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Friday, 05 August 2011 23:00

Monogamy VS Polyamory

Written by 

marriage

Dear Sappho,

I am a monogamous lesbian who has had a series of long-term serial relationships but I have always felt that marriage was not for me - even in a lesbian relationship. Committing a vow or  a promise to love just one woman indefinitely, or as some prefer, through-out infinity makes me uneasy. In fact it makes me feel like I could possibly be called a liar in the future. How can anyone possibly promise something that far in advance without knowing all the possible outcomes? 

At any rate, since I was young and had three girlfriends at the same time I have always felt that all lesbians should be free to love any one by mutual choice with the full consent and knowledge of all parties involved. Isn’t that what emotionally mature lesbians did on Lesbos? Marriage has never been the final goal of any of my relationships.

Do you understand what I am advocating and if so can you give some positive examples of how to socially navigate such an ideology? It’s a step further than freeing love from oppression and I’m curious as to whether do you think it is a step in the right direction?

Free Love Evolving

 

Dear Free Love Evolving, 

You ask a most intriguing question, especially in this time when we are actively championing Gay Marriage as a Civil Right. Maybe you just haven’t met the right girl yet. Society still honors traditional marriage as a social and religious contract, when in fact it is also a civil right that is only made legal through law. Which is why it is so important to so many gay people as it legally legitimizes their personal commitment and often involves property and or children, in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. Since we have separation of church and state here in the USA, I believe, with the majority of Americans that marriage is a legal contract that is a right that belongs to all citizens. Some marriages are also spiritual contracts, they are not licensed by the state, as only legal contracts are licensed and recorded by the state.

The kind of love you are advocating is known as “Polyamory” and it is the practice of having multiple, honest, loving relationships at the same time. Unlike affairs, poly relationships are intended to be honest and consensual. Polyamory runs from somewhat casual affairs to extremely committed group relationships. It is not for the faint of heart, but then neither is marriage. I suppose I did practice a form of “Polyamory on Lesbos, but I had my favorites, as we all do. Finding other like minded individuals who you are mutually attracted to and are able to love in mutually satisfying ways may be the biggest hurdle, besides gaining mutual consent and cooperation to live your heart to your heart’s desire. Consenting to free love is a noble goal, however, permission may not be granted by the rest of your commune or social group. 

Polyamorous affairs may cause so much trouble that most lesbians probably love other women in secret and spare themselves the drama. You know, like royalty. There is no reason to limit the definition of love to marriage or monogamy only. It is a limited type of thinking. However few lesbians have succeeded at polyamory, women being raised to be faithful wives, and all that. Natalie Barney, a American lesbian who lived in Paris, was one of the few women who did. She literally had hundreds of lovers in her lifetime. She required all of them to agree to her non-monogamy and had their full consent to be Herself as She pleased. Of course, she was filthy rich and lived to be 95. Some women turn off their feelings for other people when they fail to reciprocate mutual responses.

Statistics show that the average relationship only lasts 3.9 years, about the same amount of time that dopamine influences the passion in our love affairs. After that one needs to be sufficiently grounded in a true partnership or develop other satisfying elements in the relationship to offset the loss of the novelty of the dopamine driven love affair. Having said that, let me say this, love is always the best choice, so always choose love.Why can’t we all just love each other and let love? I would far prefer to see love linked to civil rights, freedom, the higher self. That way when the marriage fails - as 50% of them do, you will be left with your self-esteem and individuality intact.

In my time marriage was neither mandatory nor expected - but I did live on Lesbos in the 5th century BCE . Few people fulfill all of another’s wants, needs, and desires, or want to. Yet, no other emotion or action seems to be confined or restrained to other people’s morality as much as love. Your ideology is very evolved and you may be ahead of your time. Yes, I agree, it is a lover’s dream come true, to freely love who ever you love as you really love them. It sounds very good in theory and I wish you the best possible luck with all of your girlfriends, especially any jealous or controlling ones.

Love Always
xoxo
Sappho

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