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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Polygamous Relationships vs. Monogamous

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Author Topic: Polygamous Relationships vs. Monogamous
katiebird
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Member # 33821

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One of my friends recently criticized me for just believing in monogamous relationships. I feel like polygamous relationships can happen, but for me, I feel like I would get attached to the person and be upset if they were with someone else. My friend told me that was just a matter of jealousy, and that's my problem - but is it really as simple as that, being jealous? Because then I feel like it's my fault and something I could get over. I feel like I want to try a polygamous relationship but I'm hesitant - can someone help go over monogamous vs. polygamous pros and cons?
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Just so we're clear, polygamy actually means multiple marriage, specifically. Non-marital relationships that have multiple partners or are open are usually called polyamorous relationships or just open relationships.

The tricky thing about doing a list of pros and cons for relationship models is that relationships still differ a LOT within one model. Like, I'm sure it's probably obvious to you already that one monogamous relationship and another can be really different even though they share the same model.

What model works for given people -- which often isn't the same for every relationship or through a lifetime -- really varies, so someone being critical of someone for wanting or preferring any given model is pretty uncool. And why poly relationships don't work for everyone or aren't wanted by everyone usually isn't just about jealousy (and it's also not like people in monogamous relationships don't have to deal with that sometimes, too). So, should you find you like or want any given model, I'd not see it as one model working and the other being about ways you're not okay or are substandard. If your friend gave you that idea, they were probably being very simplistic in their thinking.

That all said, open relationships obviously mean the people in them can have more than one sexual and/or romantic partner at a time. Usually, for that to work well, not only does everyone involved (including the other partners) have to want that, it tends to require a good deal of self-awareness, excellent and open and communication and good negotiation. Those are all things any relationship of quality tends to need, but poly/open relationships can tend to require a lot more of those, and without those things, can tend to be a lot easier to muck up.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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