articles written by Frances Amaroux
Ending the battle between the sexes
Why I believe in polyamory, but....
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Published in Insight Magazine March 2011
Why do we presume there is a ‘battle between the sexes’? And if there is one - is it natural, is it necessary, and could there be ways to end the war???
Much of our attitude to the differences between the sexes has been shaped by millennia of of a ‘Dominator’ ideology that clearly defines the roles of men and women...and therefore how they relate to each other.
The majority of Biological Psychology explains gender differences as mostly entirely to do with Biology, and survival of the fittest- with almost no reference to the effect that culture has on the construction of masculinity and femininity.
The spiraling divorce rate is testament that something is happening to our ideas of relationships in the 21st century, and there still seems no end to domestic violence, slavery and child pornography.
So, do we just throw up our hands in horror hoping to go back to the good ole days, or take it as a warning signal that its time for a change?...to explore, and perhaps embrace the new wave of feminism... the New Egalitarianism.
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MY TINY SECRETS
I love the idea of Polyamory. (Polyamory means honest non-monogamy… and no don’t confuse it with polygamy, which is a patriarchal construct where only men can have more than one sexual partner)
#1 Reason Pro Polyamory
I love it because I just like rebelling against society’s norms
#2 Reason Pro Polyamory
I love it because it clearly embraces feminism and equality.
#3 Reason Pro Polyamory
I love it from a practical stance: so few people seem capable of easily upholding monogamy, and they just end up cheating and hurting people they said they loved.
#4 Reason Pro Polyamory
But more than anything, I love it from a spiritual stance – in that, if we are spiritual beings whose base essence is ‘LOVE’… and love knows no boundaries… then who are we to even imagine that we puny beings could possibly limit loves expression to only one other physical form??
So heck, that’s a lot of plusses. But heck, I also perceive a few fundamental negatives. I’ve tried it myself; I’ve hung around poly communities, and helped scores of poly people with their relationships over the last 15 years of a 25 year career in counseling/coaching. But I have a fundamental concern. …
My sense is that we have not evolved enough as a species in terms of emotional intelligence to be successful with poly relationships.To live poly-amorously requires enormous emotional intelligence – ie the capacity to know yourself, transcend and include your ego, excellent communication skills, capacity to hold boundaries, feel empathy, be organized and highly responsible etc.
It also means that you have the willingness and capacity to hang in there when the going gets tough.What that means practically, is if you are not doing well with one partner, don’t run off and make yourself feel better with your other lover. Instead, hang in there and solve your issues together. It requires a deeply skilled capacity to play win-win
That means, no, you don’t have the ‘lets open up our relationship’ discussion with your long term spouse, and then introduce your new girlfriend a week later. (Heck, doesn’t it usually take longer than a week to decide if someone is your girlfriend? So, doesn’t that likely mean that you were going out with her before the ‘conversation’?)*
So that’s a perfect lead in to the fundamental requirement of all relationships, whether poly or mono – TRUST. To build trust requires absolute honesty and transparency. There is a huge risk in jumping out of the safer confines and understood limitations of monogamy, so trust is even more paramount in poly relationships.
It also requires lots and lots of time and a great ability to plan and schedule.If you are one of those people who highly value freedom (and if you are attracted to poly, then you likely are)… then be prepared to commit lots of time to discussing, negotiating, organizing and scheduling and creating guidelines and boundaries etc. All essential stuff if you don’t want to fall off the poly perch.
Most people find it too difficult to manage their chemicals. And no, I’m not talking about alcohol and drugs… tho’ abuse of drugs is also a sure-fire killer of relationships. I’m talking about the ubiquitous NRE (New Relationship Energy). When people meet someone new and all that glorious serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine are coursing through your veins, how easy can it be to forget or ignore your other companion. How easy can it be to spend all your spare cash on the new person, and leave your other companion to languish… no holidays, no long weekends, no flowers, no planning for childcare. (* these comments refer to real life examples*)
Okay, I could wax more lyrical, but its probably all been said previously in some excellent poly manuals. In essence, I think that as we evolve, we will tend more to enjoy having the choice of poly… as well as mature or love-based monogamy. But until then, the vast majority of us need to recognize that for every degree of freedom we would like, we also need to be more aware and responsible.
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