Oberon Zell Ravenheart interview: Challenges of Polyamory

5:24 …and there are people who are serial monogamists, I’ve known people who are deeply committed to the principles of polyamory on paper, they’ve read all the books, and they fall in love with one person and then immediately they lose for the person they’ve been with, and they don’t like it, they’re unhappy, and they don’t understand it, they wish it wasn’t that way, but they just can’t get it up for that other person anymore, because something about the way their pheremones are hooked up, their wiring is made, when their focus shifts to another, it turns off for that other person, it can only be on one at a time. And I suspect that serial monogamy may be the most common and fundamental pattern among people…


Originally, I’d planned to just VENT about a certain air of self-righteousness I see amongst polyamorists, and how they paint us monogamists in a negative light. We’re somehow all selfish, jealous, make all these unrealistic emotional demands upon our lovers, and (especially if we’re Pagan/Polytheists, to boot) we’re only monogamous because of Monotheistic (and/or Patriarchal) indoctrination —even when that cannot be further from the truth, for many people1, don’t’cha know? I could vent, but I think a couple of lines of dry cynicism is better.

I take comfort, though, in knowing that some-one considered so integral to the polyamory movement, especially as it exists in the pagan community, is completely OK with people who love my way, and even suggests that it might be the human default, and that that’s OK, there’s nothing wrong with that, it just how some people work.

A lot of the ideas and such I see in many a polyamory manifesto make sense, and ideologically the ideas aren’t terrible, even often worthy and good ideas toward approaching life in general, including romanti-sexual relationships. I’m open to the idea of polyamory as a concept, but life has taught me that I’m just not wired that way; if I fall for a new person, I’m simply no longer interested in the first person romanti-sexually —with one exception, where I managed to briefly fall back in love after the other romance ended.

For an extrovert, I introspect a lot, and I’ve come to the notion that I seem to know myself fairly well for some-one of my age. Might I suddenly find myself in a situation where some sort of polyamorous lifestyle could work for me? Sure, just as much as I just might find myself in love with and sexually attracted to a cisgender woman someday, even though I don’t foresee that happening any time this decade. As a general rule, though, it takes a major upset to one’s life, something that makes one really sit down and re-think not just their ideals, but their whole concept of their self to change that drastically. While I’m not saying “it couldn’t happen” that suddenly one day polyamory and I could work, I am saying that it would take a lot more than “meeting the right people”.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with only feeling that romanti-sexual love in a serial monogamy format. It simply means that you’re only in love with one person at a time, and that while you may agree with polyamory, it clearly doesn’t agree with you.


1: I’m not saying that there somehow aren’t any monogamists who fit that description, but I’m saying that description is not unique to monogamous relationships.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for almost a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros most of that time. He also paints, makes music, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival subculture of the early 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.
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