Is monogamy the key to fulfillment? Or does it take one or more dishes on the side to quench our appetite? The eternal struggle between virtue and virility is not an issue within polyamourous relationships, which might feature anything between two to perhaps even ten steady partners.
After the long search for the ideal partner, you finally wind up in a relationship. A proper relationship with all the trimmings. Till death do us part and what not. It´s a noble cause, and one worth striving for. But who the hell came up with the idea that we are meant to spend our entire life with one partner?
It was Paul the Apostle who introduced monogamy as a new trend some 2,000 years ago, and it was a great success. Since then, we have all been happily going along with this concept and trying to make it stick. So from the time you are born, you´re primarily surrounded by just two people. Biology books also teach us about relationships being between two people. But does that mean that two is always better than three? Or, could it just be that not one person, but two people just might constitute the loves of your life? And why should you then say goodbye to one if you happened to bump into the other? Or could you strike up a relationship with both people?
In answer to the question whether people are made to live monogamously, Marc MacLohan, a specialised relationship counsellor for men answers: “We are not made that way unfortunately, but do hunker for it somewhere deep down. So it´s a matter of seeing how far you get together. Personally, I´ve been doing that for the past 25 years.”
What is polyamory?
Since time immemorial there have been questions about relationships and their various guises, of which polyamory is one of many. A polyamourous relationship is a fully fledged loving relationship with several partners. Polyamory literally means “multiple love”. That love is expressed through relationships whereby friendship, intimacy, an emotional connection, spiritual connection and/or sexuality are the basic ingredients. The are founded in love, openness, honesty and respect, says Alice Conner, who runs a website dedicated to polyamory. Love is universal and works in exactly the same way through the same natural laws, whether you enter into a relationship with one or several people.
Today´s ideal male partner is muscular and well-toned, flaunts a disproportionately large package, preferably with an IQ around the 130-mark upstairs, and perhaps a shiny Audi TT Roadster all roaring to go as the icing on the cake. But that divine combination cannot usually be found within the one partner; relationships with multiple partners could prove a solution in that sense. Polyamory has many faces, such as living with multiple partners, whereby all people involved are in a relationship with one another, or for instance a relationship whereby one person has various partners, without these partners necessarily having a relationship with one another.
Gert Hekma, who is specialised in Gay and Lesbian Studies, had the following to say about polyamory among gays: “The word polyamory is not all that popular with gays, but many gay relationships seem to fit that bill. Gays frequently have open relationships, which often entails that both lovers enter into relationships with third parties, either on their own or together. This is not usually the case for younger gays who often solely belive in the combination og love and sex.”
Wide and open
Some gays do not seem to realise what type of relationship they´re in – it all falls under the ‘open relationship’ header. The difference between an open relationship and a polyamourous relationship is that an open relationship is primarily geared towards sexual contacts: screwing around without the emotional scenes. Gert Hekma says: “Gays will opt for an open relationship sooner than heterosexuals, because they´re more easy-going about sex.” An open relationship provides you with more freedom, and doesn´t give you that ‘trapped’ feeling you can get within a relationship. Marc MacLohan has an explanation for the many open relationships among gays: “It´s a male thing basically. Men simply have to ‘do it’ from time to time it seems, and in that sense they will understand the other person´s occasional flare-ups of lust. It appears to be something innately primeval within men that the gay scene ‘turns a blind eye to’. So lustful men tend to hook up with one another, and don´t mind the other person´s meanderings. The risk with open relationships is, however, that they are entered into too quickly, whereby things soon turn unstable. Wait for at least a few years before you open up your relationship to sexual adventures. And even then, beware that the open door doesn´t become a vent for all kinds of intimate desires that cannot be experienced within the steady relationship.”
A polyamouros relationship seems like paradise to many gays; after all, you can fall in love without feeling guilty because you´re honest about it in telling your partner. Your relationship is less likely to get into a rut, as you have another partner on the outside. But let´s adress the elephant in the room; what if one of you becomes jealous? And how do you divide your attention equally between both men? How do you ensure that both people get what they need sexually, and, are you able to talk to one partner about the day you spent with the other?
Emotions can get the upper hand and any sense of perspective might go out the window. And even once the three or four of you have accepted that things are a certain way, you still have to deal with your environment. How will your neighbours handle the situation for instance? And what about the people who are looking to chat about the latest gossip at birthdays? Other people often have their own way of looking at things, and often voice their opinions without being asked.
“People are especially baffled in the beginning”, says Ed, who is in a relationship with two other men to the WinQ Mag. “People give me disapproving looks, and are sometimes envious too when i tell them about my love for two men. But that blows over after a while, and you then wind up only seeing the people who have come to accept it. These days though, all three of us even get invited to birthday parties together.”
Having a house, a dog and perhaps an adopted child just doesn´t seem enough for some people these days. One of the most common form of polyamory in gays is where partners have grown apart but still continue to live together; meanwhile, an affair is struck up with a third-party. This is in fact a transitional situation, and therefore also temporary . It is the most prevalent situation whereby long-term relationships bite the dust.