Since my true love (Wolfe) is rumoured to have at least 50 wives, it was particularly interesting to recently meet another polygamous person, although he was more directly from the Middle East and had an entirely different take on it.
Both methods are quite far from the Mormon idea of being ‘blessed by sharing.’
In Wolfe’s case, his business blossomed via his astute hiring policy, and I fully appreciate that things have worked well for him. It is not particularly appealing as a prospective life however.
In the recent acquaintance case, although he was very informative, I became aware that my ideas about polygamy do not fit with the Muslim ideal either.
From my albeit scanty knowledge of Asian polygamy, it is pretty similar to the Muslim ideal, and follows many of the same precepts. Here is how my recent polygamist described the lifestyle:
- There has to be some kind of agreement, in the case of the specific episode, it was explained that wives are often assigned the task of finding the next wife. The dude in question has to be physically capable of keeping his wives satisfied. It is not a completely male-centric thing.
- Wives do not interact terribly much and either have their own houses and families, whilst the male moves between them, or in the event there are sufficient resources, their own floor of a large house. Sometimes a room each will do, the idea being that the room represents the ‘space for the love.’
- Everybody does a whole lot of communicating to solve problems.
The model had not worked at all well for this person, because he did not let it. He is not a good example of a polygamist at all. Having experienced polyamory – well at least in my case it would have been more like polyandry really, since my partners were friends before and after as I spend little time with women and don’t fall in love terribly often – it all seems a bit like prison.
My friend in Eastern Europe was surprised to learn that I am not entirely against polygamy, but I have a completely different perception of it to most people due to previous experience. I am not terribly maternal, for example, as I have little to no experience of children and am obsessed with work. Had I engaged in a polygamous relationship at some point, I would have been more confident in my ability to maintain my other obsessions whilst having kids. My feeling, however, is that most people in Western countries are too selfish, vain, jealous and self-serving to make the effort. We have lost our ability to adapt readily. I informed her that there was no danger of my getting involved with this person as I would expect to be at the very least a family friend before there was any question of it. You aren’t marrying the dude, you are marrying the couple, so to speak.
So, I realised, my ideas about polygamy are a bit like my ideas about management. You have to be emotionally expansive, mature and generous to make it work. You have to have an open personality and be ready to change if necessary, and from a personal perspective, separate houses would seem to be an invitation to jealousy and paranoia, both of which are a waste of your time. If you cannot manage this, or for some reason, such as money or mean-spiritedness, seek to obliterate the perceived competition, then you have no business being involved at all and are actively harming the family.