I think this is a very well written book. It has a clear structure and the research has been done methodically. It gives evidence that monogamy is a social construction serving to the kind of society we have created mainly in our Western culture. This social construction serves our capitalism system, which is interested in minorising other communities such as non-monogamous people among others. The ultimate aim of capitalism is to break these communities apart because they are a threat to this system, that is, to the so called nuclear family, where especially the white heterosexual father plays the main role. He is the one that succeeds and earns most. However, I think this is actually a paradox in itself because capitalism is also destructive for the nuclear family. If people have to work more hours, earn less money but enough to be functional consumers, this psychical and physiological load caused by overwork and low wages leads to anxiety, depression and other illnesses which destroy traditional families too.
In Polyamorie the established monogamous norms are being questioned by the interviewed people the author uses for her research. In fact, they all experience a changing process in their lives that moves them from a monogamous world into polyamory. This process is painful but the solution they find afterwards is successful. It is not that they are against monogamy, it is just that they do not fit into this pattern as human beings. They all end up finding polyamory as the only possible option for themselves. In this sense they are building new ways of inclusive communities in our society. By doing so they act in a very responsible way as opposed to what is often considered as frivolous or superficial promiscuity from a monogamous point of view.
I think polyamory is an option that some people will encounter in their lives, which makes sense because we are not monogamous by nature but by the already mentioned social construction. The personal process from monogamy towards polyamory is certainly due to be painful. However, in monogamous relationships hidden affairs are also painful, especially when they are discovered. Some people may lose the relationships with the people they love: the wife or the husband and the other relationship(s). This happens to one of the interviewed people in Sina Muscarina’s book, Walter, and that makes him enter a process of personal development that changes his life towards polyamory. He ends up having more open relationships that he defines as amorous friendships. The question is: What kind of love cannot be painful? We very often hurt the person(s) we love without wanting to because we do it unconsciously. For me the ideal love relationships among human beings, at least where hurting the other(s) could be avoided as much as possible, would probably be trying to fit into one of these three patterns:
1- the traditional monogamous love relationship avoiding sexual relationships with other people. A very important thing we should not underestimate about monogamy is that it has been a marvelous tool to reach equal rights for men and women. Only one partner for each as opposed to polygamous communities where unfortunately and, in the majority of the cases, women are just child factories.
The monogamous pattern has also been extended to homosexual people.
2- a kind of more open relationship where the two partners (maybe even more partners?) have a primary relationship that is not strictly monogamous but, working on an initial consensus from the parties involved, allows secondary relationships. This kind of relationship would be similar to Ellen’s case in Polyamorie.
3- complete polyamory from the beginning and working on an initial consensus from all the parties involved and with no hierarchies between primary and secondary relationships. This would be Walter’s case in the book but we could also find some examples of this kind of relationships in the hippy communities from the 60s and 70s.
In any of the three cases, consensus must always be based on a non-possessive kind of relationship.
The other important issue is whether people want to have children, their own or adopted. In all cases I think it is absolutely vital for these children to have emotional stability guaranteed. They need clear patterns according to the kind of love relationship the adults choose.
There are other kinds of human relationships like simply wanting to have sex with another person or more people. This is like playing a game and having fun. Again if there is an initial consensus and things are clear from the very beginning it is very likely to work, as long as none of the people involved ends up falling in love with the other accidentally. However, I would not consider purely sexual relationships love. It is just sex. In my opinion this is rather incomplete and therefore shallow although I do respect people who do it, of course. I think many of us (and here I also include myself) have gone through this phase in our lives.
Going back to Polyamorie, the interviewed people undergo a process of personal change. They get in touch with communities of people who have had similar life processes. These communities play a helping role as they act as therapy. They contribute to the healing process.
I believe that the main aim of Polyamorie, at least what I think Sina Muscarina has intended to do in her research, is to create an awareness in the readers that polyamorists are not frivolous or psychologically disfunctional people and that their options cannot and should not be understood from a monogamous point of view, which also relates to other aspects of our world such as ecology, for instance.
Catalan polyamorist writer Brigitte Vasallo also talks about other kinds of “monogamies” in our society. A clear example, and that is something not new for us Catalans, is the relationship between Spain and Catalonia. It is often regarded as a divorce, again from a monogamous point of view. As a Catalan I understand this very well. In general, we human beings need to break free from many “monogamies” of our present society such as the weapon business, responsible for many people dying in wars every day or other issues like car abuse in our cities. Some people are literally “married to cars”. The car dominance and, let us say it clearly, its dictatorship, is causing pollution, climate change, accidents, obesity and earlier deaths. In contrast, sustainable mobility alternatives such as public transport and bicycles are still being discriminated.
The concept of polyamory goes really far beyond love relationships.
You will find the book here: https://www.epubli.de/shop/autor/Sina-Muscarina/12993
© October 2018 Marta Pombo Sallés