When a marriage is on the rocks, many couples look to things like counseling to fix it. But there’s one often-overlooked option: polyamory. In some cases, polyamory makes marriages stronger. Find out if it can help yours.
What Is Polyamory?
Before you can decide if it can make your marriage stronger, you need to understand what it is. Polyamory is the act of having more than one sexual and loving relationship at a time. There is no strict definition of the term, and it can refer to a variety of different arrangements. But one firm rule is that everyone involved knows about the arrangement and consents.
The term was first developed in the 1980s. Since then, it’s grown in popularity. Although you might not see it on TV or read about it the newspapers, polyamorous relationships aren’t all that uncommon. One study estimates that 1.2 to 2.4 million couples are trying sexual non-monogamy in the US. There are no firm statistics, but experts estimate that 4-5% of the US population are in an ethical non-monogamous relationship.
Benefits of Polyamory
People have complex needs. Sometimes, you need more than one person to satisfy those needs.
1. It Makes You Communicate
For a polyamorous relationship to work, there need to be ground rules. Setting and enforcing those rules teaches you how to communicate. You talk about things you would otherwise keep buried inside. Best of all, you learn how to express your feelings without flinging insults or attacking your partner. Eventually, polyamory will give you the ability to sit down and have an open, honest conversation with your partner.
2. It Shows Your Dedication
You could just give up on your relationship. By trying something new shows that you’re willing to fight for your marriage. It may be what you need to get back that spark.
3. Sex Drives Change, and They’re Not Always Compatible
There are biological factors at play that can change your needs in the bedroom. After years of marriage, it’s possible that your sex drive has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, your partner may not have much of a sex drive at all. Unfortunately, there’s not always a magic pill that can make your needs compatible. No matter what happens, one person in the relationship winds up unhappy.
Is this sexual incompatibility cause to break up a marriage? Not if you’re in a polyamorous relationship. Bringing in someone else can keep you and your partner satisfied.
4. It Teaches You to Let Go of Your Anger
Polyamorous relationships teach you to forget about your frustration. If you have a problem with your partner, your new partner doesn’t want to hear about it. The dynamic of the relationship will help you leave behind your emotions and let go of all the bad energy. This self-improvement could change the way you and your partner interact. Letting go of all your past arguments can make the present that much better.
5. It Gives You Perspective
Bringing someone else into the relationship gives you perspective. You probably spent your whole marriage trying to see things from your partner’s perspective. Adding someone else into the mix gives you a chance to view things from another vantage point. It could change the way you look at your partner.
The Downside of Polyamory
1. It’s Not Just About the Sex
Sex always comes with strings attached. As much as you’d like it to be meaningless, sex always comes with emotion. Either you or your partner (if not both of you) will end up developing feelings for someone else. And that can be hard to deal with. For a polyamory to work, you need to be comfortable with your partner developing feelings of love for someone else. If this is something you don’t think you can eventually handle, it’s not a good option.
The world isn’t very accepting of polyamorous relationships. Polygamy has a stigma attached to it, and that carries over to polyamory. When people find out about your relationship, they may treat you differently. You may be looked down upon or insulted. Chances are, some of the people you care about will reject you and your lifestyle. The stress can put too much of a strain on your relationship and do more harm than good.
3. Time Management Is Difficult
It’s hard enough making time for one partner, but imagine making time for two. Polyamory can be especially stressful if you have a time-consuming career. You have to figure out how to create time for everyone in the relationship. Polyamory puts your time management skills to the test. The experience can run you ragged and can be a major source of stress, both of which will only hurt your marriage.
Is polyamory right for you? For some couples, it’s a worthwhile option. But if you think your marriage is beyond saving, it’s time to find a divorce attorney.