Sunday, November 20, 2011

There Are Many Forms of Nonmonogamy

Michele Freeman talks cheating, divorce, and nonmonogamy.

However, given that half the people interviewed in the latest Relationships Australia Survey felt that a reason people don’t marry is because of the desire to have multiple relationships, the premise of ‘freedom’ that the movie was built on is an interesting one.

She notes…

For many of us, it can be difficult to imagine what polyamory might look like. Without the usual pop culture cues and media representations afforded to more common relationship structures, our reaction tends to be that it is all a little bit, well, shocking.

It would be good to have more portrayals in media. This reality is also why it is important for LGBT characters and celebrities with relationships to be depicted.

Yet when I immerse myself in the world of mainstream media and websites, there is a wealth of material on the ‘crisis’ of monogamy; columns on settling versus not settling, comic pieces on dates nights and the need to keep romance alive, to laments about the heartbreak of cheating partners, and life after divorce at 40.

Reading these pieces, I can’t help but wonder: could polyamory, which is built around gender equality, free choice, mutual trust and equal respect, be a happy alternative to the flailing institution of long-term monogamy?

For some, yes.

And is the very community that embrace it, sometimes doing the idea a disserve with its own muddled understandings, lack of clear communication, and righteous indignation it flings at anyone who dares struggle with the confronting feelings that can come with having an open relationship?

Nonmonogamists do need to be mindful of representation. That is a reality for anyone who has been discriminated against.

She goes on to write about problems caused by a lack of communication.

It should be clear. Polyamory does not mean leading someone to believe you are monogamous with them while seeing others. Polyamory requires clear agreements. As such, there can still be cheating when there is polyamory, by violating an agreement.

I do think we’ll see more, longer, and happier marriages with less cheating under full marriage equality as adults are freed to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults, without being prosecuted, bullied, or discriminated against.
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