Polyamory is gaining mainstream respect every day. What has existed on the margins or in the realm of “other”—other cultures, other customs, other ways—is now getting credit from stuffy establishment newspapers, doctors and psychologists, families and friends. More and more people are recognizing the lifestyle as practical, normal, and natural. So why do some people leave polyamory?
Arguably, more people leave monogamy than leave polyamory. But like anything, from a profession to a religion to a relationship, people sometimes shift gears.
Common Reasons People Leave the Poly Lifestyle
They gave it a try, but it didn’t work for them.
The freedom to explore and experiment also means the freedom to respond honestly. Some people are curious about having more than one lover or allowing their partner that liberty, but didn’t find it fulfilling or comfortable. It may also be that the reality of sharing a lover or engaging in group-sex encounters didn’t match the fantasy.
They didn’t find what they were looking for.
They might enter into a polyamorous lifestyle or community expecting to find like-minded individuals, connection, or sexual fulfillment. But maybe that didn’t happen for them.
They were disappointed.
So much depends on what a person’s expectations are. Great expectations can lead to great disappointment. Perhaps their needs weren’t met after all. Perhaps they hoped people were less prone to drama and bickering. Perhaps they weren’t able to overcome their own jealousy.
They feel lonely.
Polyamory can be all about community and communal life and family blending, but it can also be a very independent way of relating to others.
The very appeal for many people is living life on their own terms, living alone, independently, with many romantic or erotic relationships. For some people, this leaves them feeling hollow. Their choices seem nice in theory, but they still go home alone and find they want something more domestic and traditional.
They enter into a new kind of commitment.
They might fall in love with someone who is more traditionally minded. A person might choose to enter into a monogamous commitment because the person they’re in a relationship with wants or needs that, and they agree to it. Some people describe themselves as poly-mono, being flexible to live either lifestyle, depending who they are committed to.
They renounce polyamory.
Most people who leave polyamory, permanently or temporarily, don’t do so out of a moral imperative or religious conviction. They continue to support friends from their former community and uphold freedom and consent as their standards. Their decision is personal. But for some, it’s political or moralizing—they become opposed to the lifestyle.
It can be easier to blame a personal decision, change, or betrayal on “everyone” instead of on yourself or your situation, so some people take this stance simply because there is safety in numbers—if I was wrong, we’re all wrong! That helps alleviate some personal responsibility and fallibility by blaming society.
Their libido falls.
All that dating, juggling of out-of-town lovers, threesomes, moresomes, polycules—the very thrills that most people see as the benefit, even the motivation of polyamory—can all feel overwhelming or a waste of time to someone who loses their libido. It could be age, illness, hormonal issues, having a child, or any number of things that causes a change in desire. And that change might bring with it a change in lifestyle.
Lots of monogamous people who lose desire choose to curl up with a good book instead of getting naked with their husband. Someone with many lovers may choose to curl up naked with just one when that happens.
Are you considering leaving the poly lifestyle? Please share YOUR reasons in the comments!