Polyamorists face stigma and discrimination daily, but research indicates that having a romantic relationship with more than one person simultaneously may provide emotional and physical benefits to all parties.
In many modern societies, monogamy is portrayed as the ideal form of romantic love. From the stories they read as children to the films and books we watch as adults, they are told that to be happy, they must find their true soulmate with whom they will spend the rest of their lives.
Simultaneously, states and governments provide married couples with financial, legal, and social benefits. Men and women who deviate from these monogamous norms are publicly shamed. Despite this, polyamorous relationships are on the rise, with 4-5% of the US population now in consensually non-monogamous relationships. Furthermore, according to a 2010 study, roughly one in every 500 adults in the United States identified as polyamorous.
A growing number of legal and political scholars are arguing for changes to existing family laws to recognize the wide range of intimate personal relationships in which humans can thrive.
Justin Clardy, a professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University, said, “Polyamorists face the risk of being fired, denied housing or citizenship, or having their children taken away from them because of their polyamorous identities and lifestyles. However, in many cases, poly relationships are more durable than monogamous ones because their flexibility allows them to meet shifting needs over time in a way that monogamous relationships don’t.”
According to Justin Clardy, a philosophy professor at Santa Clara University, polygamous relationships are more durable than monogamous ones because their flexibility allows them to meet changing needs over time in ways that monogamous relationships do not.
There is a theory that humans evolved to be monogamous because human babies require more care than other mammals because they are born at a younger gestational age.
Professor Clardy explains: “Monogamy is therefore seen as the ‘natural’ order of things. However, many homosexual and heterosexual monogamous couples either do not want or cannot have children, yet this doesn’t exclude them from being able to marry and enjoy the rights and privileges that come with marriage. Others may see monogamy as a moral command given by God; however, does this mean that atheists and agnostics are disqualified from romantic love, even if they find themselves in happy, healthy, and satisfying monogamous romantic relationships?”
He also debunks the most common arguments to support monogamy, such as the theory that humans evolved to be monogamous because human babies require more care.
The most important details in this text are that polyamory can benefit relationships by refocusing attention on how one’s partner performs in other intimate relationships and that non-monogamy is harmful to the family unit, resulting in divorce and family breakdown.
According to Clardy, Some of the polyamorists’ harshest critics argue that non-monogamy is harmful to the family unit, leading to divorce and family breakdown. However, polyamorous families exist and thrive, and such an arrangement can benefit children.
Polyamorous families also exist and thrive, and they can benefit children. Finally, Clardy contends that imposing monogamy on society is morally wrong, and she supports for the state to support both polygamous and monogamous relationships.
Clardy said, “When governed by mutual consent and understanding, polyamorous relationships can allow people to share more fully in the happiness of others. This can be achieved by confronting and managing one’s vulnerability, softening our propensity to be jealous, and learning to pay attention to the flourishing of others.”
He said, “It may not take an entire village to raise a child, but it stands to reason that all things being equal, having more than one ‘father’ or ‘mother’ as a caregiver may be even more conducive to meeting children’s needs, as children may be loved and nurtured in unconventional families. Indeed, it may turn out that, on average, the existence of more than two caregivers is the superior parenting arrangement.”
The researcher added, “Polyamorous relationships need support and protection that the state is uniquely able to provide and is best placed to carry out. Just because a way of relating might deviate from well-established social norms like monogamy, this does not mean they don’t have considerable value morally, socially, or politically.”
The researcher argues in the final chapter of his book that imposing monogamy on society is morally wrong and that the state should support both monogamous and polygamous relationships.