December 21, 2010
in light of my curiosity due to the recent rash of news items on polyamory, I found an interesting research report done by some U of Nevada students on the human capability to sustain multiple and concurrent “loves”. (although I can’t say much for their subject pool…they drew their subjects from las vegas. it’s called the “city of sin” for a reason, after all…)
it’s quite an engaging 27 page read (don’t worry, the language is very accessible). I won’t sum it all up here, but suffice it to say that the trend in their open interviews shows that humans are, indeed, capable of what the researchers call “deep-seated, simultaneous loves”. however, the report also noted that “in the majority of interviews…individuals in concurrent loves also felt an intense ethical guilt” and in the end, could not manage the two relationships simultaneously.
the research is pretty inconclusive when it comes to explaining why, though. they discuss the possibility of attributing it to biological and chemical reactions to relationships (affixing different types of love [like companionate versus passionate] to different endocrinologies), and they also debate how society’s labeling of love as a dyadic bond (between two people and two people only) affects our perception of polyamory. they are, however, firm on their conclusion that concurrent loves, at any rate, can seldom last for significant periods of time.
do you think the research is biased because it doesn’t include communities that support or practice polyamory (a factor that the researchers did note)? is love truly is a dyadic bond that’s meant to be unique and unshared outside a world of two, and does attempting to have that bond with more than one person at a time undermine that meaning (ie. emotional stability, comfort, whatever you associate with “love”)?