No two polyamorous situations are the same
This next one might be obvious, but I still feel that it’s worth mentioning, which is that no two polyamorous situations are the same. Maybe at some point you’ve run into someone who’s polyamorous, you’ve gotten to know them and their polyamory looks a particular way, and then you walk away from that conversation thinking okay, that’s how polyamory works. I would discourage you from doing that though, because polyamory works. However, whatever the people involved decide that it’s going to work. And maybe one set of polyamorous people, it’s extremely dysfunctional, and they’re miserable, and they don’t talk to each other with much kindness. And then the next set of polyamorous people that you meet are in a flourishing situation. Everyone is pursuing their dreams and has healthy relationships. Clearly it can go many different directions as well as the structure itself. Maybe one set of polyamorous people is in a closed triad, like I’ve mentioned, and maybe another one is sort of this loosely connected network of relationship anarchists. This is also where I want to point out that no matter how many polyamorous people you’ve met, if most of them or all of them have been miserable or most of them or all of them have been very happy, that in no way suggests that polyamory is innately responsible for making people miserable or happy. After all, if you’ve known many monogamous couples who were miserable or who went through horrible abusive breakups, I assume you probably don’t blame monogamy for that because they were monogamous. And similarly, I would encourage you not to automatically blame polyamory for whatever dysfunction you might witness in polyamorous people that you might meet. It’s possible that polyamory could aggravate issues that people have, issues in communication, issues in empathy and compassion. But it isn’t innately a quality of polyamory that people are going to be dysfunctional. Just like if you meet some monogamous people who have extremely dysfunctional relationships, presumably you don’t blame monogamy. Once again, always think about individual situations on their own. But a little caveat here. It is absolutely true that if you force yourself, against your better judgment, to engage in polyamory or to engage in monogamy, that decision can lead to unhappiness because you’re not listening to yourself and your own needs. But once again, that would happen with any decision that isn’t listening to your own needs. Anything that you’re doing purely because you’ve been pressured into it and not because it’s something that you want that does stand a high chance of leading to unhappiness no matter what kind of thing we’re talking about.
Polyamory often involves sacrifice
The next one is that polyamory often involves sacrifice. It’s common to hear polyamorous people say that the potential for love is infinite, but time and energy are not. And it’s said frequently because it’s extremely relevant to polyamory. Fundamentally, time and energy are finite resources, and you have to decide how you want to allocate those. Maybe you have a full life, and you have a partner that you’re really happy with. You have hobbies and interests that light you up, friends that you adore, and a job that is fulfilling. And you know, pretty much every day you wake up, and you have plenty to do from dawn to dusk, and then you decide you want to practice polyamory. Well, I would ask you where are you going to get the time and energy that you’re going to pour into these new relationships? I certainly don’t say that to discourage anyone, but I do think it’s a very, very important consideration before delving into polyamory, or even if you have already been polyamorous. I think it’s important to consider before delving into a new relationship. Are that time and energy going to come from your job? Are you going to cut back hours? Are you going to engage in your hobbies and interests less? Are you going to engage in self-care a little less? Like you’re not going to work out as much, you won’t meditate as much? Maybe you don’t go to church as many days of the week as you have been. Maybe you’re not going to see your friends as often. Any one of these decisions is entirely up to you. But often when people are faced with the reality of making so much space in their life for a new person, they realize that something has to give, and they don’t necessarily want to give up any of the things that are already in their life. It can be a bit of a conundrum. So I would encourage you to really consider this and reflect on it when deciding whether to engage in polyamory and or when deciding whether to add another partner to your life.
Jealousy and compression are both common in polyamory, but neither is ubiquitous
Jealousy and compression are both common in polyamory, but neither is ubiquitous. So the first question most people ask polyamorous people when they learn that they’re polyamorous is don’t you get jealous? Or what about jealousy? And personally, I think that question actually isn’t really the important question. I think it’s more important to consider what emotional turmoil might come up for a person, whether it’s jealousy or something completely different. And specifically, how does that person, and how do the people involved navigate that emotional turmoil? That’s really the more important question. But I do think that most people ask polyamorous people about jealousy mostly out of curiosity because perhaps for them, the thought of polyamory makes them automatically feel jealous at the thought of their partner being with someone else. So it’s natural that they would then want to hear some insights from someone else on whether they even feel jealous and if they do, how they manage it. Jealousy isn’t universal. Not everyone who practices polyamory feels jealous or is inclined toward jealousy. Typically, these people also aren’t terribly jealous in other areas of their life either. They don’t typically get very professionally jealous. They don’t typically get possessive of their friends, things like that. However, jealousy is common within polyamory because it’s common within human beings. And if you’ve ever been kind of jealous that your friend seems to be spending more time with their new friend that they met at work than they are spending with you, then there you go. That is the kind of jealousy that might come up in polyamory very easily, but any given individual is different from the next. So really it’s not a question of whether polyamorous people get jealous, but maybe that person does or doesn’t. Similarly, compersion is common but not universal. And composition, for those who don’t know what that is, is just basically feeling happy feelings when you are aware of or witness your partner being happy with someone else or interacting with someone else, specifically a romantic partner. So if I see my partner holding the hand of their other partner and I feel warm and fuzzy inside when I see it, that’s compersion. The thing about composion is it’s really not required to be happy. And polyamory composition can make things a little easier depending on the situation. But it’s also perfectly fine to actually not really be able to feel composition or not be inclined to feel it. You can feel just sort of neutral about your partner’s other relationships. Maybe you’re happy that they’re happy, but you don’t necessarily get a bunch of butterflies and happy feelings when you see them together. You’re just fine with it. And that’s really as far as it goes. That’s okay. It doesn’t all need to be sparkles and fireworks. Twenty-four seven. I want to make it super clear that if you don’t experience compulsion, but you wish you did, just know there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not failing at polyamory. You’re not lacking something. It’s just fine. It’s fine if you don’t experience it. Don’t beat yourself up.
Polyamory is neither more nor less enlightened than monogamy
Finally, polyamory is neither more nor less enlightened than monogamy. It is extremely common to hear people kind of admire polyamorous. People like, wow, you’ve risen above all these petty human jealousies. Humans are meant to be polyamorous. Wow, that’s so amazing. And that’s very kind, but I respectfully disagree. I think that polyamory is just a way to structure your relationships. It’s not a path to enlightenment or awakening. Yeah, it’s just a way to structure your relationships. It’s not loftier than monogamy, nor is it beneath monogamy. It’s just a choice that you might make for yourself and for your life. After all, this is why on my channel, I’m always encouraging people to just reflect on questions, consider concepts, to come to their own conclusions about what they want for themselves and for their relationships. I am not invested in you or anyone else is polyamorous. I want you and everyone to just find what makes you feel fulfilled, what ignites your soul, what makes you feel like you can look back on your life and see a life well lived. If polyamory is part of that, okay. If monogamy is part of that, okay. These are just choices. They’re not more or less enlightened than anything else you might do in your life that involves structuring your life a particular way.
There you go. I hope that you feel a little more familiar with what Polyamory means, broadly speaking. Of course, if there’s more that you want to know, by all means ask questions down in the comments, and I or some of the other viewers would be happy to answer, answer. And if you are curious about additional ideas and concepts and issues that come up in Polyamory, feel free to check out the rest of my channel. There is other content in there that goes more in depth into some of the things I’ve talked about, and I look forward to making more Polyamory 101 videos in addition to talking about more in depth concepts within Polyamory. Thank you so much for being here and have a great day.