If you haven’t read PART 1 of this post, I suggest you read that first. It will give you the details you need to understand this article.

This post was originally inspired by a woman in a pickle with a man who claimed he was polyamorous and then turned monogamous to be with her, and then he slept with someone else. Read it here…

All relationship and marriage setups are valuable

Let me get this out of the way: I am not advocating that monogamy is the only way. It definitely isn’t.

I respect the value of polygyny (a man has more than one wife), polyandry (a woman has more than one husband), and same sex marriage.

I also respect the role of the levirate (where a man may be obliged to marry his brother’s widow) or sororate (marriage of a man to his wife’s sister(s) if she can’t have children or dies).

However, these ancient marriage practices usually serve to preserve land or resources in some way. And in doing so, the next generation benefits.

Polyamory, however, is different. It’s not a marriage arrangement. Polyamorous people believe that we are capable of loving more than one person, and that our love is not limited (finite).

I don’t doubt that polyamorous relationships can serve people in the short-term.

And I agree; love is infinite.

Well, it can be infinite.

But investment and resources aren’t infinite.

Which is why polyamorous relationships only work (long term) in a utopian world.

And what I mean by ‘work’ is that ultimately, the setup will be put under great stress, because it’s not possible to remove everyone’s feelings from the setup indefinitely. And that’s what polyamory requires: people to detach to varying extents from their partners, and from their emotions.

It’s not that polyamory is not potentially valuable, it could be.

I just don’t think it’s sustainable long term as it is selfish in nature, even if the premise is that we can love a lot more abundantly than we originally believed we could.

I understand that there’s value in removing shame from women and their hunger for sex.

I understand there’s value in removing shame from men who want more love and more sex.

But by taking our needs across multiple partners, and having our partners also take their needs to other partners, are we really liberating ourselves?

What do you feel?

What does your gut instinct say?

Are we liberating ourselves by entering a polyamorous relationship?

Should a woman be the “primary” woman in a polyamorous relationship?

To be the primary in a polyamorous relationship means to be the primary partner in a hierarchical relationship.

It doesn’t really work in practice, though. You may have a primary partner that you get involved with alongside your other partners, but because humans are involved, emotions surface (especially in a romantic and sexual relationship situation), and when human emotion is involved, primary means nothing.

Why?

Because if the secondary or tertiary partner is upset, then they could become the so-called primary (attention goes to them) for however long, often at a cost to the primary woman, and if the secondary partner struggles in the polyamorous situation, then resources can be consistently stripped from the so-called primary partner for the sake of attending to the secondary or tertiary partner.

A Polyamorous relationship is about ‘me, me, me’

Human beings are amazing at connecting and achieving things together. Our bonds and our capacity to love ensures that our very vulnerable, very demanding offspring survive.

However, we are also separate organisms that try to do the best for ourselves. Polyamorous people, like many of us, experience jealousy over their partners/husbands sleeping with another woman.

How can a woman help experiencing jealousy when she has become emotionally attached to a man?! Unless she is exceptional at detaching…and then, really, she’s just a casual partner, she couldn’t be a close partner as it is emotions and attachment that make us care and invest ourselves in someone.

In polyamorous relationships, people usually try to work through jealousy and have compersion as the goal (compersion means learning to be happy for one’s partner gaining pleasure from other partners).

However, polyamory is simply a way to try to secure more freedom. And it’s also an attempt to secure more love, sex, excitement and acceptance from more people.

There’s nothing wrong with this on the surface, except that it can be extremely self-serving, detached and in some cases, naive.

And I am sure that to most people with multiple partners, the attraction is not ‘for more love’ as polyamorous people like to say, but because there are several people involved with them sexually and emotionally, they can spread their eggs over several baskets (partners), and things are more exciting that way, without having to invest fully in one partner.

Essentially, you don’t have to be as vulnerable when you spread your eggs over many baskets. This is because if one partner doesn’t meet some need that you think you have, then you don’t need to challenge yourself to take responsibility for this problem and show up differently for your partner (so that they can be the person you need), you just take from the next partner whatever you want.

When we try to get the long end of the stick…

Humans have a default setting that makes us want the long end of the stick – we want the best for ourselves.

This is not to say that all humans always want the long end of the stick, no. Some rare humans are happy to always give more to the people they love.

But generally speaking, I am of the belief that most polyamorous men enter these relationships to take value – to extract whatever they can from the world and from women around them.

Men, when they look for short-term gratification, get seduced by the glamour of polyamory , because the default setting of the male is to gain abundant access to women to secure their reproductive success.

And, it works….until they realise women are actually not going to make it possible long term. Sooner or later…someone (male or female) muddles the situation, and many polyamorous people keep pushing through the muddled situation, in this kind of relationship under the premise that they just have ‘underlying monogamous values’ from society that should be ignored.

No, it’s not your monogamous values. It’s not society. The very notion is ridiculous. It’s everybody’s internal protective mechanism. We have emotion for a reason. And you can’t cancel them out for the sake of polyamory.

Why would women enter a polyamorous relationship?

I am of the belief that most polyamorous women enter a polyamorous relationship for several reasons.

Because she thinks in her mind that it’s the right choice (ignoring what her body and heart are telling her), because she thinks that she has to compromise in order to get her sexual and emotional needs met, and because she is not confident (nor trusting!) of men and in getting a man all to herself.

Would a woman who chooses polyamory be the type of woman who is trusting, surrendered, emotionally open? I don’t know. What do you think?

It’s not that I don’t believe some women actually want a polyamorous relationship. Sure they do.

I just think they want it because they want more, without sacrificing too much of themselves. Without having to be loyal.

But by wanting more in this fashion, they also have to give less loyalty and invest their emotions in each person less.

When a woman is confident in getting and having a man’s resources all to herself, then she wouldn’t bother with polyamory.

Why share a man when that man is never going to be in love with you?

Maybe she doesn’t want men in love with her. Fair enough, that’s a fair reason.

When a man is in love, he is not going to want to share.

Owning someone is deeper, and more passionate than sharing them with multiple people

If a woman knows she has enough value to give to a high quality man, then why settle for polyamory when you can own a man completely and have him own you?

(Owning someone is not about owning in the typical sense. Owning someone is about taking responsibility for meeting their needs! As opposed to making decisions from scarcity, thinking of yourself mostly and extracting value from several partners.)

Polyamory is not wrong. I just don’t believe it’s a natural desire of women to get involved in it if her nature is loyal and trusting.

You can’t be loyal when you share your body and heart with several different partners.
You can of course be loving, sexual, and fun and even interesting, but you can’t be loyal.

Because of the lack of loyalty, a lot of women find their polyamorous male partners dump all his partners when he falls in love with his one and only.

It’s harder for a man to fall in love with you if you are polyamorous…

The arrangement of polyamory makes it so that basically, a man has to emotionally remove himself from his partners to sustain the arrangement long-term. And if a man is emotionally removed, it’s impossible for him to fall in love. And when the impossible becomes possible….well, to hell with polyamory because no man in love is that stupid.

It’s harder (not impossible) for a man to fall in love with the women he is involved with polyamorously, because biologically speaking, it doesn’t serve men to fall in love with a woman who is sexually involved with several men. It is far too risky for him.

If he DOES fall in love with one of his polyamorous partners, then he will ruin the so- called egalitarian polyamorous situation and drive everyone mad with his emotions of jealousy.

Human beings aren’t generally made to be too stupid; we have jealousy not just to be ‘worked through to have compersion as a goal’, but to ensure that our resources don’t get wasted. It protects our own emotional, parental and sexual resources.

Polyamory and jealousy

Even the polyamorous people in a longitudinal study by Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, who claimed to never experience jealousy, eventually come back after 15 years and reported that they finally knew what it was like to feel jealous. Read more about that in this article.

Apparently, some polyamorous people still remained non- jealous people. And whilst I do believe that not everybody is built the same, and I am willing to entertain the possibility that some people may never experience jealousy, I would think that a lot of people have just learned to shut-off from their feelings, for the sake of a perceived high returns of sex, attention and affection.

I believe that a lot of us would never truly enjoy being with a partner who has never experienced romantic jealousy in relation to ourselves and the relationship. Sure, we don’t want a violently jealous partner!

But it would be nice for a man or woman to be invested enough in us that they would actually care deeply if we took our sexual desire and emotional affections and shared it.

And some people who go into polyamorous relationships, especially men, generally do so because they perceive they can get more this way, without pondering the concept of adding more value to their one woman first.

Often we may find that just by adding more value to the one partner we already love, that we actually get more love and devotion back. Sometimes the most selfish thing you can do is to be selfless.

You can never give all partners equal love!

Polyamorous people, as I’ve learned in my own research, tend to believe in egalitarianism.

But you just can’t treat all partners equally in practise. This is not a judgement, this is how it is.

Why can’t you treat partners equally in practise?

When you try to make everything equal, you are more removed from your relationships – another word for it is detached.

In order to give equally, you need to be detached.

And when you try to give all partners equal time and energy and money and attention, you’re thinking about equality rather than value.

When you don’t look to add value, and rather look to be egalitarian, then you can’t add value to all partners involved. It’s impossible.

Often, in a polyamorous situation, there is always one person taking more and wanting more, or getting pissed that a man spent his Valentine’s night with his primary instead of his secondary partner. And so on Valentine’s night, secondary partner doesn’t get the value she truly wants.

Very equal isn’t it?

It’s never ‘equal’, no matter how much polyamorous people want to say they treat their partners equally.

The very act of trying to make things equal eventually means everything becomes very unequal, because one person’s emotional needs will go vastly unmet in the name of treating all partners equally, and giving them equal love and time. This usually happens at the expense of the others needing their emotional needs met.

It can never be equal. Because we are talking about human emotions here, which change rapidly and get triggered rapidly.

Take this story for example.

A lady was married to a man who is polyamorous. Since this lady was his wife and had his children, she was his so-called ‘primary’ woman. As his primary woman, you’d think she’d get taken care of the most, emotionally, wouldn’t you? You’d think she’d get the most time and effort from her husband, wouldn’t you?

Pfffft, no. She didn’t. Why? Because her husband’s other woman was insecure about not being the primary woman. So this man in this polyamorous relationship was often taking his secondary woman’s calls during family dinners, interrupting family time, because his other woman wasn’t the ‘primary’ and she needs her feelings to be reassured and taken care of.

Most of the husband’s time and effort went to the secondary woman, even though a primary partner/woman is meant to be a person’s ‘primary partner’ in a hierarchical primary/secondary relationship!

You see how this can never be equal?

Women are made to be sensitive to men taking their emotional resources, time, and sexual energy elsewhere.

Men are made to be sensitive to women taking their sexuality and time and effort elsewhere.

In order to ‘accept’ your partner’s other partners into your life (or even live under the same roof altogether), you have to either perceive great returns in your acceptance of other partners for your partner(s), or you have to block your emotions out, until they just fester too much.

Eventually, that will cause some partners to blow up in resentment, or cause each partner to accept the situation as it is, and tolerate it because they now have the identity that they are polyamorous and a progressive, accepting type of person….forgetting that they can, in fact, have total happiness and devotion with one partner.

Monogamy is not just a belief system – it’s called pair bonding. Nature wants us to team up with and fall in love with one partner. Monogamy doesn’t mean you have to mate with one person for life. It means you give your sexual resources to one person for a time. That could be a lifetime, or it could be months.

Men wanting more sexual and emotional access to women…

Some particular types of men will say anything to gather women in their very own harem or polyamorous setup.

They think they can give equally, but they can’t. And women know this intuitively because we are generally sensitive to where a man’s emotional, financial and physical resources are going. We had to be to ensure survival of our children for the last many years on earth (which is why I suggest women listen to their hearts and their gut instinct).

We may block out this sensitivity, but it catches up with us somehow.

We all want the best for ourselves. Some of us are less selfish than others. That’s the truth about humans. We want to get the best for ourselves. But with loyalty, we do the best for each other. Not just ourselves. And I think loyalty is the trait we are after in a man.

Polyamory might be a great way to experience the variety of sexual intimacy one thinks they need. However. That can be experienced with one person too. You just have to show up differently, in order to inspire a different side of your partner.

In order to show up differently, it helps to be together in totally new surroundings. Because new surroundings trigger different parts of you.

Take how this polyamorous lady described sex with her different partners…

“Sex with John,’ says Nan, ‘is consistent and sweet; he’s an amazing lover. Julio is very different. Our relationship is newer, so it feels more exciting and less certain. He’s charming, charismatic and full of energy. We often have sex a few times a day, experimenting with different positions. If I really like one, I share it with John the next time we’re alone together.”

(Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2006/jul/09/familyandrelationships2)

 

Their main partner gets consistent and sweet: code for unexciting. So they/she needs to engage with different types of people to feel excited.

The real issue here is that it’s not that her main partner is boring or unexciting, it is that neither of them have taken the plunge to engage with each other in a new way. So their next best solution was to eat somewhere else.

Everyone has the ability to be different parts of themselves. The most boring men can develop a dark side. The nicest guys can develop a bad boy energy.

I’m not saying monogamy is the only way.

I’m saying monogamy takes loyalty. Which a lot of people aren’t willing to give. Disloyal people want what seems best in the short term (for themselves!)

They will never do what’s good for the relationship because their priority is themselves!

So, to all women reading this…how do you feel about choosing to value the loyal man? It’s hard to believe they are out there when one has never shown up for you. But there are so many of them out there. Men live to commit to a high value woman.

Also, make the sacrifice of showing that you are willing to be loyal. It’s hard, it’s just as hard for women to be loyal as it is for a man to be loyal.

But isn’t that depth with one person the thing that makes life rich and worth living (and dying) for?

Here are 7 Signs A Man Is Being Low Value

On the need for freedom…

I understand the need for sexual variety. I understand the craving for a newness. It is a need of humans. Not just men.

So I understand what a guy is saying when he says “I realize you don’t get everything with someone you want to settle down with. I have been in monogamous relationships and been happy, I just don’t want the feeling of shutting myself down.”

(The above statement was from this story in the first part of this two-part write up about polyamory).

What he means is, he doesn’t want to offer himself completely. He doesn’t want the risk that comes with monogamy.

(If you want to know the story I am referring to here, please see PART 1 of this two part article.)

He doesn’t want to risk himself for a one and only. Maybe he just has never met his one and only. Maybe he doesn’t believe such a thing exists. It definitely seems like he doesn’t.

There’s a price to pay for going through lots of partners…

And maybe…just maybe, he is paying the price of going through too many women.

The more people you go through in the name of variety and ‘shiny object syndrome’, the less you believe in the ‘one and only’.

I do know that there is a price to pay for men and women when they get involved in relationships or get intimate with lots of people.

You can lose innocence. You can become fearful and jaded. Because you may never have been with someone who takes risks for you. Someone who lays themselves on the line for you. Being with lots of people comes with the cost of people not really caring for you that much.

They may say they care, but when it comes to the punchline, how much do they really care?

Will they give to you at their own expense?

They can’t care that much when they’ve never had to make huge sacrifices just to invest in you and in a relationship with you!

Don’t you want a man who would die for you? I’m sorry, not sorry if that sounds greedy.

But it’s not greedy. It’s normal to want that kind of passion. We only have so much time on this earth. Why waste it with people who are only half-assed with you?

These are the kind of people who don’t value your heart and soul and would toss it away when another shiny opportunity comes along.

Monogamous relationships seem like such a risk…

A monogamous relationship seems like a risk for both men and women, in certain contexts. And it is. It IS a risk.

However, you will always feel that it is a big risk when that one person is not your 10/10, your one and only.

My husband and I have sacrificed all other options for each other for the last almost 13 years. We’ve made this sacrifice through our so-called ‘best’ years. Our reproductive prime.

I am very aware of the so-called “options” in partners that other people might think I’ve left behind. And I’m very aware of the options David has sacrificed to commit solely to me for this long.

But what is life about if it isn’t about each other?

What is life about if it isn’t about the one and only?

What are our souls worth if we can’t give ourselves to one person?

The art of self-sacrifice is to give of yourself to your one and only, so that you can both build a better future together and have the sacred relationships that other people dream of.

What to do now?

This is just a process of learning to be smarter and one step ahead of men who are in it to take value from you.

The final thing to do is really focus on learning about men and about relationships. Get relationship skills. Learn about what men’s hopes, dreams, fears and motivations are, and why.

Consider trying to add value, not spread your eggs. You can never add value when you spread your eggs in many baskets.

Learn about what men value when it comes to committing to one woman for life. And also learn about how to trust in yourself to exert your own boundaries – how to say ‘no!’

A good course for this is Understanding Men. Check it out here: http://shenwademedia.com/offer/understanding-men/

I know it seems unfair that you have to learn about men. But that’s what smart women do. Smart women seek to understand and appreciate men first. (See: Smart women seek to understand and appreciate men first).

I hope you enjoyed part 2 of this 2-part series on polyamory. It is a tough dating world out there today, but never think that you cannot get the commitment of a man for life. Because you can.

renee-wade

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12 Comments on "Polyamory: Why It Would Never Work Long-Term"

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Jasmine
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Already wrote a long peice in response to Anna C so read that if you want an in depth response on the natural aspect. But in the past and among many hunter gather societies arrangements that we would call polyamours is not uncommon were both especially men but yes even women may have more than one regular sexual partner. Among the Musuo or aka the Na people you have what could be called a rotation system were you have short term relationships and then move on to the next. They are matrilineal and some anthropologist will even call them more… Read more »
EveZumba
Guest

I agree with you. Finally someone has expressed this perfectly. The circles I run in are hugely promoting polyamory. it looks glamorous & fun; but, like most things glamorous & fun, have a limited shelf life

Anna C
Guest

Excellent analysis Renée. I especially loved it from a resource standpoint, comparing it to older forms of marriage and then to people demanding resources to take value. The primary is never the primary until all others are out of the picture. Humans are meant to be monogamous- because of our long development period.

Renee Wade
Guest

So lovely to see you around Anna! Love that you still visit. 🙂

Jasmine
Guest
There is no meant to be in the word of natural selection and from a scientific point of view it is baseless. Now one can argue for monogamy but not from a evolutionary argument which is an appeal to nature fallacy anyway. Sexual monogamy is rare in nature and among humans. It is not common among hunter gathers and was not common among our ancestors. In fact before we started to live closer with animals the connection between sex and reproduction was not commonly known. In many hunter gather societies it is not uncommon for men especially to have many… Read more »
Sylvia Norrington
Guest

I agree. I want to be the chosen one and not an option and I want to feel that I am his everything. I don’t think poly people truly love each other, they may care about each other but at the end it’s about sex. Wanting to have sex freely with many people without real commitment.

Renee Wade
Guest

Thanks for sharing your perspective Sylvia 🙂

Jasmine
Guest

That is scientifically incorrect from what we know and consider many cultures especially hunter gathers do have relationships we would call poly your judging whole societies. Maby of them are hunter gather and may not have a concept of romance as we do but they thrive anyway.

JaneWilder
Guest

basically it is just creepy men who want to manipulate women into sex and loyalty to them with no reciprocation. Don’t do it. He sounds like a narcissist , a borderline, or maybe even a sociopath. RUN away. Find someone who loves and wants YOU.

aarre arkku
Guest
I’m an asexual woman in a poly triad. As someone who doesn’t associate love with sex, the whole thing gets a lot simpler. Me and my partners are living together, we’re emotionally invested and have built a life together. There’s one thing: only one of us is heterosexual. Me and my partner of 6 years are asexual, and desire only the closeness of minds and souls. The third person loves both of us deeply, but has the desire/need to have sex. He has “friends with benefits” he meets to get that, and it works out for us. I get that… Read more »
Renee Wade
Guest

Hello aare, thanks for sharing your perspective, very valuable. Just curious, are you and your partner of 6 years both female/both male?

aarre arkku
Guest

I’m female and my partners are female-to-male transgender (6 years together) and male (3 years together).

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