"5 Myths About Love, Sex, and Relationships That Stop Us From Accepting Polyamory"
Sian Ferguson is a self-identified queer polyamorous student in South Africa. She's a regular writer for Everyday Feminism, which claims to be "one of the largest online feminist communities in the world" with about 2.7 million visitors a month, 70% of them under 35. She just published the piece below, which I see is spreading around:
5 Myths About Love, Sex, and Relationships That Stop Us From Accepting Polyamory
By Sian Ferguson
Whenever I tell monogamous people that I’m polyamorous, I’m always met with a lot of curiosity.
While people sometimes act in a discriminatory manner, I often get a lot of respectfully phrased questions and musings.
“How does that work though?”
“If your partner doesn’t get jealous, how do you know they’re really into you?”
“How would it work if you wanted to get married or have children?”
The more questions I get, the more I realize that society has taught us a lot of heteronormative myths about love....
1. We All Have ‘The One’/ A ‘Soulmate’
...There are a number of problems with this idea.
Firstly, it implies that a good relationship is pre-destined, rather than created and maintained through hard work.
I can’t count the number of times friends have been afraid to leave a toxic relationship because they fear their partner may be “The One.”
The opposite situation is possible, too. I had a friend who would put very little effort into relationships because they mused that if the relationship was “meant to be,” and if their partner was truly “The One,” the relationship would work out anyway.
...What if there is no “One” person out there for me, but a number of people who might be compatible with me?
2. If Your Partner Wants Someone Else, It’s Because You’re Inadequate
...If I fall in love with a new person, it’s a love independent of the one I share with my partner. My love for one person doesn’t replace the other; they simply coexist.
I’m of the belief that no single person can fulfill all of our needs and desires at once. My partner is extraordinary and incredible, and they can’t give me absolutely everything I need.
The reverse is true, too – as hard as I try, I can’t get my partner everything they want and need.
...Monogamous people might be able to relate to this, too – as much as you may love your partner, it’s important to have other friends, too, because you get different things out of different relationships.
3. Jealousy Is an Indicator of Love
If you love someone, you’d want them all to yourself. Right?
Well, no. But that’s what society teaches us.
...I’m not saying that I never get jealous – rather, I’m saying that jealousy isn’t an indicator of love.
4. A Two-Parent Home Is Better for Children
...Sometimes, families work differently, and that’s okay!
I was raised by a single mother, my grandparents, my older siblings, and extended family, and I turned out fine.
5. Marriage Is the Ultimate Demonstration of Love
I can’t count how many times people have asked me, “But who would you marry?” when they heard that I had more than one partner.
...The way society prioritizes marriage over all forms of other relationships is problematic, to say the least....
...These myths don’t only harm polyamorous people. They work together in a heteronormative culture, which ultimately harms a great deal of people.
For this reason, it’s imperative that we take notice of these myths and challenge them when they manifest....
Read the whole article (October 2, 2015).
Everyday Feminism has been getting deep into polyamory lately, and getting it right. A search turns up 11 poly-related articles on the site so far this year, after just one or two in each of the previous three years. Maybe a lot of writers are looking into it, or maybe the stats for the site have flagged it as a hot topic, or both.