Different from promiscuity and its mainly sexual dimension, polyamory involves more complete relationships. © Getty Images
The first time she heard about polyamory was Vanessa Simons in Liège, on a winter evening in 2014. The conversation began with a woman attending that evening: after the usual introductions, she told him that she saw plural love relationships, where each partner is free to meet others people. But nothing to do with promiscuity, only focused on sexual relations. Polyamory is accepting that you can love multiple people at the same time. “It spoke to me immediately, it was obvious.” Back home, Vanessa quickly talks it over with her companion at the time. They’ve been in a relationship for three years, he agrees to try. “Polyamory opens up the possibility of living the relationships you want to live, without deprivation. Suddenly we no longer expect the other to meet all our needs.“In addition to the couple, each could have romantic connections with others, go to the movies with their girlfriend, spend the night on a Tinder date.”Loyalty to me is not exclusivity, it is not lying to the other”, underlines the quarantine.
Exclusivity is a concept that never really spoke to Sohrab. As early as 16 years old, he wondered why couples broke up because of stories of infidelity. “I wondered why the other one should belong to us”, remembers the thirty-something. For him, relationships should not be dogmatic. “Being polyamorous doesn’t necessarily mean having multiple relationships at the same time, but recognizing that there are no standards.“
In light of the numbers, the model of the monogamous couple united until death do them part is seriously crumbling. In Belgium, four out of ten marriages end in divorce, and according to a 2014 Ifop survey, one in two men is unfaithful, as are one in three women. The sexologist Dominique Delrot, who has taken an interest in polyamory, recalls that before the clergy imposed strict conditions on marriage, the nobility used to frolic left and right in a clearly established way. “Around the 15th century, the church adopted its rules, and we remain with this Judeo-Christian culture, even though it doesn’t really work anymore. Perhaps we should consider another way of operating, which, by the way, may be what everyone has always known without mentioning it.“
On the other end of the line, Corinne lets out a small laugh. “We are everywhere selling the ideal of monogamy, but how long will it last?“As a couple for almost thirty years with her husband, the fifty-year-old decided to drop the standard model the day the routine really started to wear on her. “I love him deeply and I didn’t want to leave him. I thought about cheating on him, but I didn’t want freedom behind the other person’s back and above all, I wanted him to be able to have other stories too.“At the end of 2018, she launched the idea of opening the couple, he accepted the principle. Then we had to adjust, rebalance and communicate a lot.
Live on love and rules
Is it easy to live? The answer is the same as for any couple. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In the summer of 2021, says Corinne, the story almost turned into a failure. “My husband was in a relationship with another woman, but we set no boundaries. He neglected our couple and we had to discuss a lot to define what was important to each other: do we allow ourselves to sleep with each other, to hold hands in the street, etc. .“They came up with a list of rules that have since evolved and continue to evolve.”We still don’t talk about polyamory that much, so it’s not always easy to know how to do it.” On his Instagram account, the author of comics Cookie Kalkair, who is polyamorous himself, publishes strips, from the most practical (“What’s your contract?”) to the most philosophical (Can we love several people at the same time? ).
“The love you can give is endlessagrees Sohrab. But this is not the time.“With fixed frameworks, the organization still needs to be managed. “The important thing is to make room for everyone, clarify from the start what time you can give. The basis is to discuss, we can never say it enough, to ensure that no one feels wronged.“At the start of her polyamorous adventure, Vanessa Simons spent half her evenings with one of her companions, and the other half with the other. “Eventually I had to review my organization because I no longer had a single moment to myself“, she laughs. But she didn’t want to see herself living as a monogamous couple again. “Polyamory has something soothing because it breaks the principle of frustration and infidelity.Corinne smiled. “My husband often tells me: loving you is also loving that you are free.“
“For it to work, you need great emotional maturity, comments sexologist Dominique Delrot. The person must not depend on the other to exist. It is a self-made path.Corinne confirms that it is not always easy. “It’s a way of life. No one belongs to anyone.“While the model of polyamory is increasingly exciting, especially among young people eager to deconstruct old relational codes, Sohrab does not advocate saying that in a developed world it would be the norm.”What is important is to be aware that there can be different types of relationships.“
Dominique Delrot also insists that there is no question of finding THE miracle solution regarding the couple. “It is up to each individual to find their own solution, with respect for others and for themselves.“Perhaps also that new forms of relationships will arise and shake up the codes. Already, several countries such as Germany and Mexico are thinking of creating temporary marriages to better reflect the realities of our contemporary society…
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