So what is polyamory? Have you ever heard of it? For those who are a little unsure, the word entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, where it is defined as:
"The fact of having simultaneous close emotional relationships with two or more other individuals, viewed as an alternative to monogamy, especially in regard to matters of sexual fidelity; the custom or practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned."
So how would polyamory work in the real world? How can you have a loving sexual relationship with more than one person, and no-one gets jealous or wants to put a stop to things? The whole point of successful polyamory is the fact that everyone who is involved in the situations knows the score and they have all agreed to adhere to a strict ‘code of practice.’ Most of the time, this would involve no-one else being allowed to come into the multiple relationships, without the agreement of all parties involved.
In reality, this can mean that a woman may be married, but both she and her husband have sexual relationships with another one person, (or more) and they all know each other. But not only do they know each other, there is mutual respect, caring, thoughtfulness and love displayed within the relationships. Most of the time people will get jealous about their partner having a perceived affair, but that’s generally because of the lies that need to be told when trying to keep something secret. In polyamorous relationships, however, there is no lying or deceit and so how can anyone be jealous when they know exactly what is happening, and are following the same behavior themselves?
Do people really share their time and love with more than one person, and how would it work practically? For some people who are holding polyamorous relationships, it actually works if they all share a house. As unusual as this may sound, the BBC in the UK featured a much-talked-about the incidence of this kind of relationship working extremely well. There were two married couples all living under one roof. Let’s call the women Ann and Belle; the men, Charlie and Dom. Ann was married to Charlie, but also having a sexual relationship with Dom and Belle; Belle was married to Dom but also having a sexual relationship with Charlie and Ann. The men remained just good friends.
While this polyamorous arrangement might seem unorthodox to their friends and neighbors, it is one which works for them and many thousands just like them, all over the world. They were asked what would constitute a breaking of their agreement, and they all agreed instantaneously on one word: ‘lying.’ The fact that all their dealings are open and honest is what keeps them all happy. And I have to admit to a tiny bit of me being jealous of their polyamorous arrangement. After all, wouldn’t it be good to think that we could have exciting sex with other people, with the agreement of our partner and safe in the knowledge that no-one is going to get hurt? Polyamory could well be the way forward, helping to cut down the horrendous divorce rate. Why line a lawyer’s pockets when you could be spending the money on your polyamorous love nest?