Queer And Poly Relationships: Good For Straight Marriages Too?

According to this article, the social and emotional practices of same-sex couples, such as staying close friends with exes, provide examples of “many unconventional relationship constructs— unconventional for opposite-sex marriages, at any rate—that same-sex couples are likely to import into the institution of marriage. And that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.” Because there are very few concrete models for how same-sex or non-monogamous relationships should work, the people involved in them must be more inventive, less constricted by gender roles or societal norms, which may well lead to innovative relationship strategies that could benefit everyone.

As summarized in the Polyamory in the Media coverage of the article, “If you don’t buy into the myth that One Right Person exists who has to be your everything, then you don’t have to shun a person you loved as a Totally Evil Mistake if things don’t work out. In poly, you don’t have to extremify.” The idea here is that in different relationship modes, where you don’t have to subscribe to the notion that marriage is the one and only expression of romantic (heterosexual, monogamous) love, you’re free to restructure your relationships however you like. It’s okay to remain friends with your exes, to raise a child with your two life partners, to negotiate for a relationship (however unconventional) that makes you happy.

I love the idea that nontraditional relationships have something to offer traditional relationships, whether communication strategies or simply a breath of fresh air. This is a far cry from painting queer or non-monogamous relationships as threatening and dangerous to the social welfare of the mainstream; rather, by recognizing that everybody’s relationships are valid, everybody has a chance to learn from one another.

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About Jeana


Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.