A Poisonous Portrait of Partnership

A Poisonous Portrait of Partnership July 28, 2014

polypic

In a coda to my series on Lewis, Sondheim, and friendship, I’m back at The American Conservative today to respond to a feature from The Atlantic on polyamory.  Here’s a teaser, and you can read the full post at AmCon.

 

Marital Completionism: A Bad Model for Thruples and Couples Alike

Why assume you need to make compromises to achieve connubial bliss?

In an article for The AtlanticOlga Khazan profiles several polyamorous couplesand wonders whether more families should consider open (non-monogamous) marriages. Khazan argues that polyamory’s great advantage is that practitioners better divide up and delegate the duties and pleasures of a relationship, mixing and matching for the best of all possible marriages. She writes:

Even many devout monogamists admit that it can be hard for one partner to supply the full smorgasbord of the other’s sexual and emotional needs. When critics decry polys as escapists who have simply “gotten bored” in traditional relationships, polys counter that the more people they can draw close to them, the more self-actualized they can be.

There’s an enormous assumption tucked into that first sentence. Monogamy isn’t premised on the idea that one person can ever be everything to a partner. When a marriage fails to fulfill “the full smorgasbord” it’s not a sign that anything’s wrong. An expectation that a partner (or full set of them) is meant to be a perfect complement is destructive to romantic and platonic relationships.

Read the whole thing here — I think you’ll be surprised about one need a wife profiled in the article chose to satisfy through a lover, rather than a friend.


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