Polyamory?

Your how-to guide in loving more than one


| December 8, 2005


It's the archetypal dime-store novel clich? -- the fair damsel can't choose between one suitor and another. What she doesn't know, apparently, is that she could have them both. All she needs is the proper instruction. Franklin Veaux has provided just that -- a website that guides such a lady (or gent) in need through a type of relationship that allows room for more than two -- polyamory.

Polyamory isn't a invention of today's liberated lifestyle culture. The French have known about it for ages -- hence the term m?nage ? trois, which literally translates to 'household for three,' not the racy sexual scenario the phrase currently evokes. Likewise, polyamory isn't just about the sex, Veaux explains. Polyamory defines a committed, long-term relationship between more than two people. What makes it work is the love and emotional intimacy shared by all participants, built just like in a monogamous relationship on a foundation of trust, open communication, and mutual respect. And, says Veaux, when these elements are in place, then you have a network of people who deeply care for one another's well-being, something that is beautiful and emotionally sustaining. Polyamorous relationships often include children and may even provide them with more love and support than many monogamous parental pairings, he says.

It's not a utopia, though, and it's not for everyone. Veaux claims that polyamory and monogamy are relationship styles that people seem hardwired for, either by nature or nurture. And just like with monogamous couples, dysfunction and heartbreak are always possibilities. So becoming poly isn't necessarily an instantaneous recipe for love and happiness. According to Veaux, it's more difficult than monogamy -- you have to carefully maintain each one of your partnerships, and while love may be infinite, time and energy are not. With that in mind, he advises strong caution even in discussing the possibility of polyamory with your partner -- even invoking the term may bring irreversible changes into your relationship. Needless to say, then, it is never something to experiment with if you're even a little uncertain. But, says Veaux, for people who are truly poly, it's something they've always known -- something they've been waiting for their whole lives.
-- Sarah Wash

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