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					Negotiating Pairbonding, Romantic Love and Jealousy in Polyamorous Relationships Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D.

Definitions


Polygamy - More Than One Spouse
 

Polygyny - More Than One Wife Polyandry - More Than One Husband

 

Monogamy - One Spouse


Does not preclude sexual fidelity

Serial Monogamy - One Spouse at a Time  Swinging - One Spouse; Multiple Playmates  Polyamory - Consensual Multiple Committed Loving Relationships

Poly Speak:
The Language of Polyamory


Compersion


loving empathy for one’s partner being loved/engaged by others

 

New Relationship Energy (NRE)


Limerence

Other Significant Other (OSO)  Primary, Secondary, Tertiary


maintain social family hierarchy sexually faithful to one’s family



Polyfidelity


Poly Configurations
 Open

Couple  Independent Single  Primary and Secondary Partners  Multiple Primary Partners  Triad -- V or  Quad  Intimate Network

Poly Players
 94.3%

White  Highly Educated  Science Fiction Aficionados
 Heinlein

and Rimmer (1960s)

 Utopian

Swingers  Frustrated by Monogamy  Independent Idealists

Poly Cultural Practices
partners incorporated for novelty NOT to displace/replace long term ones  Disinterest in Western culture’s celebration of “the one.”  NRE viewed as a temporary state, not a reason to disrupt one’s home life.
 Avoidance

 New

of romantic love roller coasters

Human Reproductive Strategies


Sexy Son Hypothesis (Buss, 1994)  Partible Paternity (Hrdy, 1999)  Serial Monogamy (Fisher, 1994)  Adultery-Divorce-Remarriage Cycle  Lover in the Wings  2-4 year Divorce Cycle  Polygamy



Polygyny Polyandry

Stages of Romantic Love


Lust



sexual interest -- love at first sight testosterone
love sick, exhilaration, infatuation, NRE dopamine, norepinephrine stability, tranquility, peace oxytocin, vasopressin withdrawal, boredom



Attraction
 



Attachment
 



Detachment


Brain Chemistry


Romantic Love raises dopamine and norepinephrine levels
  

favoritism (unwavering focus on “the one”) obsession with details possessiveness/mate guarding



High Serotonin levels can function to inoculate individuals from romantic love roller coasters.


little need to be validated from the confirmation of mutual love

Incidence of Romantic Love
A

Human Universal

 found

in nearly all non-Western societies  Not a Western cultural artifact!
 Considered
 Can

different from Sexual Lust

be suicidal when advances are not reciprocated

 Subject

to high levels of Jealousy

Pair Bonding
 Banned


by Oneida and Kerista
on group love

 Focused

Starling brothers and sisters  Discouraged investment in NRE

Is it possible to be in love with more than one sweetie?


Its very possible to be in lust with many partners  Its possible to be in the attachment phase with multiple partners  The attraction phase may be largely a monoexperience


Rare instances of falling in love with a couple

Sex-Love Jealousy


Biological Roots


males fear being deceived into raising a child that is not biologically theirs.
may be largely a product of cultural learning, being barely present amongst the Inuit, Marquesans and Keristans females fear that their partner’s time, energy and resources will be directed outside of their home and their children.



Cultural Roots




Economic Roots


Kinds of Jealousy


Possessive Jealousy  Exclusion Jealousy


feeling left out, deprived of time/attention feeling inadequate comparing oneself feeling others will judge them as inadequate for sharing a lover anxiety that partner will leave permanently

 

Competition Jealousy


Ego Jealousy




Fear Jealousy


Jealousy and Monogamy
is seen as a sign of intense or “true” love.  Financial penalties for divorce reflect economic and domestic possessiveness  Jealousy occurs when displacement or replacement is feared
 Jealousy

Jealousy and Polygyny


Occurs when resources can be divided unevenly  Can happen when visiting times are unequal  Can arise when favoritism is suspected  Can occur when it is not chosen by the wives




switching from monogamy to polygyny co-wives that don’t get along

Ways Swinging Limits Jealousy
 Taste
 No

but Don’t Surrender
Sharing
Social/Legal Monogamy

elaborate Seduction

 Limited  Safer

 Preserve

Sex

and Emotional  Avoid Engaging Highly Attractive Players

 Viral

Polyamory and Jealousy
 It

requires personal growth to transform into no longer being jealous (Nearing)  Polyamory is a more advanced form of relationship for those prepared to evolve beyond monogamy (Anapol)  You can change the way you experience jealousy (Easton & Liszt)

Polyamory and Jealousy Study


229 questionnaires received  140 questionnaires evaluated
  

focussed on those that engaged in poly style dating swingers who just engage others as a couple at sex parties were not included created an11-point compersion index drawing from six compersion measures.

Research Objectives
 Gather

information on how poly people construct their social, emotional and sexual lives  Explore ways poly people address/ resolve jealousy provoking situations  Evaluate social and behavioral factors that might predict compersiveness

Data Limitations
 Filling

out a questionnaire over a 15minute period of time offers only a brief emotional snap shot  Most participants were ideologically inclined towards the logic of polyamory (re: Compersion Index)  Questionnaire most coherent to those living as an “open couple.”

Overview
 58

males  82 females  Peak Baby Boomers
 male

median age -- 45  female median age -- 43

Ages in 2002
60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Wolfe Cosmo Cavallero Larsen Schubach Caust Gilmartin

Compersion Measures


Watching a partner being sexual with someone else  Being Watched by One’s Partner…  Feelings about partner spending the night with other lovers  What happens when partner returns…  Impact of poly dating on home relationship  Change relationship agreements?

Compersion Index
 11

point scale  Median 9.12  Only 7.9% less then 7.  Compersive thinking is largely the norm for the people who participated in this survey

Survey Conclusions
 Prior

social, emotional and sexual independence did not preclude successful adaptation to polyamory  Over 70% reported that practicing polyamory had increased their self-esteem and their love for their home partner  Upwards of 90% contended that being poly had afforded them a better perspective both on themselves and on their partners.

Statistically Significant Correlations
 Males

more compersive than females

 greater

number of partners per year--less attachment--sense of abundance

 Those

who report that they love each of their lovers equally
 embrace

poly ideology

 Heterosexuals

who masturbate

frequently
 more

substantial inner life

Actualizing Compersion / Negotiating Jealousy
 

Developed Inner Life


masturbation, spirituality, meditation
busy with work, family, lovers Extended Family of Choice Celebrate Starling Relationships There is not just one “one”

Full Plate Life
 



Believe in Poly Ideology
 



High Serotonin Uptake  Fears of Loss not actualized.


New loves did not displace/replace partners

The Polyamory Blur
  

Limit NRE elevating experiences


Reduces emotional spectrum
Tolerate partners’ other loves

Embrace Compersive Thinking


Serial Monogamy may be practiced in slow motion.


Averts dramatic breakups / divorce



Engage in “Polyarmory”
 

Control partners’ activities Avoid non-poly romantic engagements


				
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