How does polyamory give what you need?

Emmerik

New member
What if polyamory is just a means to an end? A specific strategy to meet underlying needs?

I understand polyamory can be an orientation, or a way of being, and not "just" a lifestyle choice. I know it is for me. Yet I have chosen to be in a monogamous relationship because I have found alternatives to polyamory to meet my needs. For example:

- In monogamy, I felt guilty for flirting and feeling attracted to others. I've dealt with this and now I can flirt without feeling guilty.
- I enjoy having emotional intimate relationships. But, I can still have them as long as there is no romance or sex involved.
- I feel more myself, more free, more grounded in polyamory. But, when I disentangle myself and solve enmeshment and co-dependency issues in my monogamous relationship, I can discover a similar feeling of me-ness, freedom and grounding.
- I enjoy that different people bring up different parts in me. But I can still do this - have a life and friends outside my primary relationship.
- I enjoy having romance and sex in my life. But although it can be more work to rekindle passion in a longterm relationship, it is possible.
- I enjoy the excitement and adventure of meeting new people, but I can still do that if it doesn't lead to sex.

Sure, some of these things might be easier, more rich or more fun when being polyamorous, the fact is that I can meet all my needs in a monogamous relationship. When a poly-mono couple is talking about opening up, often a lot of pressure is on the mono to meet her/his needs for security, love, etc in other ways than monogamy. Rarely I hear the poly-partner explore new ways to meet their needs in other ways than polyamory.

So, I wonder, how does polyamory give you what YOU need? What needs are met with polyamory? (and could you imagine other ways to meet that?)
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
My need is to have the choice of how I interact with people*.

Being married, or otherwise committed to someone, doesn't prevent me getting to know new people, or connecting with old friends, AND letting that unfold however is natural to me and them. Some may become passing acquaintances, some may become sexual partners, some may become platonic good mates and everything in between, but important to me is that I am not limiting what might be with one because of what is with another. I also do this with the foundation of loving kindness to, and clear communication with, the people who are particularly close to me (e.g. husband and partner).

*rather than uncritically follow the cultural norm of my upbringing which so often grated against my nature as I was learning to date as a late teenager.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Emmerik,

You're right, polyamory is not the end-all be-all of relationships, it is entirely possible to meet your needs within monogamy. It's cool that you noticed that.

In my situation, I fell in love with a married woman. The monogamous answer would have been to not pursue that, I didn't *have* to be with that particular woman. We simply opted for a polyamorous solution; the three of us (me, her, and her husband) are now in an MFM V. It works for us.

I will say that I also like "being a part of the poly movement," it's kind of like a bonus when there happens to be three of us. But I could support the poly movement without actually being in it.

Each person is unique, and each relationship is unique.
Regards,
Kevin T.
 

HaloOnFire

Active member
I am unsure if I am answering your question correctly, however, if I am missing something, please feel free to let me know. Occasionally, I miss the mark and while it is an answer to A question, it's just not the answer to THE question the other person has asked. :)


I am what as known as "poly flexible". What this means is that while I am in a 12+ year marriage with my husband, I am open to the possibility of a V relationship, with either myself or my DH as the hinge. Mind you, there are many, many considerations to take into account, however, with the right sort, I could easily be the hinge again.

Now, mind you, the term "again" was used in the last sentence because when I was in polyamorous relationships previously, I had no idea that the term even existed. Once in my 20's, and again in my 30's, I was single at the time and had not one but two boyfriends. They both knew about one another and no one cared. Well, I say no one, however, a bunch of Nosey Parkers thought it was their solemn duty get me to see the error of my ways and "pick one because you can't have both"/ Well, bullshit, because I CAN and I DO. :) At this point, being married, at least for me, brings in more considerations and more to discuss and talk about. If I were single again, I would probably be that one Aunt of the family that drives really outrageous sports cars with a dude in the front, 2 more in the back, blasting out heavy metal when showing up late at Thanksgiving. :)

Hope this long winded explanation helped a bit. :)
 

Ariakas

Bosun
Poly doesn't give me what I need.

Being non monogamous gives me the things I want (sometimes) but also causes tremendous stress and strife. It ain't easy.
Poly is a potential outcome of that non-monogamy that happens sometimes.

I try not to look for poly, it might or might not happen.
 

LoveBunny

Active member
When I first came out over 20 years ago as bisexual, poly seemed like the only possible way to find relationship satisfaction. How could I be satisfied with just one gender?

I think as I've gotten older and found my own balance of male/female energy within me, I've started attracting partners who are more complimentary to me in their male/female energies. Like these partners fulfill both my needs for a strong man and a soft woman.

More than once, poly has "just happened" to me. I was attracted to more than one person I was dating at once, or fell for someone while I was already in a relationship. I definitely feel safer in a relationship structure that acknowledges that sometimes this happens, it shouldn't necessarily mean blowing up your life, breaking up, and going separate ways.

At other times, I've been poly because something in a specific relationship was "missing," (specifically, commitment, passion, or sexual variety,) so I went looking for those things elsewhere, but usually I'd end up leaving the original unsatisfying relationship.

Lately, I find myself wanting something closer to monogamy, with a single partner who makes me feel "polysaturated." Like I want all the benefits of poly--the deeply honest communication, the sexual variety (harder to accomplish with one partner vs. many, but it's possible?) and the ability to be unconventional and not trap ourselves in traditional gender roles. I like being able to go out and flirt, have deep friendships, express attractions, have separate interests from my partner, all that.

But I don't *need* multiple partners, and can fairly easily settle in with one very satisfying partner if they have a lot of time, energy and libido for me. Bonus: I get to avoid the things about poly that I dislike, namely the division of time and sexual energy, relationship spillover & bleed through, and the jealousy I feel over my partner's other partners.

My boyfriend would argue, I think, that he *needs* poly as way to self-explore and stay open to the world.

Really interesting thread!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
- In monogamy, I felt guilty for flirting and feeling attracted to others. I've dealt with this and now I can flirt without feeling guilty.
- I enjoy having emotional intimate relationships. But, I can still have them as long as there is no romance or sex involved.
- I feel more myself, more free, more grounded in polyamory. But, when I disentangle myself and solve enmeshment and co-dependency issues in my monogamous relationship, I can discover a similar feeling of me-ness, freedom and grounding.
- I enjoy that different people bring up different parts in me. But I can still do this - have a life and friends outside my primary relationship.
- I enjoy having romance and sex in my life. But although it can be more work to rekindle passion in a longterm relationship, it is possible.
- I enjoy the excitement and adventure of meeting new people, but I can still do that if it doesn't lead to sex.

I have all those things. I don't think they are "poly things" per se.

  • I do flirt without feeling guilty. I have several flirtable friends. We enjoy the flirting and we all know it's just that. Nobody wants to pursue more.
  • I do have emotionally and mentally intimate friendships. No romance or sex involved.
  • I am me, living authentically.
  • I enjoy that different people bring up different parts in me. I do have a life and friends outside my marriage.
  • I do spend quality time with my spouse.
  • I do like meeting new people. I don't share sex with them.

To me it's more like "comfortable in my own skin" and "balanced living" things. And not signing up for the idea that in a marriage, my spouse has to be eeeeeverything to me. Or me him.

Taken to the extreme conclusion, because I'm younger than him and he's likely to die first... THAT'S the deal? I can't have any other meaningful relationships in my life til he dies cuz he's supposed to be my eeeeeverything? And because I didn't build any along the way during the marriage, I have nobody to help or comfort me when I bury him?

That is awesome... HOW? Humans are social creatures. They need more than just interaction with one person.

Sure, some of these things might be easier, more rich or more fun when being polyamorous, the fact is that I can meet all my needs in a monogamous relationship.

I don't think any of those things would be easier while practicing poly because all of those things are an inside job. Personal work one has to do for themselves. They either do it or not. Regardless of being single, partnered monogamously, or partnered polyamorously.

When a poly-mono couple is talking about opening up, often a lot of pressure is on the mono to meet her/his needs for security, love, etc in other ways than monogamy. Rarely I hear the poly-partner explore new ways to meet their needs in other ways than polyamory.

I don't think anyone has to feel pressured to do anything that goes against their own grain, their own values, their own wants. If they are pressuring themselves? They could stop. If someone else is pressuring them? They could tell them "no."

But being ABLE to do so, requires... that's right. Being comfortable in your own skin, having a good sense of your own self. Maybe also having other relationships to turn to for support, reality checks, and comfort.

It is possible for the theoretical couple to reach a middle place.
  • The mono person becomes more open to hearing the spouse's poly thoughts and feelings so they don't go around bottled up. It becomes Open enough for the the poly person.
  • The poly person doesn't see anyone else, so it remains Closed enough for the mono person.
If that works for them? Why not?

If it doesn't work out for them? Then they have to figure something else out or accept they want very opposite things and a middle cannot be found.

Because one or the other bending into pretzels to their own detriment just to keep THAT relationship shape going isn't healthy.

Easier to allow the relationship shape to change to something that fits better. (ex: good exes) Let go of the pressure.

So, I wonder, how does polyamory give you what YOU need? What needs are met with polyamory? (and could you imagine other ways to meet that?)

It gives me nothing I don't already have. It's simply another relationship model.

I identify as polyamorous. (The desire or capacity to love more than 1 sweetie.)

But do I have to be doing it every second of the day to feel ok in myself? Be multi-partnered? No.

It's fun when I have been, but it's also being a PITA when I have been. Because it's just more people to have to attend to and balance. Like "yay! more" but also "ugh, more!"

Galagirl
 
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3908

Member
very thought provoking informative post, lots of stuff to think about relating to my own poly interest and relationship circumstances.
I appreciate all of your comments here, and look forward to anyone elses comments.
 

Token2

Member
Poly doesn't give me what I need.

Being non monogamous gives me the things I want (sometimes) but also causes tremendous stress and strife. It ain't easy.
Poly is a potential outcome of that non-monogamy that happens sometimes.

I try not to look for poly, it might or might not happen.

This mirrors my thoughts a bit - except I find mono-amorous ENM to be way more easy and simple to navigate than polyamory - I don't have much poly experience but what I have experienced swings between a lovely bliss and then feeling crappy because I'm invested in what is ultimately an unsatisfactory relationship - due mainly to covid restrictions (we literally have guarded borders stopping us from being able to see eachother), long distance and falling for someone who isn't good with anything too complicated...

My primary relationship gives me everything that I need, my secondary relationship has become almost non-existent so with that my experience of being poly feels unfullfilling but one thing I didn't realise I needed was a ton of self reflection on how I relate to others - and what unresolved baggage I'm carrying from relationships that ended 28 to 30+ years ago (been with my primary/nesting since 94).

That's been a gift.

A very uncomfortable, raw and painful gift but I can feel I'll be better for it.

One day.
 

Inaniel

Active member
I agree with the sentiment that polyamory is not a "need". When I think about defining "need" I go into a spiral of thought so defining it in terms of "wants" makes a lot more sense to me.

Polyamory is basically the result of my love for sexual variety... When I was young I resented the prevailing classic relationship structure because it prevented me from consenting to sexual experiences with new people. Most of my relationships where open, and the ones that weren't basically crashed and burned because I cheated. Eventually I made it a rule that all of my relationships would be open.

What I appreciated about open relationships is that I didn't have to teardown my ongoing romantic relationship just because I had sex with a different person. As I gained in years secondary random sex turned into secondary ongoing sex, which fostered affection and love. Enter polyamory... I have settled into a cohabitating poly relationship ~ kitchen table.. And I have a growing distaste for relationship hierarchies. My relationships are my family, I feel as though I love my partners equally.

Not many on this forum practice Poly the way I do. But that is one of the awesome things about poly, it's a relationship structure with a very broad definition. I now realize what I appreciated about open relationships in the past, is also what I appreciate about polyamory but in a different way. Many of us build towers with those whom we are in relationships with; particularly as we age. Maybe that tower is manifested as children, or a home, or a business... Monogamy, in a classical sense, dictates segregation of these assets based on who you are having sex with. And that is putting it lightly, I think more people than not end up tearing down the entire tower so that they can start all over with someone else. Sex is often the catalyst for all of this trouble... Poly, in my mind, redefines sex and love so that they do not carry the potential of such tragic losses in my life.

Now that I have experienced living with more than one partner, and have seen the fruits of division of labor, combination of resources, quantity of sex, and emotional support... This is my preferred configuration...

For now what I appreciate about poly, is that I can be an uninhibited father to my child, and after helping with homework, or reading bedtime stories. I can easily transition into participating in a sexual experience with one of two lovely women, or both. And when someone needs to get out of town for a while, two others are present to pick up the slack; and when I need a helping hand with something, someone is always available; and when it's time to pay the bills, we all have more leftover than we would otherwise.

If my situation were different, if I did not have a young child, and if I no longer had a desire to complicate my relationships with entanglements. Perhaps I would reject the relationship escalator, and lean toward serial monogamy for the benefits of dating within that space... Nowadays I think I could easily focus on one person during NRE.

However, at this time in my life, given my position and goals, poly has checked-off a lot of "wants" for me...
 
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