Whatever the structure of a long-term relationship, in terms of gender breakdown or number of people involved, I believe that long-term relationships are good for the larger society. People with loving families have something to lose; they are invested in their lives and being good citizens.
Why does it occur to me to mention polyamory and gay marriage today in particular? It is February 14, Valentines Day, and the number two most searched term on Google is polyamorous. Valentines Day, the date for celebration of traditional romance, seems like a peculiar day for searches to be volcanic for polyamorous. Are people thinking that they don’t feel obligated to buy enough special dinners, lingeries, flowers, and candy today? What would make today the day to suddenly wonder about what it means to be polyamorous?
Now, head on over to Gothic.net and ask for a standard definition of what it means to be gothic. Okay, don’t do that because you probably already know that you will hear quite varied explanations. Polyamory is much the same. Some people feel that being poly is about connecting sexually with a larger-than-average number of partners, but only people you connect with emotionally as well. Some people feel that poly means having one primary partner and then other lovers in relationships of varied terms. Some people practice polyamory the same as any dyad two person marriage, but with more than two partners. So you’ll get quite varied explanations from poly-identitifed people on what it means to be polyamorous. But, if you are a Blue Blood reader, you probably already at least know out practitioners, are perhaps poly yourself, or you get the gist.
A common question is what is the difference between being a swinger and being polyamorous? Some would stipulate that there is more commitment in poly relationships and with more than one partner. Some might (jokingly?) suggest that swingers are better looking and less bright and polyamorists are less physically-appealing and more intelligent and better-educated. Speaking of education, my fellow Wesleyan alum, Tristan Taormino wrote a book for the esteemed Cleis Press called Opening Up which is an excellent guide for navigating the specific issues of various types of more open relationships.
A more interesting quetion, at least to me, is perhaps what is the difference between being a polygamous Mormon and being polyamorous? Okay, lesbian relationships are out and I guess women in general get fewer lovers in the Mormon option, but I’ve always believed that every person should define their relationships with their partner or partners according to the specific needs of the people involved. I’m kinda not into the larger society defining what is and is not an okay way for the individual to practice his or her love life.
If someone has a long-term triad relationship, should one member of the triad be unable to pick the kids up from school or unable to visit a sick partner in the hospital? The marriage debate has raged beyond all reason this past year. I personally feel the government can shut the heck up about whether or not a particular relationship counts as a marriage or not.
So, can we let Mormons who can afford multiple wives get married? Pretty please? At least in Utah? Then the Mormons can shut the heck up about whether or not two women or two men can get married in California.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone!