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Why polyamory (sadly) can’t be for everyone

The School of Life has made a video on why polyamory won’t work for everyone. They’ve got a point. Polyamory is not suitable for everyone, but not for the reasons they give.

The reasons presented in the video are based on some false assumptions, and while the conclusion may sound convincing from a monogamist point of view, it is (sadly) not grounded in the reality of polyamorous relationships.

The first reason against polyamory is that it’s a good idea in principle, but the small details will make you suffer. The example given is that of you and your partner going to an orgy where a stranger rebuffs you. Ouch. This reason misses the point that polyamory is about love, not sex. It is not the same as an open relationship, hookups or orgies. In a polyamorous relationship, your partner does not invite strangers into your bed and definitely does not leave you standing outside the bedroom door to hear their moans of pleasure.

The second reason says you are not going to fancy everyone, just as not everyone is going to fancy you, but that’s also true for monogamists. Who says polyamorists have to be willing to sleep with anyone they meet? It’s only reasonable to refuse to start a relationship with someone that doesn’t excite you, whether you’re monogamous or polyamorous. Saying no is the same in both cases. It’s unclear why it should be agonizing to explain, nor is it necessary to do so.

They go on to say you may find yourself in a situation where you have found someone you like, but then discover your sexual tastes are somewhat different. Again, this is mistaking casual sex and open relationships for polyamory. Moreover, even in a monogamous relationship, there is a good chance both partners won’t have exactly the same sexual preferences and fetishes. In polyamory, however, there is a better chance of meeting two or three regular partners that complement one another, which is one of its strengths.

The third reason unwittingly characterizes monogamists as egocentric, possessive and infantile by portraying adults as little kids who are not capable of sharing their toys with others. This suggests your partner is your own property! Whereas polyamorists allow several partners to enjoy their love, bringing happiness to many other people, monogamists limit their own as well as their partner’s love to just one person.

In this respect, polyamorous love is philanthropicwhereas monogamous love is misanthropic.

The fourth reason is that people are too busy to invest the time necessary to manage multiple romantic relationships. That’s ridiculous. Anyone with good time management skills could handle two or three partners well, or they would feel too busy to commit time even to a single partner.

The fifth reason rightfully says that multiple relationships force you to deal with the emotional states of multiple partners, and therefore they are more painful and more frustrating than a monogamous relationship. But what exactly is the problem here? After all, what is life without emotion? In polyamory you may experience more frustrations, breakups and heartbreaks, but also more loves and positive feelings. If you are able to handle several emotional states simultaneously, polyamory may be for you.

Finally, they admit polyamory will work very well for some people, but “that doesn’t mean it will work for us.” Obviously, neither The School of Life nor I know what works best for you. I can only assume you’ve already tried monogamy and encountered its shortcomings.

If you are thinking of adopting the polyamorous way of life, you can use our comprehensive guide to polyamorous relationships, which will lead you step by step. If at any point you feel polyamory doesn’t work for you, you can go back to being monogamous, knowing that at least you’ve tried.

Read the complete beginner’s guide to polyamorous relationships

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Pleased to meet you! I created this site in order to encourage people to try polyamorous relationships and bring them together. My articles are written with an experience of over twenty years in various polyamorous relationships. I share with you my experience and insight through the numerous relationships I’ve had in the hope you’ll find answers to your questions from someone living a free life. (read more).


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Jim Polylover
Jim Polylover

Just as not all poly relationships are alike, not all open relationships are alike, and there is a big crossover between the two. To make such an absolute distinction between them as you have done is doing a disservice to many open relationship polyamorists. I have a Blog post on Polyamory Network on this very subject. I will be copying it here to my personal Blog soon, but if you can’t wait till then, by all means go there to read it.


The FIRST reason why this type of “polyamory” doesn’t work is that this couple went into it for the wrong reasons. They were bored of each other already, and they tried to salvage an already rickety relationship by adding problems into it, rather than removing them. When you already feel bored with who you’re with, you are better off not pretending you want them sexually anymore, so if you want to stick with them because you’ve painted walls together, then probably that should be made clear from the start; “We will live together because we like the walls we’ve painted… Read more »

Jim Polylover
Jim Polylover

Your point that a broken relationship should never try to be be fixed by becoming polyamorous is a very valid one, and I couldn’t agree with you more. The best advice a couple looking at becoming Poly can get is for them to make sure their relationship is on a solid foundation before doing so. As you indicated, adding the additional problems of a poly relationship to already existing problems is never a good idea. Probably the best way to get into a poly relationship is as a single person, rather than trying to change an already existing relationship.

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