Polyamory goes against the current national narrative of family and therefore is neither encouraged or supported in social systems. This is, to me, symbolic of the manifested control of capitalism in our modern world. Polyamory is now a double edged sword of human interaction and human exposure.
Polyamory while different from polygamy faces similar issues in terms of cultural buy-in. The Western World has, in its quest for modernity, has in many ways turned its back on its own roots. Rule by rule, commodity by commodity, as a macro-culture have deprived ourselves of our inherited history of group living. This untetherin has taken centuries to achieve and in a post-industrial, digital society has left many without any connections to even their closest neighbours. It is no wonder why some individuals are moving towards a polyamorist lifestyle in a time where there are so few connections to others.
I have seen an uptick in individuals joining polyamory groups since the advent of COVID-19 in North America. I wonder if this is related to an increased physical separation from others, a result of many working from home without the scrutiny of coworkers, or just from the greater visibility of this community. As someone who has practiced polyamory for 25 years, I can say that the world of polyamory is in a different state, and has different complications than it did when I first involved myself.
When I began my own polyamorous journey I was young and loved shock value (even though it was not my motivation). The biggest issues we were cogniscent of were STDs and potential judgements. I am certain that life would have very different for me if I was beginning the same journey now. What I can’t tell at this point in my life is whether or not it would have been better. That part of my life was all about group activity, and without that, I’m not sure I may have had the tools to manage poly relationships.
In the current COVID world polyamory may seem like a good alternative to isolation, whether one is looking to join a couple/group, or a couple/group is looking to add another individual. In today’s world there are new balances of pros and cons relating to polyamory from my viewpoint:
- More people working together can action change and adaptation faster than fewer people.
- More people in the home means less isolation.
- More individuals can provide a more reliable income at a time where employment is precarious.
- Gateways like Zoom and Google Meet are more ubiquitous and allow for greater connectivity in a digital landscape.
- Introverts can feel like there is no escape during lockdowns/self-isolating.
- Groups that have individual external relationships with others may increase the risk of exposure.
- Groups may feel increasd pressure to move others in due to separation, financial pressures and/or desperation – potentially leading to poor decisions.
- Solo polyamorists may encounter that pods are less open to new physical/fluid bonding members.
Polyamory is an option that works for many people, but it comes with its own complications. If you are considering beginning a polyamorous journey, be honest both with yourself and current/potential partners in terms of your needs. Be open to what their needs are and the motivations behind them.
For all those groups that are separated by political lines at present, my heart goes out to you.
Please comment below on your experiences of initiating or sustaining polyamory in your life! All experiences are welcome.