Have you discovered the polyamorous side of yours? Image: Thinkstock
I am committed and so is my girlfriend but I am not the only one she is committed to. Confusing eh? Well, that's polyamory for you.
When you are committed, both emotionally and physically, to more than one partner and your partners are also aware of it, that's called polyamory. Now, the set-up isn't quite conducive to Indian society, but then who doesn't like to bend rules for fun?
While some might look down upon people having polyamorous relationships, some consider it to be a product of a free society and a free mind. We spoke to an expert and a couple of people about polyamory and here's what they have to say.
Having a polyamorous relationship isn't a cakewalk
"Poly individuals face a lot of stigma and one of the biggest misconceptions is that it's all about sex. In poly relationships, people make emotional and loving commitments to each other, taking in the good and the bad. This kind of a relationship takes a lot of work to maintain, so being poly is far from an easy option. For starters, to keep more than one relationship going, small logistical matters require a lot of communication. These relationships are a lot more challenging," says Piya Banerjee, a Rational-Emotive & Cognitive Behavioural Therapist at Grey Matters Wellness.
"Also, there is an intense 'pressure to pair'. Monogamy is surrounded by a glowing halo and anyone who deviates from this norm seems to be viewed negatively. Even people who are in non-monogamous relationships rate monogamous relationships as higher quality. They have internalised this sense that this is not the best thing to do. The problem is that these judgements do not only affect the adults in polyamorous relationships, but it seeps into their children. Outsiders believe that children are affected by their parents’ lifestyle in a negative way, which is not necessarily the case," she adds.
If we can have multiple friends, why can't we have multiple partners?
"If I can have a few friends at the same time, why can't I have a few lovers simultaneously? The very basis of polyamory is transparency among all the parties involved... that's it. If the people who are involved in the relationship are okay with it, then that is perfectly okay in itself... it's obviously not everyone's cup of tea," says Anjishnu Banerjee, a Kolkata-based engineer.
"I have been in a steady relationship with my boyfriend for the last two years but both of us have felt sexual and psychological attraction towards different people in this span. We approached them with full disclosure among all of us... but nothing constructive has happened yet," he tells us.
It is in our nature to be polyamorous
"I am monogamous (one partner at a time and not one partner in a lifetime) and that's where I find my comfort zone. But something that keeps me thinking is why we see feelings and relationships only through the lens of physical intimacy? It is why the term 'asexual' came pretty late in our lives," says Heena Khandelwal, a Mumbai-based journalist.
"Also, how is it monogamy if I have emotions/feelings for two people at the same time but I'm involved physically with only one of them? Probably, it is in our nature to be polyamorous and it is all about how we chose to exercise it? I absolutely support people to be who they want to be and live however they like, and it is no one's business but their own to decide their comfort zone," she adds.
Polyamory makes you free-spirited
"Polyamory comes across as this forbidden fruit. And a forbidden fruit is obviously something that will always catch your attention. I have often thought of giving polyamory a shot. It makes you free-spirited and also broadens your horizon. A monogamous relationship makes you conservative and constricted, while a polyamorous one helps you discover several emotional twist and turns. It's more of a spiritual journey, which everybody should practise. But yeah, you need to have guts to have one, especially when you are born and brought up in a society like ours," believes Ankita Kapoor, a Hansraj College student.