Q: Do you think that monogamy is a thing of the past and that there will be more of a push by people to have relationships with multiple partners?
A: No I do not think monogamy is a thing of the past. I think some human beings are hardwired to be with an exclusive partner, including same sex partnerships – and not just in a hetero sexual religious context either. That is not to say that these same people will not get divorced, remarried or common law several times in their lives. The average years of marriage in the US is three years, so people are monogamous but not with just one person for a long period of time. I think Poly or being open is actually an acknowledgement of this reality.
Now I would also argue that we human beings have been in multiple partner relationships for some time. Romans had laws in regards to step-parents and their rights over the children from another relationship. I think that by today’s standard a woman or man with (several) children by multiple men/woman is engaging in form a multi partnership though it is no longer sexual it is a social/familial relationship but still an important partnership.
Historically lovers, women and men having a lover other than their spouse, was somewhat more acceptable in some societies: class distinction being important historically in multiple partnerships whereas today you do not need to be rich or royalty to do so but it helps, this is why movie stars and politicians who get caught cheating are front page news.
I do not think Poly/open marriage is more popular than it was say twenty year ago, I think there is more talk about it because of the internet and some movie/tv shows, documentary content and I am certain the number of people who believe they would like this arrangement has increased – at least people are talking about it – but bisexuality plays a crucial role in this as well: the idea that we can love someone, raise children with someone, live with them, committed and not have to deny our attraction to the same sex is more acceptable than it once was. We can now exclusively seek out a partner that is okay with who we are.
Now it should be said that a poly/open relationship is defined by those who take part: I am poly, but my husband and lover is not. Poly as we define it is not a swinger’s or threesome sexual thing but rather a complimentary secondary relationship that works to ADD to our lives not a sexual fantasy based arrangement. There are people who decide marriage is not for them, they might chose to not cohabitate with anyone, but have a couple of long term relationships with several people: I suppose one would have to clearly define relationship first. Is a one night stand while married multiple partnership: no but if you had a mistress for ten years, maybe had a kid with her, that your wife was aware of then I would have to reconsider. The important distinction being that everyone involved knows – if someone is unaware then I do not consider it multiple partnership.
The number of people who actually keep and work at a poly/open relationship however would be in my opinion still a small number of the population. I find that once something shows up on the internet or TV people rush out and think this is a great idea. Shows like Big Love and Sister Wives, though with a religious aspect, do nothing for the Poly/open cause because I do not believe they are a real accurate account of what Poly is nor do they represent an open relationship because the male is the sole person who has an inherent right to multiple partners. The girls are not fucking each other or the husband together either which is another important in our new found liberties of love and sex.
I truly believe we are just beginning to see a handful enlightened able bodied people who are compatible to be with multiple partners, in the open, in a healthy way emotionally and physically, to handle that task and not have society burn them at the stake. They are best able to say: I am not with multiple people because I am greedy, I do not live this way because my prowess goes unchecked, rather I have found a way to be honest with myself and the people I love that I am capable to realistically care for them all, love them all and commit to them and we all benefit. I have declared that the social norm is or was harmful to me and the people I loved and instead express myself by not limiting my love, affection and that intimacy to just one human being. This allows me to not only be in/express love with multiple people at the same time but to love all people and some in a more profound way.
Thanks for writing and asking, I could go on…