Polyamory a legitimate source of mutual respect, support

Staff Writer

Love is infinite, right? The Hollywood love stories and romantic novels all say so. Hearing such a statement is comforting and idealistic, and for the polyamorous community it is a daily practice.

Polyamory is the practice of having multiple intimate, romantic relationships, with the consent of all parties involved. Like the root of the word itself, polyamory is varied as the partners involved in polyamorous relationships.

Some people choose to have primary and secondary partners. For example, a woman may have a husband and a boyfriend where the husband is considered a life partner while the boyfriend is a committed, but possibly less permanent fixture in the woman’s life. Other people choose to have interactions with their multiple partners and no concept of a primary or secondary partner.

This likely sounds like just another branch on the tree of hook-up culture, but that is an unfair assessment of polyamory. The idea of polyamory is that romantic love is not a finite thing and that romance can exist in a multitude of forms.

Commentaries on being a polyamorist emphasize consent, trust, open communication and love. The community tends to specify that they are not “swingers” (couples that have sex with others recreationally) or “cheating” on their partners, since consent of all parties involved is required. The relationships people have with one another are about those people first and foremost.

Just as the LGBT community should not have to constantly justify their romantic interactions to the heteronormative standards of American culture, the polyamorous community should not have to justify themselves either.

It is with the word “consent” that polyamory shows its validity and its strength. If adults wish to engage in relationships that do not conform to monogamous standards set by our society, with all parties involved knowingly participating, then they should be able to do so.

I have watched a handful of friends in polyamorous relationships and their successes or failures are based around open communication. Consent should be provided each and every time partners have intimate interactions with one another. People change their minds and have every right to do so, but if you are comfortable with multiple partners and your partners are equally comfortable, the thoughts of other people should not be affecting your choices.

Relationships are always complicated; they always involve compromises and expectations, but from my understanding honest communication is the number one factor in staying in a relationship.

I thoroughly believe that if being in polyamorous relationships enables you to have better communication and interactions with your partners, that it is healthy. 

This does not mean that everyone should have multiple partners. It means that whether you are single, in a monogamous relationship, or in a polyamorous relationship, you need to show respect and love and kindness toward the people with whom you engage, and the labels, for some of us, simply do not matter.