Objectification and polyamory February 16, 2012Posted by shaunphilly in Culture and Society, Polyamory.
Tags: objectification, relationships
There should be no doubt that unhealthy relationships exist. Hell, I have been in a few in years past (and I was not always the one at primary fault, even despite my struggles and past failings). And the causes of such relationships are varied and attributable to too many psychological, cultural, and communication-based issues to cover here to any sufficient degree.
But I obviously want to address some of it, right? Otherwise I would not be posting anything. So, a rather cynical and, perhaps, true thought occurred to me this morning while on the subway. The thought immediately brought to mind real potential examples, from acquaintences of mine, of this thought.
What if one of the reasons that many people could not be polyamorous is simply due to the fact that many people are not in love with (and possibly incapable of such a thing) their partner? What if the fact that their partner, spouse, etc is a mere object to them (a trophy, for example) and that they cannot imagine what it would be like to love two or more people openly because they can’t really do it with one?
With some such people, their partner is just a sort-of space-occupier. Yes, this partner has certain attributes which the person likes, but ultimately they are pretty swappable or replaceable And perhaps they go about town being non-exclusive behind their back because, well, sometimes you just want a different flavor. Afterall, when your spouse is from Stepford, what’s the difference, right?
OK, so some of that is pretty extreme and cynical, but not completely useless to us here. So, for the sake of this idea, imagine relationships which are not very deep, open, or are merely primarily shallow or political in nature. What sense could polyamory mean to such people? Relationships for such people are not really about deep and meaningful connections made in an effort to complement ourselves, so what sense would it have to talk about doing more of this?
Such people might comprehend swingers better (which is not to put swingers down; they are not always shallow and scared of sharing intimacy), but their world is not dominated by thoughts or practice of authenticity, honesty, and quality (which is not to say that all poly people are seeking such things; I know quite a few who certainly aren’t).
Such a large segment of our culture seems to be about finding some arm-candy, a sugar daddy, or just someone who appeals to us right now rather than a truly good personal match. Part of this is the fact (it seems pretty true to me, anyway) that many people lack a true ability to find what they like, want, and are capable of. Finding a good match necessitates some level of self-awareness, which takes work and some courage to attain.
And since our culture is fairly unaware of itself, many relationships tend to be co-dependent, co-objectifying, and shallow. Polyamory, to such a culture and to the people which inhabit it, simply would make no sense. The only sense it could make is having more hot bodies to touch and enjoy, which is not bad in itself but is limiting on how we can see potential partners.
Yes, sometimes another hot body to enjoy is what we polyamorous people want and what we find. But ultimately I find it much more worth-while to find people I really like intellectually, emotionally, and sexually. If some people are not looking for all of that with their one (ideally) exclusive partner, then of course polyamory makes no sense to them.
This only leaves why people who do want all that are unwilling or unable to share the wonderful people they find. Sounds selfish, possessive, and silly to me.