Doing a bit of research for a video I’m making.
If you’re in an open/poly relationship, what misconceptions or questions have you had aimed at you about it?
If you’re not, what questions might you have for someone who is? What misconceptions have you had about open or poly relationships? What do you struggle to understand about them?
I’m not wanting to judge anyone for anything here, I’d just like to know what people find difficult to understand or deal with when it comes to polyamory and open relationships so I can try and deal with those misunderstandings.
Do help out and spread the word!
The 10 misconceptions I encounter most often, in no particular order:
1.) The assumption that polyamory is primarily about sex rather than relationships. The question I get the most, by far, is whether my partners and I all have threesomes.
2.) The assumption that my parents are disappointed or upset with my polyamory. My parents are really supportive of my multiple relationships - and even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t change the depth of my love or commitment to my partners.
3.) The assumption (more of an assertion, really) that “polyamory causes a ton of drama.” This is funny to me because 99.9% of all relationship drama I ever hear about is monogamous. People cause drama. No group of people has a monopoly on jealousy, lies, heartbreak, or gossip.
4.) The assumption that this is a “phase,” related to my time in college, or will fade out when I “grow up” or if I want to get married and have kids. People ask me what I’ll do when I get married, and I usually say something like “Invite my boyfriends.” I experience my polyamory as an innate sexuality rather than a this-seems-fun-now choice.
5.) The assumption that polyamory is “cheating.” It’s not.
6.) The assumption that I have a ton of sex/dates/boyfriends. This is not actually true! Polyamorous relationships take as much time and energy as mono ones - it’s not like I have a rolodex of boyfriends! The largest number of committed partners I’ve had at once is three, and right now I have two. In fact, being polyamorous limits my opportunities for sex and relationships in a lot of ways, because most guys who are interested in me back out when they find out I’m polyamorous. If you want a lifestyle of nonstop dates and hookups, I’d recommend being single, not polyamorous.
7.) The assumption that polyamory and the polygamy practiced by fundamentalist Mormon sects have anything to do with each other. They don’t.
8.) The assumption that I am bisexual or pansexual. There is a lot of overlap between the communities, but polyamory bisexuality, and pansexuality are different. I’m wired to like men - just more than one at a time!
9.) The assumption that I look down on mono people, think they’re less enlightened, or want to “convert” them. People sometimes get defensive of their own relationship practices when they find out that I’m poly, and I always make a point to let people know that I don’t think anyone should be judged for their preferences in relationships and that I have a ton of respect for monogamy - it’s just not for me!
10.) The assumption that I’m mono! It’s difficult to casually come out as poly - when meeting new people or having a relaxed conversation, opportunities to let people know that I’m poly without grinding the conversation to a screeching halt are rare. The extra energy required to just “be yourself” as a poly person can be a little exhausting sometimes.