Monday, October 29, 2012

Polymory, Monogamy, and Cheating

The very helpful Charlie Glickman reminds us that "Polyamory Isn't An Alternative to Cheating"...
Polyamory isn’t an alternative to cheating, it’s an alternative to monogamy.
He goes on to explain...
You know what the alternative to cheating is? Honesty, communication, and abiding by your agreements. No matter what relationship works for you, no matter how many partners you have at any given time, the alternative to cheating is being honest with yourself and with your partner(s), and doing what you say you will.

I get that if you’re unhappy in an ostensibly monogamous relationship or if your needs aren’t being met, there can be a temptation to seek someone outside those boundaries. And you know what? People in open relationships sometimes do the same thing. After all, just because your relationship is open doesn’t necessarily mean you feel comfortable telling your partner(s) what you want, and sometimes, people cheat.
Cheating is breaking the rules, whichever rules you choose.
The only sense in which polyamory is ever "an alternative to cheating" is when someone who has tried to be monogamous, who has promised to be monogamous, but has ended up cheating, is honest with himself or herself and partner and admits monogamy isn't for them, and that they are polyamorous.... if that is indeed the case. There is a difference between a polyamorous person who has tried and failed to be monogamous and someone who is hostile or destructive to their partner, and that has expressed itself in cheating. This difference must be determined or the cheater will likely cheat even in a polyamorous relationship.

All of these issues can be dealt with better if polyamorous people are protected against discrimination. Punishing people for being polyamorous makes things worse for all, including pressuring polyamorists into make promises of monogamy.

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