For decades, the domestic lives of American polygamists have remained secretive and closely guarded.But for a new TV documentary, presenter Dawn Porter was given access to two polygamous families, who both sought to present rose-tinted images of harmonious, contented communities.

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Plural marriage may look like what great-grandma Edna did, but married men hitting on cute singles looks like a run-of-the-mill tawdry affair.

And it seems to me that it is this shift in marriage and dating conventions that truly ensures that polygamy can never be reinstituted.

Nowadays it requires dating and courtship — going to dinner, holding hands, going to the movies, calling each other to chat, making out in the parking lot.

And that’s the part that would be (1) incredibly weird and uncomfortable for me, and (2) almost certainly intolerable for Mardell.

As much as she thinks she could tolerate having another wife, I am certain that she could tolerate the idea of her husband out on the dating market, flirting with random single members, asking for their phone numbers, and potentially, eventually, marrying them.

And I think that this feeling is universal, or close to it.

On reflection, I think that I could probably tolerate it as well. But I also think that, despite that attitude of potential reluctant acceptance (which is, I think, widespread among members), reinstituting polygamy would never work.

Here’s why: As noted, my hunch is that if I had to marry a sister-wife, we could find some sort of marital equilibrium. But what would be the strangest — something I doubt that I could pull off — would be the courting.

In both of these religions there will, therefore, be religious doctrine that discusses it in detail whereas with polyamory this is certainly not the case.

The term polyamory instead means "many loves" and the relationship aspect in this type of lifestyle does not mean that marriage exists, but instead the person has some form of a serious relationship with a number of people at the one time.

(This assumes a lot of things, like anti-polygamy laws being struck down).