Polyamory Is A Bad Idea

Probability suggests it’s not for you

© stokkete/Adobe Stock

Polyamory has come back into fashion recently and whilst it’s good we’re living in a more open and tolerant society, I, for one, do not welcome this particular development without a measure of scepticism. To be clear, I don’t think that polyamory is an immoral choice or an invalid choice, but it is not a viable choice for most people. Statistically speaking you — yes, you, the person reading this article — are not good enough at romantic relationships to have more than one at a time.

Because of the circle of friends I happen to have, I see a lot of people attracted to the polyamorous lifestyle. From the perspective of an interested outsider, it appears that many are unwilling to do the work required to ensure their relationships — and themselves — are healthy. Whilst I do see the appeal of polyamory (who wouldn’t want more love in their lives?) with more highs there come more lows. I have observed that many are simply in denial about how much extra work simultaneous relationships require.

If you want to be a member of the polyamorous community you need to be extra careful about pre-screening your partners. You have to explore how this person handles jealousy and their emotional intelligence on top of meeting all the other usual criteria for selecting a romantic partner. If you’re already in a relationship, a new partner has to integrate well into that pre-existing partnership. This is a best case scenario. The worst case scenario is handling and filtering out those who would use the community as an excuse to exploit and abuse others.

Managing jealousy is a recurring theme on polyamorous support sites. One of the reasons I ruled this lifestyle out for myself is that I lack the ability to manage the jealousy that would arise from being in simultaneous relationships. I also lack the emotional energy to meet the romantic needs of more than one other adult. It never ceases to amaze me how few adults assess their limits and capacities in romantic relationships before embracing more complex relationship types.

What I have repeatedly heard from those advocating polyamorous relationships is the assertion that it is unrealistic for one person meet all your needs. I agree that it is wrong to rely on a single partner for all your needs. But, a functional, healthy adult should have most of their needs met already. Most of my companionship and emotional support needs are already met by my familial and platonic relationships. A healthy romantic relationship with one person would be the icing on the cake. If I never have another romantic relationship I’ll be lonelier, sure, but my life will still be good.

I also have serious questions about any adult who requires several simultaneous romantic and sexual relationships to have their needs met. Polyamory seems to attract people who are trying to avoid the commitment, intimacy, and the emotional intensity of being involved with just one person. These are the characteristics of a person who would be a poor partner in any type of relationship. Maybe instead of more romantic relationships, what you really need are more/better platonic relationships?

If you’re an emotionally intelligent, considerate person surrounded by other emotionally intelligent, considerate people who are both appealing to yourself, each other, and willing to join you in a polyamorous relationship then you are a blessed individual, indeed! I genuinely admire those amongst us who can handle a more complex romantic life, but they are exceptions to the rule and that is unlikely to change. For this reason, polyamory will — and should — remain a fringe lifestyle choice.

Thank you for reading — I hope you found my thoughts interesting. Agree with me? Don’t agree with me? Let me know either way: @Sayde_Scarlett