The Polyamory Handbook for Monogamous People: Tip One Invest in your relationship

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

This morning I was reading an article in Scientific American called “The New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory May Be Good for You.” It outlines “what swinging couples and committed polyamorists can teach monogamists about love”.

According to Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont. Polyamorous couples “…are potentially doing quite a lot of things that could turn out to be things that if people who are practicing monogamy did more of, their relationships would actually be better off,” Holmes goes on to say, “People in these relationships really communicate. They communicate to death.”

The article is linked to another article listing “6 Scientific Tips for a Successful Marriage” by Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor The first tip in the polyamory handbook is, “work hard at your marriage”. While I think the whole concept of “working hard at your relationship” has an unappealing puritanical ring to it—I mostly agree with these two ideas for a great relationship. I get teased by my monogamous friends about my “verbose lifestyle”. And it does take a lot of communication, however I enjoy it. I feel very bonded to my husband and we both notice immediately when we are mis-attuned.

When we are out of sync with each other, it is agreed that we will invest energy to become aligned again. I do not see this as “working hard” at the relationship grindstone. It is actually fun and stimulating. I would reframe the whole concept of ‘working hard at marriage’ to investing in your marriage or relationship. Investing time, energy, love to keep things alive. I have a friend with a spectacular garden. She works on whenever she has a spare minute. She loves to plant, weed and grow her flowers. I understand her love of tending her garden. I feel the same about the time I spend evolving my relationship, it brings me joy and vitality. My idea of marriage is that it is fun to devote energy, attention and awareness to our partnership and what’s happening between us. Sometimes solidly monogamous couples can more easily take each other for granted, there can develop a “till death do us part”, “you’re stuck with me” attitude. But if there’s some openness in your marriage, you prize staying closely connected and feel motivated to maintain that vital bond.

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