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Polyamory - the Varied History of the Multiple Romances

Goldberg. (2018). Toronto, Canada: Polyamory Group Marches at 2018 Toronto Pride Parade.

Polygamy is the norm for a state of marrying multiple partners, the most typical form of it is polygyny, in which a man has many wives. The possible origins of this kind of masculine hegemony are based on the areas, where economic activity was a significant part of the living. For instance, Africa´s states as a good example of developing countries. The power of men could be seen as important to interpret the phases of non-monogamy and how society has supported the growth of polygamy´s divided symbol.

Polygamy´s origins are reaching even Mormonism and the other religious communities. The history is complicated by its existence in secret practice by the church and other factors. The law has been trying to control the criminal behavior in polygamy communities that has at its worst consisted of violence and sexual harassment. The insight of the polygamy families could be seen in various ways and the criminal behavior can be hidden from the authorities by its difficult way to be recognized under the missing resources of evidence. The range of polygamy is still reaching many Muslim communities of Western Africa. There are many countries in Africa, where nearly 47 percent of the marriages are included with multiple women. In Arab nations, polygamous families are still quite common. The legal policy is distributed in South Africa, Egypt, Eritrea, Morocco, Malaysia, and also in Iran and Libya but with the written consent of the first wife. How religion is controlling the political system is depending on the original ideology of the institutional manners. In Christianity, Polygamy is insulting the dignity of marriage and in many circumstances, the equality standards have been brought up to stand for a modern society.

The Voice of Today

Anarchism has its many shades and when it comes to monogamy in history, the ethical non-monogamy finds itself as an acceptance called Polyamory. How it makes the difference between the other open relationships is known as an ethical touch of cherishing many partnerships in a more traditional, deeper way with the awareness of all sides. In a western ideology, the ancient world can be seen as a reminder of Greek history which the word Amor, translated to love, is based on. An updated version of Polyamory could be seen in a more limited way – emotionally. There's a possibility for numerous stakeholders in one family or in a relationship, however, it should be called. An intimacy and an old institution called marriage could be seen as separate features or as it has been seen in modern culture, together in one understandable package. We are taught to lean on this one pattern for a better understanding of humankind, there´s no other option for consistency. In Polyamory-relationships the mental ideal of being the master of the partner is divided and the whole concept is related to the mutual communication that guarantees the shared emotional experience. The rules have been made inside the relationship, the free-thinking of an open love is happening inside this community of Polyam people.

“If you have feelings for others, it means you don’t really love your partner”,

According to an old serial monogamist Mira (29), this was the life lesson until she found herself in the middle of polyamory. Before that, she kept jumping from one relationship to another all her youth, and the thought of loving only one person at the time seemed to be the only option for consistency. It was groundbreaking to realize that there was a possibility to love another person also without losing the current partner and bit by bit the story started to create itself where she has arrived now.

"Since I turned 13, I have always had someone special in my life. Polyamory kind of sneaked its way into my life. When I met my girlfriend back in 2010 and we didn’t give ourselves a label for many years since we were both dating other people at the same time. We just knew we were special to each other and that was enough. " Mira opened up about her journey.

The early phases of her discovery happened in 2013 when she first heard the term “polyamory” from a friend and started doing some research on it. She read the book called “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures” and that clarified many things that she has gone through before that. After many crushes on different people at the same time she has had difficulties differentiating friends and partners, finally, there were words to describe the identity of this kind of spiritual mind and define the requirements of the relationship.

" I think I have always been polyamorous but I just didn’t know it is an option", she described.

In 2013 Mira started dating a guy and that was the first time she acknowledged the fact that she indeed had both a boyfriend and a girlfriend. It turns to be an exciting time for realizing that polyamory became part of her identity, just like bisexuality was already. The lifestyle of having several partners, one partner, or no partners at all was acceptable in polyamory. Right people were a guideline to the growth and there is a huge difference in how she sees herself as a person and how sexuality is concluded inside this term. Mira continued the story about the attitude of others while the process. "Of course some people in my life have questioned my relationships and how meaningful they are. I think that most people are just curious and trying to understand the situation, all of my friends have accepted my choices and both of my partners are always welcome to join me wherever I go."

One important rule in an ethical non-monogamy is open communication. Without openness, there is no space for full consent to the dynamic. The terms need to be agreed and the full understanding towards relationships has happened, the growth occurs differently and organically and they might change over time like people usually do. "The main thing is that you are happy in the relationship ", Mira added giving the rebellious advice on what Polyam people are living for.


Järvenpää, M., Woman in two relationships. Gave an interview in 10.9.2021.

Decynzski, R. (5.1.2021). The maudern: modern intimacy through arts, science and relationships. A Brief History of non-monogamy.

Monisuhteisuusyhdistys Ry ja kirjoittajat (2016). Polyamoria, vastuullista monisuhteisuutta/ Mitä on polyamoria?

Vallely, P. (6.1.2010). The Big Question: What's the history of polygamy, and how serious a problem is it in Africa? | The Independent | The Independent.

Brooks, J. (17.8.2017). Explaining polygamy and its history in the Mormon Church. The Conversation.

Kramer, S. (2020). Polygamy is rare around the world and mostly confined to a few regions. Pew Research Center.

Author Photo

Heidi Hokkanen

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