Before I begin, I should point out that the barriers this article explores are not inherent in polyamory itself. These barriers are placed on polyamorous and polygamous people by forces outside of their relationships. We live in a world full of people that are ever-ready to limit or tear others down. Wielding power over others is like a drug for too many people. They prey on differences they know will strike fear in the general population and exploit this to maintain a superior position, or at least the feeling of it. Once you’ve fallen victim to one of these people it can be seemingly impossible to recover your reputation and relationships in a community. It’s never been more important for people with unique lives to hold each other up. Polygamists, polyamorous people, anyone that is LGBTQ, immigrants, and people of color all need to set our differences aside and help each other fight hateful forces. The only way to create positive change in the world is to remove the power of negativity and hate. Knowing how to identify negativity and hate, and where it comes from, is the first step in a better direction.
Polygamous families have faced discrimination for decades now. What was once a fairly normal practice somehow became taboo over the last few centuries. It used to be kings or wealthy men that looked for the historical equivalent of sister wives. Over the years marriage became the social norm for rich and poor alike, but somehow along with this evolution polygamy became an unpopular choice. Recent developments have reintroduced polygamy as a viable option and the morality vultures have been circling ever since. Rather than supporting a woman that wants to become a sister wife, much of society acts quickly to attack her character and accuse her of being weak, or even dumb. Men that want sister wives are often called monsters and abusers. Society just can’t handle the idea of a relationship or marriage unlike their own. It would be one thing to disagree with polygamy and leave polygamists alone, but that’s too often not the case. Polymagous families need to be prepared, both legally and emotionally, to address criticism quickly and efficiently. Learning to be unaffected by hate from others will keep your reaction logical and effective.
Polyamorous people might have an easier time than polygamists in the public eye, but don’t get too comfortable. Polygamy and polyamory are essentially the same idea. Both involve multiple people being involved intimately with each other. Even though more people might have a negative association with the word ‘polygamy,’ don’t think for a second that plenty of people don’t deeply disapprove of polyamory. There are plenty of conservative old housewives alone out there that would believe they’re accomplishing an important mission by outing polyamorists and informing them of what she perceives as ‘the right way to live’ in a very public way. Don’t forget that we live in an age with people following something called ‘The Gospel of Wealth.’ People really believe God rewards them for being strict Christians. Enforcing their values onto your poly group or family would only serve as a reason for more rewards from God in their eyes. Shaming you into their way of life is not beneath them. These self-described ‘Christians’ are in it for the benefits, and power, not for any altruistic purpose. Don’t get caught in their web.
There are plenty of good people in the world, both Christian and non-Christian, religious and non-religious. Find the good people and pursue social relationships with them. Building a network with the good people of the world is the only way to push back against the barriers we don’t deserve to face in life. People that choose to follow their own paths need each other. This is why cities like New York and LA have successful people from all walks of life. They provide alternate communities for all kinds of people due to their large and concentrated populations. This doesn’t mean smaller areas can’t provide the same opportunity for everyone. With a little effort even a small town can embrace diversity and provide a safe space for all. Whatever your faith is, don’t let anyone claim to own the patent on Christianity (or any other religion). A person using their faith to harm others is proof their faith is false. You can safely reject the walls they try to build around you. Damage can still be done but confidence and certainty of your moral high ground will help you recover.
The only real barriers in life are the ones we accept. Not to say other people can’t make life difficult, but most of the limits you feel come from your acceptance of the barriers others place on you. If you are a man that knows finding sister wives and building a polygamous family is right for you, do it. If you’re a woman that knows being a sister wife will make you truly happy, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not an acceptable option. If polyamory is your path to healthy relationships and a life of joy, why on earth would you let a miserable person discourage you from your dreams. A friend with valid concerns is a good thing. A person that’s jealous of your joy is dangerous. Learn to spot the difference and never surrender to the standards others are only interested in using against you. Your life, your loves’, your way.