The poly lifestyle has become somewhat mainstream in recent years, but even so, there are many misconceptions about what it is and how it’s practiced.
As someone who has been in a poly relationship for over five years, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been called a cult member, homewrecker, degenerate, and victim. I’ve been told my partner would inevitably leave me in favor of his wife and that he should.
If I chose to bust every poly myth I’ve been spouted, this post would be a novel. Instead I present to you the four most ubiquitous.
4 Common Poly Myths Busted
1. Poly People Have Issues with Commitment
This myth stems from the assumption that polyamory is one big, no-holes-barred orgy and that no real emotional commitment can exist where more than one partner is concerned. While it’s true that some poly people engage in casual sex, many don’t.
Some choose the path of polyfidelity, which involves a very intense level of commitment. Not only does each member of a polyfidelitous polycule commit to one another, they also commit to their chosen relationship model, which—like monogamy—has serious, predetermined rules.
2. You Can’t Achieve Real Intimacy in Poly Relationships
Further to the above point, poly relationships can be just as deep and emotionally involved as monogamous ones. The notion that a person can’t be fully intimate with more than one partner speaks to the belief that love is a limited resource.
Poly relationships run on the premise that love is abundant and easily multiplied. While I will attest to the fact that—due to reduced contact—intimacy can take a little longer to develop in some poly relationships, it can and does. Some polycules cohabitate and raise families together—tell me that’s not intimate!
3. Polyamory Is a Fancy Word for Cheating
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most poly relationships come with more rules than monogamous ones, and run entirely on sexual transparency. The idea that polyamory is akin to cheating is laughable to those of us who are in long-term poly relationships.
Someone who has grown weary of their monogamous bond might claim to be poly in a bid to have as much sexual freedom as they want, but they don’t represent the poly lifestyle. They’re a player and wouldn’t last long in an actual poly relationship.
4. Someone Always Comes Last in Poly Relationships
Again, this comes back to the notion that love is scarce and that there’s only enough to properly satisfy one partner at a time. If someone in a poly relationship feels that they aren’t getting all that they need from it, they’re either not poly, not advocating for themselves, are with the wrong set of partners, or are in the wrong kind of poly relationship.
If they are a secondary partner and feel unhappy about the level of involvement they have in their partners’ lives, they should probably seek out an egalitarian arrangement. In a healthy polycule, no one feels chronically neglected.
Any more myths about polyamory you’re eager to bust? Leave us your thoughts in a comment!