It's Valentine's Day, and that means every media outlet has to release an obligatory piece on polyamory. I don't really blame them. As a subject, polyamory has the perfect blend of provocative mystery, unconventional intrigue, and sex. You couldn't craft better click bait.
This year, I am quite pleased with the general feel I've gotten from the various media portrayals. Sensationalism, while still present, seems to be fading, and more journalists are really connecting with well-spoken, intelligent, and committed members of the poly community for source material. At the bottom of this post, I've included links to several excellent write ups (yours truly is quoted in one of them!)
I was only turned off by one piece in particular: an article by sex coach Mike Hatcher over at YourTango.com simply entitled "How Polyamory May Overtake Monogamy".
I fell victim to my own click bait.
Unfortunately, the article is not very well written, equates polyamory with swinging, and primarily focuses on sexual politics. The author makes some valid observations about sexual satisfaction sometimes being limited by the constraints of monogamy or the incompatibility of a partner, but uses this to imply that polyamory is inherently superior because it allows for sexual variety.
This preaching of the "it's just better" gospel of polyamory is not a standalone phenomenon. There are plenty of members of the poly community who steadfastly believe that polyamory is the next evolution of human relationships, operating on a higher plain of consciousness that I imagine is also populated by astral projecting gurus and the sound of Tibetan singing bowls. Surely, a lifestyle with such a high vibratory frequency will inevitably destroy the old school of tired, traditional monogamy.
I don't claim to be able to predict the future of human evolution (I haven't spent nearly enough time kickin' it on the guru plain), but I'm highly skeptical of any hopes, dreams, or fears of polyamory "beating out" monogamy someday. We here in America live in a culture where rights for homosexuals are actively withheld because of deeply-ingrained fears of the perceived homosexual "agenda"--which include the destruction of traditional families and, even more horrifying, attempts to corrupt and convert normal, God-fearing straights. Proselytizing the message of polyamory sweeping the nation and replacing monogamy does not further acceptance, understanding, or tolerance.
I've encountered some people who feel guilty when they have trouble with polyamory. There are feelings of shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt at having difficulty incorporating a lifestyle that is clearly a more evolved way of living life. Being on this side of the fence, of course it is tempting to ascribe to this. It would be such an ego boost to wake up every morning and pat myself on the back for doing love and relationships WAY better than the rest of the human race. (To be honest, some mornings it is easier to drag myself out of bed if I do hold on to this delusion.)
But the truth of the matter is much less exciting. Communication, honesty, self-awareness, courage, flexibility, centeredness...these are all facets of an "evolved" human being. Do you need these things for successful polyamory? Most definitely. Do you need these things for successful monogamy? Most definitely. Perhaps even more so. The higher-consciousness qualities that are frequently attached to the poly lifestyle are not monopolized by it.
So please, stop pitting polyamory against monogamy in some weird...relationship....Thunderdome. Neither is going to overtake the other. Neither is better than the other. It all boils down to the level of consciousness (and cage battle-readiness) of the people within any given relationship.
Regardless of your relationship status or style, go out and love on as many people as possible. Happy Valentine's Day!
3 Things We Can All Learn About Love from Polyamorous Couples on Valentine's Day Open relationships: boundaries, benefits, and drawbacks Be Mine, and Hers, and His New Sexual Revolution: Should You Be in an Open Relationship? (I'm in this one!)