8 Pros And Cons Of Polyamorous Dating After Divorce — Is It For You?

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Love, Sex

This up and coming lifestyle might be worth a second look.

When I first came across the label “polyamorous” in online dating, I was totally clueless. Did “poly” (Greek for “many”) refer to the guy in question’s own sexual identity — bisexual, homosexual, ergo polysexual? If so, how many more ways can you be sexual other than bi?

After doing some research, I found this definition: "Polyamory is the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time." OK, so everyone involved can see/sleep with whoever they want, right? Isn’t that called dating? I figured that any guy listing polyamory in his profile was a player and moved along.

But polyamory kept showing up on TV, in articles, in scientific research and in questions from my clients. And an article in the Huffington Post just announced a niche dating site called OpenMinded, which helps “users connect with other individuals who are looking for relationships outside of a traditional, monogamous commitment to another person.”

Given the numerous ways in which polyamory is cropping up in my professional and personal conversations, I decided to take a peek at OpenMinded and saw an interesting shift in today’s dating world — couples and singles alike are free to explore a wide variety of relationship mixes without being made to feel like sneaky lurkers or freaks of nature.

There is a clear statement upon sign-up that this is not a place for cheaters, as polyamory is not a code name for infidelity. The expectation is that all parties involved are willing participants in an open dynamic. The look of the site is light, friendly and quite transparent, with new members receiving a warm welcome message inviting feedback and listing user-requested features that they might add in the future.

I may live and breathe divorce, but I'm a huge believer in love, marriage and family. If there's a way to live happily ever after, I d*mn well want to find it! Having read about and discussed polyamory at length with friends and clients, I'm starting to think this lifestyle is worth serious consideration.

Call me crazy, but maybe polyamory is the ideal relationship dynamic — after divorce. Happy marriages don’t end in divorce, and why fix what isn’t broken? But if your marriage didn’t work, polyamory is possibly a vital ingredient to a happier future. Isn’t Einstein’s definition of insanity “repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”? If you want a happy second marriage, something has to change. Is monogamy that something?

Personally, I am still in the pros/cons list-making stage, so here are my current thoughts:

Pros:

1. More Love! 

When you finally get your brand new divorce-emblazoned lease on life, it's tough sometimes to settle down again. Not because you don’t believe in love any more, but because the whole until death do us part thing has already been shot to shreds, and you see now that love comes in so many different flavors.

2. No Libido Limits

After a certain age, matching libidos becomes a complicated task. I know just as many 40-somethings dying to have sex all the time as I do who are dying to never have to have sex again. If the idea of not getting enough sex or being asked for too much is the only thing standing in the way of you and your true love, maybe polyamory is your perfect answer.

3. You’ll Stay Light On Your Feet

Polyamory organically keeps your courting session in gear at all times. It's foolish to take your love for granted when you know he/she is seeing others as well. Is he really going to bitch at you about the laundry when he knows you have a hot date with the guy from the gym tonight? Are you going to pee with the door open if he can head over to his newly single female co-worker’s place? I know I'd show my best behavior at all times, and the truth is I feel better overall when I am my best self. Win-win!

4. You Can Lighten Your Long-Distance Load

LDRs (Long Distance Relationships) are rarely ideal, and custody issues make them much more complicated. How on Earth will either of relocate so you're together full-time if you each have children? A polyamorous relationship can make the down-times between seeing each other more fun and less burdensome.

Cons:

1. There Are Trust Issues

These are hard enough when you commit to each other. Polyamorous couples often set specific guidelines like, “Do pay attention to your partner’s partners.” Huh? If I were to dip my toes in the polyamorous pond, I don't want to know one single detail about another woman. But then any time his phone would buzz and he moved the screen before I can see it, I would wonder. Every time he's out with a friend, I would wonder. At some point, I would probably find myself making a passive-aggressive accusation. Even if I trusted him, could I trust myself not to screw it all up?

2. It Might Confuse The Kids

Let’s say my boyfriend and I agree to try polyamory. As I said, I don’t want details. Now let’s say my kids are out and about with their dad and see my boyfriend and his alternate girlfriend snuggling together in a booth at the local IHOP? I'm already confused about how I would feel myself. How would I help my kids process this?

3. Jealousy Can Happen

OK, I could probably get past the trust issues and find the right words for the kids. Still, I cannot imagine that I wouldn’t wonder if, when he was doing something with someone else, he isn’t doing it with her better. Or longer. Or more often. Or more happily. Or more anything …

4. There's Abuse Potential

You must watch polyamorous relationships carefully. As with all relationships, polyamory requires the thoughtful consent and mutual responsibility of all parties involved. Polyamory is not an excuse for one partner to cheat while the other must stay faithful. Never allow a significant other to make you feel required to accept this form of relationship.

Looking over this list it’s clear to me that the I could alter the pros and cons of polyamory just slightly to create an identical list for monogamy. I could ask you to read both lists and decide which lifestyle is the better choice for me, but that's impossible for you because you're not me. Who am I to tell you which lifestyle is right for you or any other two consenting adults?

Have a question about dating after your own divorce? Thinking about divorce but worried the dating scene will be a mess? Contact Arianna to schedule your personal divorce coaching session at ajeret@ajmediation.com.

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