Lessons in Nonmonogamy

What I’ve learned from my polyamorous experiences in the non-Western world

Vandita Kapoor


You, me, and this coconut. Photo: BD_VAGHASIYA via PixelBay

NNavigating nonmonogamy in any culture can be nerve-racking; navigating it in a conservative, non-Western country—as I have for the past two years—is like building a house with no blueprint. When things are going well, I think of myself as an explorer. Brave! Intrepid! Stepping into the unknown with one flower in my hand and another tucked behind my ear. When things are not going so well, I think, I am such a fool. An idiot! Voluntarily signing up for chaos. I should eat those damn flowers.

Regardless of how long you’ve been practicing it (or where), the challenges of polyamory are, or feel, new. There simply aren’t enough appealing cultural references you can use as working templates for #relationshipgoals or troubleshooting purposes. Sure, King Arthur wanted his wife to fuck his favorite knight and Kunti got impregnated by, like, all the seasons, but how many polyamorous couples do you remember seeing in Love Actually?

Monogamy is predictable and comforting. And don’t tell me that monogamy is equally confusing because love is love and love is confusing. Monogamy is a hole you fall into. Polyamory is a hole you dig for yourself. Here’s what I learned from digging mine.

Lesson 1: It Can Get Lonely