The concept of polyamory has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people explore alternative relationship structures. Renowned psychologist and public intellectual, Jordan Peterson, has shared his thoughts on polyamory, offering a valuable perspective on the subject. This article will explore Jordan Peterson’s perspective on polyamorous relationships, delving into the psychological implications and the potential impact on society.

jordan peterson polyamory

Who is Jordan Peterson?

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. With a focus on personality, social, and abnormal psychology, Peterson’s work has garnered widespread attention for his insightful and often controversial views on various topics. One of Peterson’s most well-known works is his book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” which provides practical advice on how to live a meaningful and responsible life. Peterson has also gained fame through his lectures, interviews, and YouTube channel, where he discusses a wide range of subjects, including politics, religion, and relationships.

What is Polyamory?

Polyamory, a term derived from the Greek word “poly” (meaning “many”) and the Latin word “amor” (meaning “love”), refers to the practice of engaging in multiple intimate relationships simultaneously, with the consent and knowledge of all involved parties. Polyamory is distinct from other forms of non-monogamy, such as swinging or open relationships, in that it emphasizes emotional connections and long-term commitments among partners.

Jordan Peterson - Polyamory: His Views

Peterson has spoken about polyamory on several occasions, offering insights into the psychological and societal implications of this relationship structure. Here are some key points from his perspective:

The Importance of Monogamy: Jordan Peterson views monogamy as a stabilizing force in society, arguing that it promotes a balance of power and ensures that more individuals can find a mate. In contrast, polyamory could potentially lead to a concentration of resources and an imbalance in the mating market.

Evolutionary Psychology: Peterson also draws from evolutionary psychology to explain why monogamy has been the predominant relationship structure throughout human history. He suggests that monogamous pair-bonding might have provided a survival advantage to our ancestors, who needed to cooperate and share resources to raise offspring.

Jealousy and Envy: Peterson highlights the psychological challenges that can arise in polyamorous relationships, such as jealousy and envy. He argues that these emotions are deeply ingrained in human nature and can be difficult to overcome, potentially leading to conflict and instability in polyamorous arrangements. 

The Role of Culture: Peterson acknowledges that cultural factors play a significant role in shaping our understanding of relationships and love. He suggests that the growing interest in polyamory may be a result of shifting cultural norms and the erosion of traditional values.


Addressing the Critiques

While Jordan Peterson’s views on polyamory are thought-provoking, it’s essential to consider other perspectives and address potential critiques of his arguments.

Individual Differences: Critics argue that Peterson’s emphasis on monogamy as the ideal relationship structure may not take into account individual differences in relationship preferences and needs. Some people may find that polyamory is a more fulfilling and suitable choice for them, based on their personal values, emotional capacity, and communication skills.

Successful Polyamorous Relationships: There are numerous examples of successful polyamorous relationships, with partners effectively managing jealousy and envy through open communication and emotional support. These examples suggest that it is possible to have stable and loving polyamorous arrangements, even if they may not be the norm for the majority of people.

Changing Social Norms: Another critique of Peterson’s views is that social norms and values are not static but continuously evolving. The growing acceptance of polyamory, as well as other non-traditional relationship structures, may be a reflection of society’s increasing tolerance for diversity and a broader understanding of love and commitment.

Adapting to Challenges: Lastly, some argue that just as monogamous couples can face challenges, such as infidelity or the loss of a partner, polyamorous individuals can also learn to adapt and overcome the difficulties that may arise in their relationships. Emotional growth and resilience are not exclusive to any particular relationship structure.

Jordan Peterson - Polyamory: Conclusion

Jordan Peterson’s thoughts on polyamory provide a valuable perspective on the psychological and societal implications of this increasingly popular relationship structure. His views are rooted in evolutionary psychology, the importance of monogamy for societal stability, and the challenges inherent in managing jealousy and envy. However, it’s essential to consider the potential critiques of his arguments, which highlight the individual differences, examples of successful polyamorous relationships, changing social norms, and the capacity for adaptation in all forms of relationships.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to engage in polyamorous or monogamous relationships is a deeply personal one, and individuals should consider their values, needs, and emotional capacity when making such decisions. The ongoing conversation surrounding polyamory is an opportunity to expand our understanding of love, commitment, and the diverse ways in which humans can form meaningful connections.