Polyamory, a current phenomenon, endorses open relationships with multiple lovers. The term means many loves, and polyamory strives to legitimize the benefits of non-monogamous romance and sexuality among adults.
Jung engaged in an open, extramarital relationship with Toni Wolff. Does polyamory represent an overthrow of outdated cultural mores in an age when sex can be safe? Or is committed, often sanctified bonding a deeply rooted part of human nature and development? There are parallels in the development of a relationship between two people and the relationship of ego to the unconscious.
Jung discovered that the alchemical images in The Rosarium Philosophorum, depicting stages of relationship for a couple, illustrated the individuation process. Is polyamory a way of rationalizing ego gratification and avoiding monogamous commitment? Or is polyamory a call to forgo outmoded cultural restrictions and experience connections with others that can facilitate inner growth?
“I am walking alongside the man that I am currently dating. He is on my right side. Suddenly on my left side, the man I am still in love with appears with the woman he has a child with (in waking life, he has a child with a woman he did not marry and co-parents. I am still not over him and wish we were together). In the dream, he has had another child with her. I’m surprised he’s had another child with her. It makes me think he has had even more intimacy and “work to do” with her in his life path. I am stuck in the middle… the man I am dating is on my right side, but I am not really interested in him (even though he treats me wonderfully in real life, he doesn’t feel like “the one”). The man I desire is on my left, with a woman and two kids, a life and world he’s been focusing on. He sees me, and I feel this strong and pleasant attraction and connection between us – like a youthful friendship mixed with love – I realize/know that he continues to be interested in me too, even though we are apart. I wake up, confused but happy to have a positive dream about his feelings towards me (In waking life, I continue to regret our breakup and he has ignored attempts I have made to rekindle a friendship and begin communication again).”