But we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other.

Fascinating piece on the BBC website.

Polyamory - BBC WebsiteImagine one house, with four people, but five couples. How does it work, asks Jo Fidgen.

Charlie is talking excitedly about a first date she went on the night before.

Next to her on the sofa is her husband of six years, Tom. And on the other side of him is Sarah, who’s been in a relationship with Tom for the last five years. Sarah’s fiance, Chris, is in the kitchen making a cup of tea.

The two women are also in a full-blown relationship, while the two men are just good friends. Together, they make a polyamorous family and share a house in Sheffield.

“We’re planning to grow old together,” says Charlie.

Polyamory is the practice of having simultaneous intimate relationships with more than one person at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all partners. The term entered the Oxford English Dictionary only in 2006, and such relationships are rare enough that Tom finds himself having to account for his personal situation time and time again.

Great stuff, and remember they say that “we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other”.

But what about the way that polyamorous relationships are intrinsically abusive and about power networks?

Sarah, Tom and Charlie agree that a safe base is important, but see no reason why only monogamy can provide one.

“I feel safe and secure, with the ability to trust and grow, with Tom, Sarah and Chris,” says Charlie. “It is from the base and security of the three of them that I face the world and the challenges the day brings.”

“The way I see it, it’s only a problem if I feel like one of my partners is spending more time with all their other partners than with me,” says Sarah. “It just leads to people feeling hurt.”

A shared Google calendar is the answer.

“We mostly use it for keeping track of date nights,” says Charlie. “The couple who is on a date gets first pick of what film goes on the TV and it helps keep track of who’s in what bedroom.”

Sarah chips in. “So, for example, I have a weekly date night with Charlie. It’s us snuggling up, us with the TV, us going to bed together and all that kind of business.”

Perel sees polyamory as “the next frontier” – a way of avoiding having to choose between monotony and jealousy.

“We have a generation of people coming up who are saying, we also want stability and committed relationships and safety and security, but we also want individual fulfilment. Let us see if we can negotiate monogamy or non-monogamy in a consensual way that prevents a lot of the destructions and pains of infidelity.”

See – utterly consensual. And remember of course they say “we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other”.

But what about these other relationships?

They had agreed that they could have other sexual partners, but forming an emotional attachment with someone else was a different matter.

But hey, that’s OK because remember “we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other”.

What about marriage? Should the state recognise their different relationship rather than letting society treat them as different and inferior?

Making marriage available to everyone says so much about the society that we are and the society that we want to live in – one which respects individuals regardless of their sexuality. If a group is told again and again that they are less valuable, over time they may start to believe it. In addition to the personal damage that this can cause, it inhibits the potential of a nation. For this reason too, I am pleased that we have had the courage to change.

Oh no wait, I got that from somewhere else. But here’s what that chap had to say next.

As Lord Alderdice put it when arguing for civil partnerships in 2004: ‘One of the most fundamental rights of all is the right to have close, confiding, lasting, intimate relationships. Without them, no place, no money, no property, no ambition – nothing – amounts to any value.. It seems to me a fundamental human right to be able to choose the person with whom you wish to spend your life and with whom you wish to have a real bond’,

I couldn’t agree more.

I suspect Sarah, Chris, Charlie and Tom couldn’t agree more either. Ball’s in your court now Cameron.

And don’t forget folks, they didn’t have a choice, they’re in love with each other. It’s all about love and who are you in your bigotry to tell them that their love is worth less than yours?

HT the clone

8 Comments on “But we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other.

  1. we don’t have a choice. We’re in love with each other

    I’m not sure who reacts more strongly against this, the Christian in me or the ex-existentialist in me. It’s bad faith either way.

  2. “polyamorous relationships are intrinsically abusive and about power networks”

    I think this is a bit of a myth. Jealousy is about power and control – not the number of people in the relationship.

  3. We are a nation of individuals now. As long as you continue to borrow money to buy stuff, I don’t think the current crop of politicians really care. Non-monogamy could help with the economic recovery! Use Google calendar to keep track of what you have to buy for whom.

    • It could also help with the housing crisis – larger families living under one roof. And sharing cars and household utilities – that’s got to be good for the environment. Better family financial stability as well because there’s bound to be somebody employed in the household. Lower divorce rate because people could just agree to move new girlfriend/boyfriend in rather than being forced to choose. And children better taken care of because people take it in turns to stay home rather than being forced to drop kid in a government nursery. I’m talking myself into this …

  4. As usual, campaigners have failed to ask themselves whether they would accept their own arguments if they were being made about a desire or behaviour that they disapprove of!
    In this case I think the answer would be, plainly, no.

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