Most people view dating as two people who are attracted to each other getting to know one another. However, for some people, just one person is not enough. There are people who want to share their love with multiple people, so they engage in polyamorous relationships.
Those who are intrigued by this type of dating want to make sure that they know the facts. There is a lot more to polyamory than what you see on the reality shows that depict this lifestyle.
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In the US, Polyamory is Relatively Uncommon
In certain countries throughout the world, men having multiple wives is considered the norm. There are also a few countries where it is normal for women to have several husbands. However, in the US, only about 4% to 5% of people are engaged in a polyamorous relationship.
For some people, this type of relationship is something that they approach casually. People might just date several people at the same time. All of the parties will be aware of each other but will not spend a lot of time together.
Other poly dating relationships are more exclusive. The people involved spend a lot of time together as a group. All of the individuals have to approve of one another, so it can take time before a new person is added to the relationship.
There are poly relationships where all of the parties live with one another like a couple would. They share the same bed and do things like celebrate anniversaries with each other.
In the US, one man or one woman cannot marry multiple people at the same time legally. Because of this, some poly relationships do not involve marriage at all. For others, two of the people are married and the rest are brought in later. There are ceremonies for the new parties to the relationship, but no actual marriage license.
Polyamorous People Tend to Lean Progressive
In a study at the University of Western Ontario, one of the questions posed to polyamorous people was their political affiliation. Most of the poly participants did not list Democrat or Republican. Instead they chose “other” and then wrote in what they described as their political views. The following were common write in responses:
- Democratic socialist
People who engage in these types of relationships often deviate from what is considered a societal norm or traditional. Because of this, they also tend to have less traditional political views.
Poly people tend to view the world in shades of gray and this is reflected in their political beliefs. Among those who engage in this type of relationship, they want to support candidates who are likely to be accepting of poly relationships and other types of partnerships that are considered outside of the societal norm.
People who engage in poly relationships just want to be accepted. They do not want people to judge them for sharing their love with multiple people instead of just one like society portrays as what is appropriate.
About Half of Poly People Say They Are Bisexual or Pansexual
Approximately 50% of people who engage in polyamory state that they are either pansexual or bisexual. Since these relationships generally consist of men and women, it makes sense that those who engage in polyamory would be open to loving both sexes.
Those who identify as pansexual and bisexual date the person and do not care about their sex. It is common for people who identify these ways to not want to be in a monogamous relationship. Only about 17% of pansexual and bisexual people say that they are monogamous.
Polyamory is More Likely to Result in Divorce Compared to Monogamy
A study looked at the divorce rates among those who practice polyamory and those who are monogamous when it comes to marriage. It discovered that those who engage in polyamory are more likely to divorce.
The head researcher for the study stated that there was no clear answer as to why this was true. She believes that it is not always directly related to a poly relationship. For example, someone who previously was monogamous may divorce their partner to enter a poly partnership.
Another possible reason is that jealousy can occur whether all of the poly partners want to be in this type of relationship or not. When two of the people appear to spend more time together or like each other more than the other people in the relationship, this could possibly lead to jealousy and resentment which could cause one or more poly partners to leave the relationship.
Another possible factor is that some people in poly relationships may decide that they eventually want to be monogamous. If this happens, they may leave their poly partners, which sometimes requires a divorce, so that they can be with the one person they want instead.
People in Poly Relationships Tend to Earn Less Money
In the study, income was looked at to see if poly people made more or less than those who practice monogamy. It was determined that people who practice monogamy were more likely to exceed $100,000 annually while poly people were far more likely to earn under $20,000 annually.
This refutes the common misconception that people who are polyamorous tend to be wealthy and live in a suburban area. The results from this study show that this is not likely to be the case and that they are more likely to live below the poverty line.
Some poly relationships rely on things like welfare to ensure that everyone in the relationship, including any children, have access to adequate food. Things like rent assistance might also be sought to ensure a stable residence for the family.
Women Are More Comfortable with Non-Monogamy Compared to Men
In American society, men are often looked at as the people who are more willing to have several partners. However, one study looked at how men and women view polyamory. It determined that women were actually more comfortable than men when it comes to having this type of relationship.
It is thought that it might have something to do with helping women to maintain their desire for their partners in the relationship. With polyamory, all of the partners agree on things like boundaries and it is morally acceptable for all of the partners to engage in sex with each other.
This allows women to explore their sexuality without having to cheat on a monogamous partner. She is allowed to be intimate with more than one person, so she never has to worry about hurting her partner or doing something that is viewed as unacceptable.
One study looked at men vs. women regarding who was engaged in polyamory. In this study, about 60% of the respondents who said that they were poly dating were women.
A Lot of People Approve of Polyamory
One survey found that about 68% of people approve of a poly relationship. This does not mean that they would engage in this type of partnership, but they do not see anything wrong with others having several partners if this is what they want.
With this information, it seems that poly dating is far less stigmatized than it once was. More people feel that others should be able to love who they love without any boundaries, as long as all of the people in the relationship are consenting adults.
Part of the reason this type of relationship may be viewed more favorably today is because people are being exposed to it far more often. Shows, such as some on the TLC network, are showing people exactly how poly families live.
You can see that outside of more partners being involved in the relationship, these families have the same triumphs and same issues that a traditional two-person relationship faces. This gives people more of a human element regarding people who engage in these relationships. Once you see that they are not really that different, it is far easier to be accepting of their lifestyle.
Canada Practices Polyamory More Often Than People in the US
One study showed that about 21% of Canadians have engaged in a relationship that was not monogamous at least once in life. Some of these people have returned to only dating one partner since their experience, but others have stuck with polyamory.
It gives people a chance to explore their sexuality and what they really want out of a relationship, according to several study participants. When they have multiple partners, they are more likely to try things they otherwise would not. Some believe that it made them more adventurous so that they could push their own boundaries and learn more about themselves.
Younger People Tend to Engage in Polyamory
Since younger people tend to be more open-minded, it is not surprising that they would be more likely to engage in poly dating. Among the respondents in one study, about 75% of the people were between 25 and 44 years old.
These people engaged in a poly relationship at least once in their life. About 40% of them stated that they had been in a poly relationship in the last five years.
When people in this age group open themselves up to poly dating, they can essentially experiment to see which types of people they like. It also gives them a chance to see if monogamy is really what they want for their future.
The types of poly relationships the respondents were engaged in varied. Some of them were in more of an open relationship where they have more than one partner, but they did not get together often. Other people actually lived with several partners.
People in Poly Relationships Tend to Communicate Better
Compared to monogamous couples, poly daters tend to communicate better with the people involved in their relationship. This often includes things like talking about boundaries and creating various agreements to help to reduce the risk of anyone feeling excluded or less important than the other members of the relationship.
Poly daters are also more likely to negotiate. This makes it possible for all of the people in the partnership to have equal opinions. The partners discuss things and come to a conclusion that all members are able to agree to, reducing the risk of things like hurt and other negative feelings.
Poly Daters Are More Likely to Have Safe Sex
One study that was published in 2012 looked at safe sex and who was more likely to engage in it. The research concluded that poly daters tended to take safe sex more seriously.
Monogamous people often think that only having sex with one person makes them safer, so they were more likely to avoid using protection. However, poly daters often used protection since they knew that they would be engaging in intimacy with more than one person.
Those in poly relationships often talk about safe sex before they start. Some of them even get into agreements that include people getting tested to make sure that they do not have any STIs.
Polyamory May Result in Less Jealousy
A study published in 2017 looked at jealousy because it is commonly believed that it would be an issue in poly relationships. However, the study determined that monogamous people are the ones who tend to be more jealous.
Those who conducted the study said that the jealousy among monogamous people was off the charts. When looking at those in poly relationships that were consensual, the rates of jealousy were very low.
Another part of this is that the monogamous people in the study also tended to avoid addressing jealousy in their relationship. Because of this, it tended to fester, and for some couples, it is what lead to the end of their relationship.
In poly relationships, people tended to talk about jealousy with their partners. This made it a lot easier for everyone to work through. When they made it a point to talk about it, the jealousy typically did not have a long-term negative impact on the relationship.
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