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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dear Abby Completely Ignores Polyamory


One of the frustrating things in the struggle for relationship rights for all adults is an assumption of monogamy-as-ideal in so much media, and this Dear Abby answer (second question) is a perfect example. A "Carlos" in Texas wrote...
I'm 14 and haven't had a girlfriend yet, but I'm curious about something. When I do have one, will it mean I can't love other girls?

Lots of girls tell me I'm nice, friendly and helpful. I love them. When I have a girlfriend or get married, I won't be able to stop loving others. Is this wrong, Abby?

This would be an ideal response...
No, it isn't wrong. Some people are polyamorous. That means that they are oriented towards having relationships with more than one person, with the consent and agreement of all involved. Some people your age know they are polyamorous. Some polyamorous people don't understand or accept that they're polyamorous until they are older. Others find that some other form of ethical nonmonogamy is best for them. There's also a chance you will find that monogamy suits you best, but you are currently going through emotional growing pains.

What is important is that you are honest with yourself, and honest with your potential partners about who you are, what you have to offer, and what you need. That may take some time and experience to figure out. If it turns out you are polyamorous, you'll need partners who accept that you are, whether they are polyamorous or not, just like you'll need to accept your partners for who they are, if you want them as partners.


But this is what was given as the response...
There are varying degrees of love. There is nothing wrong with loving women, as long as you don't love them all at the same time. If you do, it may upset your girlfriend or wife.

When you are ready for a permanent relationship, the feelings you will have for the woman you're involved with will be stronger than those you are feeling now. However, if that doesn't happen, consider it an indication that you either aren't ready to settle down or you were meant to be a bachelor.
Let's review the options given to Carlos (and, by extension, millions of other people in like situations)...

1. Monogamy with a girlfriend or wife
2. Bachelorhood without a girlfriend

There is also "not ready," which presumes one of the two options listed above are the ultimate destination. What does Dear Abby mean by bachelorhood? Hook ups? Celibacy? Something else?

But those options are not the only options. There are many others that are ethical and mutually enjoyed by responsible adults. And teenagers need to know that. They need to know that one size does not fit all. Not every person is oriented towards monogamy, or heterosexuality for that matter.
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