Polyamory: Are There Right Ways To Love?
Separating the myths from the facts.
Over the last few years, most societies seem to have accepted that there is no ‘right’ form or way of love, and all love matters. Yet, we still seem to be surrounded by the fact that we are looking for ‘the one’, and that finding a committed relationship with your ‘soul-mate’ is our real quest in life.
Cinderella stories and fairy-tale endings continue to isolate those who are looking to find more than one love in life. In fact, it is estimated that around 5% of people in the United States are polyamorous, and not only this, but around 20% have attempted to live in a non-monogamous way at some point, and this does include an open relationship.
So, what’s the difference between polyamory and polygamy?
Most people just think polyamory consists in being in an open relationship or having ‘a bit on the side’. But this isn’t necessarily true.
Merriam-Webster defines polyamory as ‘the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time’, whereas polygamy is defined as ‘marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time’. The word polyamory has Greek roots in the words poly, meaning many, and amory, meaning love, so it literally means ‘many loves’.
However, this is just a dictionary definition, and we all know terms like these that involve identification are not that simple to define, especially considering that there is no particular way of being in a polyamorous relationship, they exist in different forms. For example, there could be hierarchies in the relationships or circles of people that romantically intertwine.
The essential point of polyamory is that it’s not just about sex, it’s more about sharing love.
This is also what separates it from an open relationship, which can be seen in purely sexual terms, whereas polyamorous relationships are generally more romantic and not necessarily sexual.
Is it a form of cheating?
The key to the ethics behind polyamory is the idea that the relationships that take place are completely open and honest, and there are no secrets or lies, so the idea that polyamory is a term for an affair is just a common misconception.
How do you know?
So many people simply don’t consider polyamory as an option, purely because they don’t really know about it. Some naturally feel an inclination towards being in love with more than one person at the same time, whereas others become curious and choose to get involved to see what it’s like. Although unconventional and a little different, polyamorous feelings are just as validated as normative relationships between two people.
In a nutshell, polyamory is simply a matter of spreading love and finding a happy ending with more than one person.