Ask Mia: What's the Problem with Polyamory?

Q. I’ve recently discovered I’m polyamorous, but my wife of 9 years does not support me in this preference. I’ve tried several internet dating boards in the attempt to explore my interest, but I am really not finding people who understand the situation I am in. Am I looking in the wrong places? Is polyamory really so misunderstood in this day and age?

A. Apparently, polyamory is misunderstood, and I offer your letter as exhibit A. Polyamory is not just something you discover within yourself. Unlike homosexuality or a foot fetish, it is not simply a personal orientation.

Polyamory is a way of life that some people choose to embark on after realizing they want to share their life, their love, and/or their beds with more than one person, and after—AFTER—they obtain the agreement and blessing of any and all parties involved. Most folks in polyamorous arrangements have complex agreements about the hows, wheres, whats, and whos of engaging in relationships with people other than their primary partners, and they communicate constantly to make sure that each one of their relationships is healthy and happy. You can’t discover you are polyamorous any more than you can discover you’re the governor of Minnesota.

Since you have obtained no such agreement from your wife, I can only assume that when you say you’ve “discovered” you are polyamorous, what you mean is that you’ve discovered you’d like to sleep with other people. A desire to have sex with people other than your wife is understandable, even natural, but it’s not polyamory, and let’s not try to put a sexy spin on your oh-so-familiar wandering eye by labelling it with a fancy word.

If you want to sleep with women other than your wife, that’s your business. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re somehow unique in being driven to do this (You just happen to be polyamorous! The wife doesn’t understand! What ARE you to do?). Polyamory is a consensual arrangement which requires open, honest communication among all parties involved. If you’re stepping out on your wife without her blessing, you’re not polyamorous. You’re just a big ol’ lying cheater like anyone else.

p.s. My guess is the reason you’re not having any luck with your online efforts is because your story sounds dishonest. There are plenty of dating sites for people who are married and cheating. Get real about where you’re coming from, and you’ll have a better chance of finding what you seek.

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