21 Real Reasons Why Polyamory Is Bad (2024)

Are you considering polyamory? Perhaps it sounds like an awesome lifestyle with lots of sex, but you’d also like to find out about the potential downsides?

If so, you’re in the right place. This guide features 21 potential reasons why polyamory is bad.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients better understand themselves and what they want in life. 

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you.    

Let’s dive in.

Why Are Polyamorous Relationships Unhealthy?

Polyamorous relationships work well for some people.

However, there are a lot of complications which can wreak havoc on the feelings of those involved and ultimately leave them feeling unfulfilled.

There are 21 of these complications listed below.

1. Jealousy

Polyamorous relationships involve two partners each being intimate with multiple people. Naturally then, they will have to fight off feelings of jealousy to make this relationship style work longterm.

2. You’re Getting Less From Your Lovers

If your lovers have multiple partners, you’re not getting 100% of their love and affection. This is often found to cheapen poly relationships and make them feel less fulfilling.

3. Polyamory Is About Turning Off Your Feelings

Monogamous relationships are about diving into love and giving your all to one life partner. 

Polyamorous relationships often require you to turn off your feelings, so you can enjoy getting physical with more than one partner and cope with your partner being intimate with someone else.

If you can turn off your feelings, you’re essentially having cheap casual sex. If you can’t, you’re going to have to deal with the trauma of your partner being intimate with other people. 

4. Equality Is Impossible

Poly people may try to treat all their partners with equality, but this is impossible in reality. Inevitably, someone is going to end up feeling neglected.

5. Some Poly Relationships Have Tiers

This rarely makes things less complicated. 

It’s common that people become unhappy as a ‘secondary’ partner. There’s also the issue of a ‘primary’ partner feeling jealous that secondary partners are getting too much attention.

In reality, the primary partner rarely feels as if they’re being treated as such. 

6. Unclear Rules 

Polyamorous relationships are governed by rules, but they’re rarely as clear as in monogamous relationships. 

7. Power Struggles Are Common

In a relationship with multiple partners, it’s natural that people will fight to have more power and to ‘win’ over each other. This isn’t a recipe for healthy polyamory, but it will be difficult for the people involved to resist. 

8. It’s Difficult For Men To Fall In Love With Polyamorous Women

It’s argued to be part of a man’s biology to not fall in love with a promiscuous woman. This supposedly stems from the past when there was no way to guarantee his paternity, other than knowing that his woman had been loyal.

Why Polyamory Is Bad
Photo By cottonbro On Pexels

9. It’s Difficult For Women Not To Fall In Love

It’s also argued to be part of a woman’s feminine nature to fall in love with the man she’s being intimate with. Again, this stems from their desire to guarantee paternity. Needless to say, it can cause a lot of heartache if she falls in love with a man who is intimate with someone else. 

10. It’s Difficult For Women To Express Their Femininity In A Polyamorous Relationship

A big part of femininity is expressing one’s emotional energy without filters. This is difficult because a woman will often feel the need to suppress her negative emotions to make a polyamorous relationship work.

11. Polyamory Tends To Breed Selfishness

Many poly relationships have open loops; meaning you’ll have your intimate relationships while your partner may have their own not involving you.

This structure typically leads to those involved only thinking of themselves.

12. Resources Are Shared With Other People

In a monogamous relationship, you are typically building a life together. Often, you’ll attempt to pool your money together to get a mortgage, or to make your rented property feel like a home.

Your emotional and financial resources are all focused on just one person. 

In polyamorous relationships, they’re shared with more than one person, so everyone gets less. 

13. Resources And Emotional Investment Are Not Infinite

Love can be infinite, in theory. Resources and investment cannot.

This means you cannot give or receive your all. Everyone misses out.    

14. Equality Is Not Generous

To try and make a poly relationship work, those involved will try to focus on equality.

However, equality is not generosity.

How are you supposed to come across as generous when you are focusing on giving everyone equal treatment?

Inevitably, you come across as selfish in the eyes of your lovers.

The only people who are happy with this so-called ‘equality’ are those who believe they’re getting the better deal. Or maybe those who already have a better deal elsewhere.   

15. A Polyamorous Family Is Potentially Unhealthy For Children

This is an accusation the polyamorous community fights back against viciously. They may point to studies that suggest children of polyamorous parents tend to be more socially confident. They might argue that there is a bigger ‘family’ to take care of them.

However, there are also studies that suggest children are negatively affected by the unpredictability and instability of a polyamorous household. 

16. Legal Issues

Marriage is rare in poly communities.

Sure, maybe polyamorous people feel comfortable with that. In fact, more and more people are beginning to see marriage as antiquated.

However, without this marriage contract to protect them, poly folks could end up with nothing from their intimate relationship should their partner die or leave them.  

17. A Bigger Risk Of STIs

In monogamous relationship, there is zero risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection, assuming you’re both clean when you meet and both stay loyal.

In polyamorous life, there is a bigger risk. You can’t keep up with the intimate lives of everyone involved with your partners. Your only option is to engage in safe sex practices yourself and hope for the best. 

18. Break-Ups Can Have A Bigger Impact 

A break-up can affect multiple people in a closed loop polyamorous relationship, where multiple partners are enjoying a romantic relationship at the same time.

They can be complicated too. What if one partner wants to break-up and other partners want them to stay?  

If a discarded member of the family can’t help but feel jealousy towards the remaining members, they may try and sabotage the whole thing. 

Also, what happens when two poly family members don’t get along? Someone has to go in this scenario, but how is that decided? The more people in your poly relationship, the more likely this is to happen. 

19. There Is Still A Social Stigma Against Polyamory 

This isn’t a reason not to do something, but it’s an uncomfortable reality that polyamorous human beings have to deal with regardless. You may have to burn bridges with friends or family members who aren’t comfortable with the way poly folks live.

Also, there are no discrimination laws to protect polyamorous people. You can lose your job for being polyamorous and courts can use it against you in custody trials. 

20. People Leave The Poly Scene Once They Fall In Love

Sure, some people may stay committed to polyamory for life. But, it’s common that two partners feel the need to give up on non-monogamy once they fall in love.

As such, it could be argued that polyamory is nothing but a stop-gap until the real thing comes along. 

21. Polyamory Is Too Complicated To Last In The Long Term  

Monogamy with one man or woman is complicated enough. Polyamory adds a whole host of new complications.

The simple truth is: most people aren’t emotionally equipped to deal with any form of non-monogamy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s round off this article with the answers to some frequently asked questions about polyamory. 

Is Polyamory Bad For Mental Health?

Polyamory usually comes with a lot of stressful complications and having to deal with feelings of jealousy and that can be bad for one’s mental health.

Polyamory Is Toxic?

A ‘toxic’ relationship is one that is bad for your emotional health, so polyamory can indeed be toxic for some people.

There are healthy and unhealthy relationships in the poly community and between monogamous people.

Neither community is immune. 

Polyamory Is Immature?

This is another accusation thrown at polyamorous people; they’re supposedly too emotionally immature to commit to a relationship with one partner. They’re also commonly accused of having a sex addiction. 

These might be reasons why some people get into polyamory, but I’m sure the vast majority of the poly community would fight back against these accusations. 

Why Is Polyamory Immoral?

Polyamory goes against the guidelines set out by certain religions, and may therefore be regarded as immoral by followers of those religions.

However, polyamorous relationships do tend to have guidelines that are set to try and stop anyone from being hurt. They’re no different to monogamous relationships in that regard. 

Also, polyamorous people aren’t hurting anyone outside of their relationship.

These are two strong cases against polyamory being immoral. 

How Long Do Polyamorous Relationships Last?

Of course, it depends on the people in the relationship. There are studies that suggest polyamorous relationships have an average half-life of between seven and eight years, which isn’t too different from monogamous relationships. 

Being The Third In A Polyamorous Relationship

Do you wonder what it’s like to be the ‘third wheel’ meeting an established polyamorous couple? Do you imagine it might be awkward meeting them for the first time?

Well, established polyamorous couples will be aware of that – and will take care to treat you the same way and give you the same amount of attention as each other. In fact, you’ll often be given more to be made to feel more welcome in a new relationship.  

Some people get off on being the third wheel when it comes to casual sex, but it’s unlikely to be a good fit for most people. 

Recovering From Polyamory

Break-ups are always hard, but can be particularly difficult if you’re losing several lovers at once. If this is something you’re going through, check out my guide on how to get over your ex fast

Why I Stopped Being Polyamorous

There are several people who detailed their own experience of non-monogamy and why they decided to stop online. If you want o learn more about the potential downside of this relationship style, I’d recommend you perform a web search for “why I stopped being polyamorous”. 

Any More Questions?

It can be really exciting to share your love with one or two other people, or more. There is often lots of sex. Perhaps more importantly, when they talk about their relationship style, polyamorous people often mention how there is more love!

I hope this guide will help you figure out if you’re the sort of person who can live with a single partner or whether you’d like to experiment with more. 

If you’d like to ask a question about non-monogamy, feel free to write it in the comments below. 

It would be great to talk about this topic further – and I would love to hear what you think about it.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.