The Red Bulletin presents Game Changers. The people, things and ideas that will change our lives in 2016.
Increasingly large numbers of couples are opting to ditch monogamy in favour of polyamory – meaning ‘many loves’ – which allows them to enjoy several relationships at a time with the full consent of all concerned.
Though there has been no major study on the subject, a conservative estimate is that five per cent of Americans have permission to find love of all kinds with people other than their primary partner.
The trend isn’t limited to the US: in China, a prominent economics professor recently advocated polyamory as a solution to the country’s surplus of men. And in Brazil in November 2015, three women were joined in a polyamorous civil union. But San Francisco, USA remains the spiritual home of polyamory, and it seems it’s no accident that the birthplace of the term itself back in the 1990s is also a global tech mecca.
“With the advent of connected mobile devices and the internet, we’ve entered into the era I’ve dubbed Big Dating,” designer Chris Messina, famous for inventing the hashtag, told CNN. “Now it’s like, ‘Wow, my weird is not so weird. I can find a community of 100,000 people online, whereas a couple of years ago I would have felt like I was the only one doing this.’”
With divorce rates as high as ever, there is a certain tech-entrepreneur logic at play, too. “If you’re trying to build a product and it’s failing 50 per cent of the time,” said Messina, “you might want to think about ways of improving it.” Since guys like Messina were the first to carry a smartphone and tweet, it follows that in the near future we’ll all be opening our minds to polyamory, too. “
In 1990, Steve Jobs observed that a computer is like a bicycle for our minds,” said Messina. “To say that much has changed since then would be an understatement. So, when we look back from 20 years into the future, we might think of non-monogamy as a bicycle for our hearts.”