We’ve all been sitting around having drinks with friends when the
idea of monogamy being unnatural is floated… typically by a man (at least in my experience!). Polyamory has a bad rap, after being exploited and contorted by men in places of power or religion. Many women I know struggle to understand how polyamory could
benefit them or why any woman would pursue polyamory short of being bullied into it by a partner who’s looking to ‘have his cake and eat it too.’ But just as many women would love to experience multiple partners on a regular basis. There is no one size fits all, especially in love, relationships and sex.
All this being said, polyamory has enjoyed a bit of a boom over the last few years. Both men and women are starting to explore what life is like when you acknowledge that one person cannot meet ALL of your needs, but rather being a part of a community or smaller group of people can have profound effects on which needs get met, and in what way; truthfully, honest and open or hidden in shame and secrets.
Okay but which is better? Polyamory or Monogamy?
I’m not going to say polyamory is better than monogamy or vice versa. I think we are all unique, and come into the world with our own journeys and discoveries to make; and along the way we pick up some quirks, societal expectations and even sometimes lose a bit of ourselves. As with just about everything - in the end it is a personal choice, and one only you can make whether being polyamorous is something you want to explore.
But likely if you’ve read this far.. You’re curious! How does polyamory work? How do you talk to your partner(s); current, past, potential or anything in between about exploring a relationship outside the confines of monogamy? However this article isn’t to focus on the ‘How-To’ component of polyamory or monogamy.
Rather, it is the ‘How-To’ of how to do critical self assessment, deconstructing inner dialogue, de-programming (or re-programming) belief systems and reconnecting with your truest desires and self worth.
First and foremost I recommend getting a journal and a pen, then set aside some time (this will likely take more than 15 mins!) to really think about the following:
What is it about monogamy that you enjoy? Find appealing? Find restrictive?
Really take the time to work through all these thoughts and feelings - get them on paper!
Then do the same for the following questions and topics.
What is it about polyamory that you find appealing?
What about polyamory scares you? Excites you?
What would be the best possible outcome of changing the way you approach relationships; ie, monogamy to polyamory or vice versa? What would be the worst possible outcome?
How would either situation make you feel?
Can you identify WHY you would feel that particular way in those situations?
Why do you believe that monogamy (or polyamory) isn’t currently working for you? If it is working for you, take a moment to get specific about why and how.
What do you think would be a better scenario, for you personally, that would involve getting more (or all) of your relational needs met?
If you're able map out what this looks like several options and configurations of people, places and things if need be. Then again map out best and worst outcomes.
I highly recommend spending quite a bit of time putting thought into these questions, really journaling through the thoughts and emotions. Then take a few moments to feel into your body, and how your body reacts to these questions, answers and emotions that are arising. Our bodies tell us SO much, the challenge is to make sure we are listening.
I believe you will come away from this exercise with not only a better understanding of how you function in your current relationships, but what is either going well or even what is lacking. It will also help you to start building new neural pathways about the ways in which relationships can function, and even look like in our lives. These questions might pose a heavier mental and emotional workload than you first imagined when you sat down to journal through them, so please be gentle with yourself no matter what comes up. Take time to decompress from this exercise with a cup of tea, a workout, an orgasm (or six) - whatever works for you! But if you’re willing and able to continue exploring yourself and maybe polyamory too - don’t let this journaling session end up shoved in a closet somewhere never to be revisited. Set aside some time at a later date, a couple days, a week, whatever feels right to you; go through both the questions and responses you gave. Feel your way through them again - do you still feel the same way? Have some things shifted and changed for you? Re-journal or add notes where necessary.
After this kind of intense self introspection it often feels super obvious what we ‘should’ do. Rather than putting my own should’s on you - I invite you to check out some of these books listed below to further your introspection and learning about different relational styles.
* The second edition of this book is great too!
Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy - Jessica Fern
The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open
Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love - Dedeker Winston
Pussy: A Reclamation - Regena Thomashauer
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence - Esther Perel
All of the above are great resources for learning yourself, navigating early polyamory with a partner, or dating with the intention of being polyamorous. After all, the best relationships are ones built on awareness, kindness, and self reflection.
*Since we here at Mommys Toy Shop don't carry books we invite you to check out your local indie bookstore, or support other Canadian owned businesses.