Dear Poly Chick: Polyamorous Love vs Monogamous Love
Dear Poly Chick/Poly Dude is a collection of anonymous queries that have been submitted by people through the Site, our Facebook page or Email. The answers provided are our opinions, formed through years of being immersed in polyamory. Take our advice with a grain of salt (or pepper). We have no boundaries, so ask us anything! If you want a Chick-specific or Dude-specific answer, let us know; otherwise, we’ll surprise you!
Dear Poly Chick,
Do polyamorous people love the same as monogamous people?
At first glance this might seem like a strange question to some, but it’s not. From a very young age we’re taught to believe that all of our love and devotion is supposed to go to one person, one partner. Theoretically this person eventually becomes our husband or wife (hence ideas like soul mate, life partner, one true love, the “one”, etc). In a sense, we’re taught that love is a zero-sum experience (meaning that if we love a “new” partner, this takes away from the love we have for our “original” partner). This simply is not the case; people are capable of loving infinitely, as polyamorous people demonstrate regularly. Seriously. Human beings are fully capable of spreading their love among many people. A common analogy used to illustrate this is children; parents can have 3, 4, 5 or more (yow) children and love them all equally, even if they have completely different personalities. Just because you have a second child, you don’t love your first child any less. Similarly, we’re capable of loving 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more people without subtracting love from any of them. Every partner is unique in some way and our relationship to them is unique, therefore our love is also unique to that partner/relationship.
So, to answer your question: Yes. Love is love; regardless of how many people you love. Even though it might seem to some people that loving multiple people somehow makes that love more superficial, it simply isn’t. Which begs the question: Are polyamorists inherently capable of loving more than monogamous people? Not necessarily. Polyamory is a philosophy certain people live by because it fits their needs and/or desires. The love we feel is the same love we felt when we were monogamous; the difference is quantity, not quality. It’s not like we’re wired to love better than anyone else, we just simply choose to employ a life that allows us to do so freely, openly and honestly. Loving one person works very well for some, and not so well for others. Polyamory allows those who want the chance to do so more in an ethical way.
This is something that baffles me when I’m faced with discriminatory comments about polyamory. I can totally understand why people might not choose to be polyamorous, for a variety of reasons. But to say that it’s somehow bad, devious or selfish is just silly. Love is the most beautiful and positive experience that the human race has access to; it’s arguably the purest universal element we all have in common that binds humans together. Who the hell wouldn’t support such a thing?
Now please excuse me while I go bear hug a tree.