelligent.
Be more open-minded about sex and relationships.
Have learned the importance of good communication.
Have some level of current relationship dysfunction.
Feel threatened easily and overreact to specific triggers.
Congregate in largely dysfunctional groups.
Suggesting this does quite naturally prompt the question of whether I am projecting my own experience onto others and assuming that others have followed the same path I have. That, of course, is an eminently reasonable question and is, in fact, the reason I have written this. I’d love to hear the honest thoughts of others who identify as polyamorous to either maintain or discard my current theory on polyamory.
People who ultimately choose to identify as polyamorous, in the main, have a past relationship history that resulted in them being harmed to such an extent that they felt compelled to seek alternatives.
Within a relationship they felt betrayed, controlled and stifled through relationship dynamics. The relationship was domestically violent through coercive control over their sexual and relationship autonomy.
In order to protect themselves from future unhealthy control, they seek to reserve the right to maintain control over their own body and choices to freely form intimate relationships with others. They have chosen to no longer allow that coercive control to occur in future relationships and are consequently no longer willing to unconditionally and immediately extend an emotional and sexual monopoly to another person.
Given the freedom to do so, and in the context of a healthy growing relationship, they will not prioritise the pursuit of alternate relationships and instead continue to invest most of their efforts in one key relationship. Their right to do so, however, with full openness and transparency, remains a source of comfort and reassurance for them.
If you identify as polyamorous or as a relationship anarchist, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve developed the following survey to find out whether my theory is generally true or whether it’s only true for me. The survey is anonymous, questions can be skipped and the answers collected to date can be seen by answering or selecting “See Results”.
The more people honestly completing it and sharing it through their networks, the more accurate and useful it will be for everyone. You can return to see the latest results at any time.