The expression polyamory comes from two Greek words: many and love. Therefore, polyamory means loving more than one person at the same time. Thus, it is much more than about sex, it’s more about love. If there’s no love involved in the relationships, it’s simply seen as swinging, which is a superficial form of polyamory.
Moreover, it shouldn’t be confused with polygamy, which is a legal, contractual form of polyamory, marrying more than one partner at the same time. Polygamy is illegal in most countries, and if it was too widespread, it would cause inequalities, because some men or women would be left without partners. In contrast, I think that polyamory is a completely viable choice, at least for the short term.
Furthermore, polyamory is not cheating, because all parties involved are aware of the multiple relationships and they give their full consent. It’s another question how many details you’re willing to share with your partner, and how many details your partner is ready to handle. Usually with time, the partners become more open, accepting and curious about these details.
You’ll be surprised to know that only 17% of mammals live in a strictly monogamous relationship. This is not surprising if you think about the evolutionary benefits of having multiple partners. The male mates with multiple females, because it gives his genes a higher chance to reproduce. The female can get more support and protection from multiple males, which gives both her and her offspring a higher chance to survive.
However, monogamy can also be beneficial in some cases, especially when the members of the species are highly dispersed, and it’s difficult for one male to be in contact with multiple females. Humans are also special in the sense that our babies need extra attention in the first few years, and if the parents stay together, they have more chance to raise their kid successfully.
Therefore, both monogamy and polyamory have evolutionary benefits, and along the same lines, some people are inherently inclined to prefer one over the other. However, what’s even more important than these biological reasons are the psychological aspects of monogamy versus polyamory.
Before I go into that, let me say that I’m neither for, nor against polyamory or monogamy. To me, both are acceptable, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with either of them. You can, in fact you should, try both, to decide what works best for you, and you can switch between the two as much as you feel like.
Life is about gaining experience, and the more experience you have, the more mature you become. Young people often make the mistake of settling for the first person that comes their way. Many people marry too young, out of fear of loneliness or social convention. It’s not surprising that these inexperienced and immature couples very often cheat each other and then divorce.
Before committing yourself for life, experiment with different types of relationships, and explore as many people as you can. Yes, try monogamy, and give your full attention to a single individual. But also try having multiple partners, because it’s evident that you’ll gain more experience, you’ll meet with various perspectives, and you’ll learn many things from each of your lovers.
But don’t forget about being single for a while as well! Don’t get attached to being in a relationship itself, and don’t think that you can’t be happy and complete on your own. The more you can love yourself, the easier all your relationships will become, because your relationship with yourself is the primary one, all else is only secondary.
You see, it’s not really about the type of relationship, it’s more about your attitude and intention. You can use both monogamy and polyamory to heighten or decrease intimacy, to increase or reduce attachment, to inflate or dissolve your ego, and last but not least, to escape from your inner self or to get to know yourself better.
True polyamory always comes from a place of true unconditional love. When you don’t love your partner for what he or she can give you, but for what he or she is. You are happy to see your partner happy, and it doesn’t matter to you, whether that happiness is connected to you or not. You also don’t rely on your partner for happiness, so you don’t feel hurt, and you don’t take it personally if the relationship ends. For more about this topic, see my video titled “What is unconditional love?”.
It’s very easy to get fixated on one single individual, almost to a level of devotion. For the other person, this dedication can often be felt as a burden, because your lover is expecting too much of you, and the relationship fills up with responsibilities, duties and obligations: all the things antagonistic to the values of free love.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to polyamory is the feeling of jealousy. While this emotion has some limited evolutionary benefits, if you want to live a harmonious polyamorous lifestyle and to experience unconditional love in general, this is the most essential attitude to overcome. Living without jealousy means that you don’t mind to share your partner with somebody else, you don’t look at him or her like a possession but like an individual and free human being. For more information, watch my video titled “How to overcome jealousy”.
For this reason, polyamory is recommended only for emotionally mature adults. If your love is needy, if you still have relationship issues from past traumas, if your self-worth is based on how much love you get, then polyamory is not for you. But for those who are emotionally and spiritually advanced, this type of lifestyle comes very naturally.
But is it truly possible to love more than one person at the same time? From my private experience, I can definitely answer with a yes. I love my ex girlfriends almost as much as I love the current one. Most of my life I was either single or monogamous, but there were also times when I had more than one partner, or when they changed frequently. I love women in general with all my heart, I think they’re the most incredible and beautiful beings in this world.
Unconditional love knows no boundaries, the limits come only from the ego, because the ego itself is limited. When the ego meets with this kind of boundless and limitless feeling, it simply melts away by the power of love. That’s why polyamory can be a way towards spiritual liberation, to a new kind of connection on a higher level.
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