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Jacques 1 Angelica Jacques John Kubler English 114A 22 October 2013 True Love or Shared Love: Is there a Difference?

Jackie was in her late twenties and she was starting to wonder if she was ever going to find the love of her life. One night, she was at a friends barbecue and she met a man named Marcus. She and Marcus hit it off great and, by the end of the night, they exchanged numbers. After a few months of dating, Jackie knew that Marcus was the one for her and she felt as if Marcus felt the same way about her too! But little did she know, Marcus had a wife and two other girlfriends. He was participating in a polyamorous relationship and he was finally ready to tell Jackie about this aspect of his life. He wanted to introduce her to the other women, so he sat Jackie down and explained to her what polyamory was. Jackie had never heard of such a thing and she was definitely not pleased to hear this, so she ended the relationship. Jackie was shocked by Marcus revelation and was certain his lifestyle is wrong. However, one wonders if Jackie is old fashioned and if society should reevaluate how a relationship is defined. In our modern day, the hetero-normal relationship is between one man and one woman. There are some weaknesses in these monogamous relationships such as the temptation to stray, and sexual fidelity(Laslocky, 1). Because of these temptations, the rate of divorce in society today is why some people may turn to polyamory. Furthermore, over the past few years, there have been television shows that demonstrate polyamorous relationships in them, but typically reality television focuses on the struggles of a traditional relationship or the sexual exploitations of people treating sex as a recreational activity. So, with that being said, the

Jacques 2 question arises as to whether reality television is merely trying to show us how others live or is it trying to persuade us to accept things and lifestyles as appropriate? The few polyamorist reality shows such as My Five Wives and Sisters Wives which appear on TLC have highlighted the unusual aspects of sharing a spouse as well as the benefits of living in a multiple-adult relationship. This leads one to question whether the benefits of such a relationship outweigh the problems and social stigma with living this way. As I was looking into the benefits of a polyamorous relationship, I found many positive aspects of living a life with multiple spouses. In the past, I have watched television shows that portray polyamorous relationships and they have shown me that the support system can be stronger compared to a relationship that practices monogamy. This is because there are more people available to share the burden, provide support, cook meals, and do daily household chores. However, having more helping hands in the house also means having more personalities that need to be accommodated. For example, if there are multiple kids, then the stages of the so called terrible twos or the well known stage of the teenage attitude crisis will be that much worse because there will be more kids. Also, the benefits that can be achieved through polyamorous relationships can also be achieved through multigenerational housing and communal living without the problems and baggage that polyamorous relationships bring. In doing more research on the Internet, I found that most members of society have a negative view of polyamory for many reasons. An article from the Oprah Winfrey magazine on polyamorous relationships states the wife no longer feels adequate enough because she alone does not satisfy him. Instead, she is forced to compete for her husband's affections(Shmuley, 1). Another primary reason where the stigma comes from is that people view it as a feeble excuse to

Jacques 3 have multiple sexual partners. Although some people may think that the idea of more sex with multiple partners sounds attractive, that is not always the case. The type of lifestyle of having to schedule your sex and coordinate who gets to sleep with whom can be very stressful. According to Deborah Anapol in her article titled The Downside of Polyamory, she says that polyamory has the potential to increase stress...an emotional meltdown may result(Anapol, 1). Why would someone want to live in an environment where you have to compete with four other women for attention? Polyamory can not only bring stress to someones life, but it can also portray signs of psychological problems. Therapists have treated a lot of clients whose polyamory relationship showed signs of manipulation, dishonesty, dysfunctional patterns, abandonment, insecurity about desirability, [and a]sense of failure as mistakes are made(Davidson, Ph.D, 1). The nature of these types of relationships can cause issues such as gender inequality, low self esteem, jealousy, etc., and these can be manifested into many different types of psychological problems. For example, if Jackie were to stay with Marcus, she would be in constant wonder if Marcus really loved her or if he was just using her. It is really mind boggling as to why someone would want to make themselves vulnerable to this psychological pain! As humans, we are wired to seek happiness and finding love is part of that happiness. From a young age, children growing up in the United States watch films such as Disney movies that are about true love. Whether it be about princesses finding love, or dogs finding love, there is always one common theme and it is that love is between two individuals of the opposite sex. I think that the movie Crazy, Stupid Love is a perfect example of how people can look at sex as shallow, but then be transformed when they find their one true love and they are willing to give up all of their other sexual partners for him or her. In the movie, Jacob is your typical womanizer man whose main goal is to get women home and into his bed. When he meets

Jacques 4 Hannah and takes her home, his whole view point changes. He falls in love with her and she becomes the most important thing in his life. This type of love is more natural for human beings, and having more than one spouse is what makes polyamory unnatural. While I was conducting an ethnography, I observed and interviewed a couple named Kevin and Julie that have been dating for 16 years. They do not live together, and they are perfectly in love and happy. They said that the key to their successful relationship was their compatibility and the ability to put each other first. I think that their statement about putting each other first says a lot about a monogamous relationship and how you only have to focus on one person. In a polyamorous relationship, there is compatibility, but this type of relationship lacks the ability to put someone first which can eventually alter that compatibility. When someone has to divide their attention and intimacy among two or more people, it is likely to create jealousy. This jealousy can then turn into a more serious issue causing the people in the relationship to get into arguments and eventually lose their compatibility. Once compatibility is lost between partners, the relationship is then difficult to maintain. Jackie was disappointed that Marcus wasnt her one true love, but she is going to continue to look for happiness. Just as Jackie continues to search for her happiness, everyone searches for the person who will complete their life; it is human nature to do so. As we all search for happiness and for love because it is our nature, it is important that we are all on the same playing field. When there are people in the world looking for a polyamorous relationship, it goes against the norm and it makes it that much harder for those who are trying to find their happiness with a monogamous relationship. Polyamorous relationships are on the rise, and society needs to realize how detrimental they can be to individuals as well as society as a whole and we must resist their acceptance. Those within polyamorous relationships are

Jacques 5 susceptible to damages to their psyche because of issues of inequality and societal stigma. These multi-partner relationships can be emotionally and psychologically damaging to everyone involved in them. Although monogamous relationships have their difficulties, the effects of their breakups are not as detrimental as those of polyamorous relationships. Within a polyamorous relationship there are multiple people involved and that amounts to more broken hearts when a breakup occurs. This is because the relationships themselves as well as the difficulties are more accepted within society. Therefore, there is a stronger support system of those in monogamous relationships.

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Works Cited Anapol, Deborah T. The Downside of Polyamory: Polyamory is Not a Good Choice for Everyone. PsychologyToday.com. Sussex Publishers, LLC., 27 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 October 2013. Crazy, Stupid, Love. Dir. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Perf. Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone. Warner Brothers, 2011. Film. Davidson, Joy. Working with Polyamorous Clients in the Clinical Setting. EJHS.org. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 5, 16 Apr. 2002. Web. 22 October 2013. Laslocky, Meghan. Face it: Monogamy is Unnatural. CNN.com. CNN, Turner Broadcasting System, 21 Jun. 2013. Web. 22 October 2013. Shmuley, Rabbi. "Polygamy in Society." Oprah.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 December 2013.