“Poly” read the second line description of a dark, tall and handsome 21-year-old male’s Tinder account that I had just matched with. At first, I thought it was some kind of reference to people from the islands of Polynesia, like Tongans, Samoans, Fijians etc. Well boy, was I wrong. When I queried him on it, he had but a simple explanation for me, “Why limit myself to one person?”
Baffled by his succinctness, I resorted to Google and discovered that “poly” was actually a shortened term for “polyamory”—colour me stupid. After my deep dive, I responded, “Very interesting…” which was then quickly followed by his retort of, “Well there’s plenty to go around baby.” And women’s eyes rolled everywhere.
With a single raised eyebrow and my optimism in our species ever-dwindling—I deemed him a bad egg and decided to continue on in my quest of enlightenment.
I discovered that polyamory literally translates to “many loves” and means being in multiple non-gender-specific relationships in which all parties involved have full knowledge of and consent to. Polyamorous relationships aren’t dependant on sexual orientation and practically rejects the concept of exclusivity.
So, to all the hopeless romantics out there, it looks like the “traditional” monogamous order of things; meet someone, get married, have kids and then meeting your inevitable end, just isn’t cutting it anymore.
It’s a lot to get your head around at first. Especially because many of us have been conditioned by society to sit on our asses by a windowsill, hoping and praying that prince charming will ride up to the window, whilst holding a stereo and simultaneously ticking all of our boxes. Well, I can tell you that my ass is getting sore and I’m beginning to think that maybe these folks are actually onto something.
Christina Pennell, 33-year-old pansexual cis woman, and administrator of Polyamory Perth says that the polyamorous community in Perth is already quite large and is growing quickly as acceptance of non-traditional relationships become more widespread.
“I am in polyamorous relationships. I currently have two partners. One of whom I have been living with for almost ten years, and another who I have been dating for almost three years,” said Pennell.
Polyamory Perth hold monthly meetups and discussion groups that allow its members to “communicate ideas, make like-minded friends and get advice from people who have been or are in similar situations”, explained Pennell.
Some scientists consider monogamy in humans as a “societal structure rather than a natural state”. It is conceivable that it is becoming outdated and unrealistic to expect one person to fulfil all of the other’s needs. Especially in a time saturated with dating apps, many considering the grass to always be greener on the other side, and an affair available at the touch of a screen.
Polyamory allows needs that aren’t being met in one relationship, to be met in another—whether they be sexual or emotional and so on. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!
Polyamorists uniquely structure their relationships to suit them, meaning that sleeping and living arrangements differ from one relationship to the next. It’s actually pretty brilliant that no one polyamorous relationship is the same.
Many people exclaim, “I could never do it. I’m just too much of a jealous person”, although a number of polyamorists consider it to be an effective way to combat the green-eyed monster. Polyamory can actually reduce feelings of jealousy because they aren’t as afraid of their partner leaving them for someone else because they weren’t exclusive, to begin with. There is no “all or nothing” or “one over the other”.
As polyamory appears to become increasingly more common, I acknowledge that it’s not for everyone. An open heart and mind are instrumental because it really does work brilliantly for some. But it is for some people, and that’s brilliant. With all of this in mind, if you happen to see three, four, five or six people walking hand in hand down the streets of Perth, please don’t judge them. Personally, I’m going to continue on trying to lock down just one boyfriend, let alone a herd of them, but a girl can dream though, right?