Can polyamorous relationships work?

I’m a little perplexed about the idea of a polyamorous relationship and how they successfully work. I understand that they involve desiring intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners involved, but can’t imagine how this can happen without hurting the feelings of one of the parties.

Maybe this extends to the nuclear and very traditional European family I was raised in, one father, one mother, and two children. Where marriage was seen as between a man and a woman usually attained in their early twenties with the view of having children and remaining together for their lifetime. But in a few short decades how this has all changed. Our minds have opened, and in Australia at least we are free to happily marry who we like finally. Marriage aside we are also able to have relationships with who we like. 

Recent podcasts and articles about polyamory have shifted my views of relationships again and forced me to re-examine the style or type of relationship I’d like to be in. By no means have I dismissed the traditional nuclear family yet… imagining what it could feel like to be in a consenting relationship with two men, who also have another female partner. The first thing that comes to mind is it would take a lot of hard work! To coordinate schedules and ensure both received equal time. How would living arrangements work? Financially splitting the costs would also prove interesting. Would there be one central couple with the other partner an extension of this? Can you in fact equally love two people. I’ve often thought that one person cannot totally fulfill the needs of another so perhaps this is a solution worth considering. Most importantly though, could you function in a polyamorous relationship without constantly feeling hurt knowing your love is off with another partner?

I’ve had friends join swingers parties and it’s usually the men who seem to enjoy them the most. The thought of being in a room with strangers all just there for one reason doesn’t interest me in the least no matter how much they try and persuade me with stories of fun and respect. Going to a swingers event alone actually terrifies me! Horses for courses as they say.

Polyamory is touted as ‘consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.’ The consensual and non-monogamy I understand, however the ethical does bother me. Ethics typically relates to moral principles, which begs the question, what are the moral principles of being in a relationship? My definition may go something like this: An ethical relationship is a trustworthy relationship that one has with another human being with the responsibility to care for and protect them from harm. As we never know what another person really thinks I wonder if we can ethically have a polyamorous relationship.

Clearly, I have more questions than answers and am interested if any readers have been in this type of relationship and would like to share their stories, or even better answer one of my myriad of questions!


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