Polyamory is effective if you communicate correctly – The Rocky Mountain Collegian

College student | Blush cat

Three people stand together in a triangle formation on 9/11. Training is a metaphor for polyamory, which is defined as engaging in multiple romantic and sometimes sexual relationships with the consent of everyone involved. Photo illustrated by Cat Blouch.

Editor’s note: All content in the opinion section reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a position taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

In 2022, who can truly define love?

As society changes rapidly and we move towards new structures of communication, new structures surrounding relationships are created. Research has become more prevalent in the areas of gender and sexuality, and we are beginning to understand relational structures that go beyond the “traditional” framework.

One of these relationship structures is polyamory. According to Chapter 16, “The Monogamous Couple, Gender Hegemony, and Polyamory,” in Mimi Schippers’ book “Gender Reckonings,” “The word ‘polyamory’ means multiple loves and refers to emotionally and sometimes sexually intimate relationships with more than one person. Although we don’t have figures on the extent of polyamory, it is estimated that people in consensual non-monogamous relationships number in the millions.

Three people line up holding hands
Three people stand in a line holding hands on 9/11. The three people are a metaphor for polyamory, which is a type of relationship in which an individual is emotionally and sometimes sexually intimate with more than one person. Photo illustrated by Cat Blouch. (College student | Cat Blouch)

Polyamory may be a buzzword in the mouths of college-aged kids looking to explore themselves sexually, but that doesn’t mean it’s widely understood.

This raises many common misunderstandings about polyamory: that it’s usually one person’s idea and the other person in the relationship accepts it or that those in polyamorous or open relationships can’t really be happy or fulfilled, or at least not. to the extent that they would be in monogamous relationships. These misconceptions are simply not true.

In fact, research suggests that polyamory might provide solutions to relationship structure that monogamy alone cannot. In the scholarly investigative article “More Oxygen Please!: How Polyamorous Relationship Strategies Might Oxygenate Marriage,” authors Terri Conley and Amy Moors wrote: “We propose that people in polyamory may manage their higher altitude needs in relationships more effectively than people in monogamous relationships.”

“You may think that with multiple people in the equation, infidelity is inevitable, but it’s not. In a polyamorous relationship, it’s all about communication.

The article argues that in polyamorous relationships, individuals retain a greater degree of autonomy due to a phenomenon in monogamous relationships where “as a couple progresses toward cohabitation, both partners withdraw from their respective social networks. On the contrary, polyamorous relationships offer individuals looser restrictions with their social network, which helps them maintain their social network.

Three people hold hands
Three people hold hands on 9/11. The union between the three pairs of hands represents polyamory. Photo illustrated by Cat Blouch. (College student | Cat Blouch)

This notion was taken up by Luna Martinez in her TEDxCSU conference.

“When I was in college, it was one man, one woman, for a lifetime,” Martinez said. “In high school, I kept getting these confirmations: ‘I’m trying so hard to invest in…another person, and why am I not investing this in myself, or investing not this in my friends or other people in general? It’s such a formative time.

Polyamory encourages people to restructure their entire love and relationship pattern. In the notion of offering more social capital, polyamory encourages participants to seek out their needs in multiple people instead of assigning this responsibility to a single individual.

When author Sophie Johnson spoke about her experience as a polyamorous person with New York Magazine, she said: “At some point we had this idea that there is such a thing as ‘the one’ and that person has to fulfill every little detail of need, which is so unrealistic. It’s just not possible.

You may think that with multiple people in the equation, infidelity is inevitable, but it’s not. In a polyamorous relationship, it’s all about communication.

Three sets of feet sit in a row
Three sets of feet sit in a row on 9/11. The sets of feet represent polyamory, which is an engagement in which an individual engages in multiple romantic and sometimes sexual relationships with the consent of everyone involved. Photo illustrated by Cat Blouch. (College student | Cat Blouch)

“Infidelity can still occur in polyamorous relationships, especially when one partner violates a relationship agreement,” Conley and Moors say in “More Oxygen Please!” “For example, an agreement could be that sex should not take place with a new partner without the prior permission of one or more other partners. A conflict could arise if one of the partners then had an affair without prior approval.

You and your partner(s) set the rules for a polyamorous relationship. This reliance on healthy communication can be a boon for many people. Martinez echoed this in his speech, saying:“When you know your preferences, you can request them in advance. When you ask for them in advance, you can give yourself the grace to change your mind.

Although polyamory offers an alternative to monogamy that many find beneficial in practice, it’s not for everyone. Maybe you’ve found success and romance in a monogamous relationship, and that’s fine.

Either way, the fundamentals of polyamory such as respect, trust, and communication can still be applied to any relationship, even ones that aren’t romantic.

Contact Cat Blouch at [email protected] or on Twitter @BlouchCat.

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