Many deities, one beloved

It is so tempting to claim that polyamory and polytheism are a natural combination… After all, they both start with poly, and they both involve loving many different beings in diverse ways.

However, it is possible to affirm the existence of many deities, but have a devotion to only one, or only a few. That’s henotheism.

There is not an automatic link or correlation between polyamory and polytheism. If you say there is, you are erasing the existence of polyamorous monotheists, and monogamous polytheists. Please don’t.

It is possible to be a monogamous polytheist, or a polyamorous monotheist. I am monogamous and polytheist. I regard being monogamous as similar to a sexual orientation. I always assumed that I was polyamorous and then discovered otherwise. I tried and failed to be polyamorous. I am definitely monogamous (and madly in love) and it is nothing to do with jealousy and everything to do with love.  I also know some polyamorous Unitarians and UUs – tolerant and inclusive monotheists who happen to be polyamorous. Friends who are polyamorous report that they have always felt that way. I have always thought that I would be polyamorous, but in practice I have mostly been monogamous, and I have enjoyed it more than polyamory, when I was with the right person.

I fully support the efforts of polyamorous people to get their relationships recognised and to get the security of some kind of contract, up to and including marriage, if that is what they want to do. (Some opponents of polyamory have argued that this will open the door to unequal relationships – but a monogamous relationship does not guarantee equality, sadly.) I also fully support the right of polyamorous people not to get married, if that is what they choose.

I have many polyamorous friends and 100% support their right to be polyamorous, and have defended polyamory to the hilt in arguments about it. But I personally am NOT polyamorous.

But please please please don’t try to claim that polytheism and polyamory go together like apple pie and cream. And don’t dismiss all monogamous people as motivated by jealousy and insecurity. People who are monogamous prefer to focus all our sexual energy on one person, because that is the way our sexuality works. My inner fire burns for one person only, and that is my beloved. We trust each other completely to be around other people of either gender, but we reserve our sexual interactions for each other. I find that this makes our connection all the more powerful.

Obviously the issue is clouded by the fact that monogamy is assumed as a cultural default, so people rarely have to come out as monogamous. Most people have to discover they are polyamorous and then work out how to make it work. I am sure there are more people who are naturally inclined toward polamory who are trying awkwardly to fit in the cultural mould of monogamy. However, as someone who assumed from the outset that I was polyamorous, but then discovered that I am monogamous, I am convinced that a person’s orientation towards poly or mono exists at a deeper level of the psyche than mere choice, and is a sexual/romantic orientation in the same way as one’s preference for opposite-sex or same-sex partners, or both.

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