I saw the interview about polyamory on This Morning yesterday and felt fairly disquieted. Certainly the presenters seemed sympathetic enough even if obviously bemused. The ‘relationship expert’ on the other hand was frankly dismissive and disapproving.
She was dismissive partly because the people concerned were all in their twenties, unmarried and childless. One felt she was saying very much “You’ll grow out of this and then regret it”. Perhaps they will. On the other hand, even if they later decide to ‘settle down’ into a monogamous marriage why should that mean that the choices they are making are wrong for them now?
Perrin and I have come at this from the other direction. Starting with the monogamous marriage and then opening out to include others in our lives. I don’t feel that monogamy has failed us, I was happily monogamous for a long time. Why then should polyamory be a failure even if it is not permanent? Why, too, assume that it will fail simply because it fails for some people? A significant percentage of marriages fail, yet no one (hopefully) says to a bride “it’ll end in tears”.
Indeed the lady in question’s attitude seemed to be largely ‘you’re going to get your comeuppance when you get hurt’. Certainly they will get hurt. Every relationship carries with it a certain amount of pain; engaging in more than one at once inevitably increases the potential of getting hurt. But then it increases the potential for joy too, it provides additional support to get one through difficulties and is incredibly rewarding.
I’m sure it’s not for everyone but then there are people who choose to live celibate lives and that’s not for everyone either. It would be lovely if everyone was free to choose the relationships which they desired for themselves without censure.
I found this interview a sad reminder of how many people would fail to understand our own choices, and some of those are people I really don’t want to hurt. Nevertheless it will go some way to raising the issue in some people’s minds, letting them start to question the model of relationships and perhaps one day leading to a little more understanding.
That can only be a good thing.
All credit too to the three brave ladies who kept their cool and put their points across calmly on national television. I’m suitably impressed.