Steve Pavlina has written extensively about is polyamorous marriage with his wife Erin. Steve writes a personal development for smart people blog and gets millions of uniques a month, so I would be surprised if you never stumbled upon one of his articles (there quite good by the way). So what the heck is polyamory?
It is the practice of having many intimate, both physical and emotional, relationships. With the consent of everyone involved. Like friends with benefits, or like dating multiple people at the same time before you commit to just one. Except no one gets hurt. Or do they? Well get into this.
Honestly, I have no idea how a polyamorous marriage could work. It goes against the whole idea of what a marriage is. First off, girls are different than guys. Particularly when it comes to sex. Girls need a reason, guys need a place. Being in a committed relationship with someone and sharing them physically or emotionally with someone else is playing with fire and inherently hurtful.
Swing Swing to the Other Side
First off, lets look at swinging. Swingers are couples who swap partners for sex, and just sex. This is a good deal for guys as sex with someone new and someone you don’t really know is just shallow physical sex. However for girls, sex is always a bit more emotional. Even if its in a swinging environment where it is supposed to be just fun shallow sex. One person is inherently bound to get hurt. The guy could become jealous, the girl could develop feelings for her other partners, the other guys could be better in bed, whatever. A rift is likely to occur.
But what if they don’t swing and get it on the side behind each others back? Well, perhaps they should not be in a committed relationship to begin with. Or maybe they could have this sort of relationship with one another, but it is not a “till death do us part” type agreement. Without the commitment, two things will happen: 1) you will both grow apart because your not committed to one another and the relationship. You don’t have to see each other and your actively seeing other people. Both of you will simply grow apart and move on. When that happens, the relationship is be over OR 2) One person will start to want more (IE commitment) and the relationship will be over because the other person does not want the same thing. Could swinging work? I won’t say that it could never work, it could, but it certainly takes a certain type of person/couple and mentality to make it work.
Onward to Polyamory!
Polyamory and marriage go together like chocolate ice cream and an onion (Thanks Simon Cowell). In someways, polyamory embodies the ultimate betrayal of your partner. It not just about sex, its about forming a deep relationship with another person. How could that ever work in a marriage? The idea of marriage apart from being exclusive, is the idea of it being sacred. That the connection you have with one another you do not have with anyone else on the same level.
If its not on the same level, your not sharing. That is why swinging could work. Sex is sex, but that’s all it is, the emotion, the love, the commitment, belongs to your partner and no one else can have that. I love my mom and dad, I care for my friends, but my girl? That is unique and special, with no one else. In my case physically and emotionally. However Steve is a thinker, here is what he wrote about his relationship back in 08:
As wonderful as our relationship has been, for a long time it has felt like something important is missing. The thought that I would never enjoy a deep, intimate relationship with any other woman really started to bother me. I felt like if I stayed married to Erin, I’d be missing out on a huge area of potential growth for the rest of my life. But more importantly, I felt that I had more love to give that was getting bottled up inside me with no good outlet for expressing it. If I stayed married to Erin, I’d have to accept that so many wonderful opportunities for love and connection with other people would never happen. I wasn’t willing to accept that.
I’m referring to both physical and emotional intimacy. For me the two are hard to separate.
I get what Steve means, it really is not about sex, but that is not why a polyamorous marriage could not work. It is because the deep connection is not exclusive. There is nothing special about your commitment to that one person, if you have that sort of commitment to many. That’s what makes love and marriage special. The deep connection you have with that one special person, you do not have with anyone else. Not that you force yourself to NOT have it with anyone else, but that you just simply don’t. Why? Perhaps it is a sign that you have not yet meet that one true person. That one person who makes you not want anyone else because no one else compares and because no one else will do. That having many deep relationships in addition to having a marriage make the marriage just another deep relationship and not a marriage. Perhaps I am wrong though, maybe I am missing out on the many deep spiritual/physical/emotional connections I could be making with other girls, but I don’t think so. I don’t feel if something is missing. Perhaps Steve is the embodiment of what many girls complain about. He is a guy who just can’t commit.