"Balancing faith and lifestyle choices". Mr. Big is one quarter of a Poly-fi quad. His column will focus on his current struggles to find balance between his chosen lifestyle and the faith he was taught to believe. Join him while he journeys the path of enlightenment.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

When I started taking my first steps out of our poly closet, the first thing we did was share with those individuals we thought would be sympathetic or supportive of our choices. The next step was to tackle family and friends close to us, most of which we knew would not be sympathetic or supportive. The immediate response from most was, "isn’t that adultery?" I didn't think it was, but I couldn't argue the point with them, so I hit the research trail.

I didn’t care for the first definition I found for adultery. “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.” The second was better but still fell short. “Extramarital sex that willfully and maliciously interferes with marriage relations.” The Bible is clear about “adultery,” but as I studied polyamory, I found myself asking, what does biblical adultery actually mean? Does it require both sex and deception to be present or is it simply sex with anyone other than your spouse?

In one conversation, I was explaining why I thought polyamory was more moral than serial monogamy. I came up with an explanation that clarified everything even further in my head. How many of the monogamist looking to put a scarlet “A” on every poly chest have their own adultery issues to worry about? I found that due to their previous monogamous relationships (with the emphasis on the “s”), they were not so quick to throw words like “fornication” around. Some serial monogamist will often overlap their relationships for fear of being alone. They will admit to being wrong for the brief overlap but NOW they’re doing it right (until next time). Many people marry and divorce over and over again. The Bible is much clearer about divorce than it is polyamory. Divorce is just much more accepted in our culture.

Cheating is not only being physically and emotionally intimate with someone other than your spouse; there is a second component - one of dishonesty that usually extends to deception and lies. An affair is without the knowledge or consent of your spouse where polyamory is sanctioned with awareness and approval. In an affair, there is a betrayal of that bond and of that lover. Since polyamory is intimacy with another without betrayal to your spouse, in fact with full permission and support from your spouse, would that be considered adultery? People in the poly camp can argue a resounding “no”.

In fact other terms have been coined to reflect the joy you feel when your lover has their needs met by someone else that you could not fulfill – compersion, frubbly, and the like. Total transparency, openness, and honesty are important in close personal relationships. Polyamorists just do not feel that limiting physical and emotional relationships to one person is required.

Short and to the point this month. I hope it gives you food for though or maybe some decent ammunition if the topic comes up in the future.

Mr. Big is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. He can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Mr. Big; October 12, 2006


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