Polyamory Doesn’t Equal Cheating

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A recent article from The Guardian delved into a common issue associated with polygamy and polyamorous relationships—cheating.

Guardian contributor Emer O’Toole described a recent interaction with a man at a party, where the man expressed his desire to be in a relationship like O’Toole’s, a polyamorous arrangement. When O’Toole asked the man if he discussed the possibility with his partner, the man said she was too traditional and narrow-minded to consider it. He then flatly told O’Toole that he cheated on his girlfriend because she wouldn’t go for a polyamorous relationship.

O’Toole made his opinions of the man’s actions known, calling it an “unfortunate attempt to use poly identity as an excuse for shitty treatment of his girlfriend.” But his story brings up an interesting point: people outside of polyamory seem to think it’s a form of cheating. However, O’Toole made it clear that that is not the case or the mindset of those within the community.

While he admitted that it’s not easy to define polyamory, he has no trouble explaining what it isn’t. “Poly isn’t cheating. It isn’t lying. It isn’t a disregard for the agreements you share with the people you love,” he wrote. “And it certainly isn’t positioning monogamous people as more blindly traditional or less emotionally evolved than you.”

Unfortunately, it seems that the man O’Toole ran into isn’t an isolated case for those looking to branch out from their partner. According to a survey about cheating performed by Adam and Eve, there are several reasons why people decide to cheat on their significant others. Most people (45 percent) claimed it happened out of the blue, but 33 percent said they cheated because it was exciting. After that, 30 percent claimed sexual boredom as their reason while 23 percent simply said they were lonely.

While people may associate these reasons with the drive to be polyamorous, the real reasons behind the decision to be polyamorous has little relation to cheating at all. According to this post at Love More, one partner isn’t searching for another because they’re unhappy with their current partner, which usually leads to cheating. Instead, they want to love their partners equally, sharing their intimate feelings emotionally, spiritually, and physically with both. Then, when outside desires no longer have to cause the end of relationship, you can create a polyamorous relationship that is stronger, more open, and more honest than any monogamous relationship could ever be.

Now, that isn’t to say that people in polyamorous relationships are more evolved or at all better than those who choose monogamy. Actually, perhaps polyamorous site More Than Two describes it best when they say that “Poly people have a different preferred relationship style, that’s all.” The writer at that site continues to state that “I’ve seen monogamous people who are enlightened, passionate, caring, compassionate, wise, and benevolent people. I’ve met poly people who are selfish, inconsiderate jerks.” In conclusion, it seems that “people are people,” meaning that you can be pretty much any type of person, regardless of your relationship model.

I couldn’t agree more.

Angela Peck is a twenty-something freelance writer and photographer. She lives in Knoxville, TN, with her two rescue dogs, Bits and Bobs.

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