Under the heading, “with hundreds practicing the lifestyle in and around Boston, is liberal Massachusetts ready to accept it?” the Boston Globe explains how polyamory gets complicated:
“The conventional paradigm of monogamy is very much entrenched in our culture,” says Randi Kaufman, a clinical psychologist who has counseled nearly 40 poly people in her Cambridge office. “Practicing polyamory means setting aside the basic principle of monogamy that one person will meet all of another’s needs in an intimate relationship.” Though Kaufman has seen polyamory work well, she also has counseled clients on some poly-specific challenges, such as “new relationship energy,” referring to an intensified focus on a new person that can cause someone to neglect his or her other partners while in the throes of new love. Just as in monogamous relationships, sex can drop off in poly relationships, too, says Kaufman, but poly people can still get their sexual needs met by others without damaging their primary relationships. Then there’s the issue of jealousy.
“A lot of poly people who feel jealous say it’s a warning sign that your needs aren’t getting met,” says Sekora. He says he’s felt insecure about relationships but not necessarily jealous of his partner’s partners. He recalls a time early in his relationship with Mare, however, when she felt threatened by a woman he had started dating. When the three sat down and talked, the women got along well and Mare’s worries dissipated. “Sensible, mature, self-reliant, and stable partners would be a welcome asset” to their relationship, says Mare, who began to identify as poly five years ago when she tapped into the Poly Boston community. Even though she grew up in a more sexually permissive era than her mother did, Mare remembers being in high school and college in the 1980s and envying her mother’s 1950s young adulthood when people dated around. For Mare, who likes the thought of having deep, enduring love with Sekora — and the possibility of more first kisses with other people — a polyamorous lifestyle is the answer.