I Propose a Better Version of Camelot by including Polyamory
The story of King Arthur is essentially a Shakespearian type tragedy.
King Arthur, the archetype good and virtuous monarch who sought only to do right and to make a just and peaceful society was married to the equally good and virtuous Guinevere. They loved each other deeply and together ruled the kingdom well. The land prospered in a time of peace and plenty. The great Lancelot Du Lac comes to Camelot with the sole purpose of serving the King and Queen in their great and noble mission.
As told by Sir Thomas Mallory, Lancelot accomplished many great feats in the direct service of the Queen as her personal protector. In the process, he falls in love with her, and she with him….and they express their love for one another sexually. All the while both Guinevere & Lancelot love and respect the King. For years, this love triangle goes on with Arthur pretending he does not know about the romantic and sexual relationship between his wife and closest friend. He knows he is expected to react negatively to his wife’s amorous relationship with Lancelot. He is supposed to be incensed and enraged by their love (and sex). But he does not feel that way. Rather he takes active steps to help keep the affair secret while publicly denying any knowledge of it.
When indisputable evidence of the affair becomes public, Author is compelled by law to sentence both Guinevere & Lancelot to death. In the process of trying to carry out the sentence, Camelot comes crashing down. The round table is broken, war rages, people great and small have their lives destroyed, including Arthur, Guinevere & Lancelot. It is a tragedy because all three believed in the dream of a better kingdom and none acted out of a wicked heart, yet fate used their goodness to destroy the great good they sought to build.
What, if we changed to story to say King Arthur defies the conventional morality and publicly acknowledges that the two people he loves best also love each other. What if he gives Lancelot an adjoining chamber to the Royal bedroom so that his wife can share her life with both the men she loves? Camelot survives, the people, great and small, continue to prosper in peace. And everyone lives happily ever after.
Perhaps in the musical movie adaptation of this version of Camelot the grand finale could be a scene of the three of them in the big royal bed singing a rousing song of their love’s triumph over the forces that sought to destroy it. All three hit a high note as they all climax together. The End.
You see, the absolute demand for both emotional and sexual monogamy destroys lives. An acceptance of the core principle of polyamory (i.e. loving a second person does not reduce one’s love for the first person) would eliminate the destruction of so many marriages and families. I say firmly that open-marriage can be a family value.
When I wrote the first draft of this essay, I was thinking on this because my wife was clearly falling in love with a new man. I know what it looks like when she falls in love and she had that “always thinking about him” kind of behavior. She had asked me clearly if I minded if she told him that she loved him. Although we’ve been through this many times before she just wanted to make sure.
I assured her that I was happy for her. I had no concern that her new love would displace me in her life. The kind of relationship that builds a life together is different than the kind that provides for mind blowing emotional and sexual encounters. Not that at times the former can’t be the latter, but they are different. Mortgages, bills, children, illness, parental care and the list of hard things in long term relationships goes on and on. The kind of love that sees people through these events all the way to old age is built on commitment, commitment and more commitment. These kinds of things can squeeze out passion that is built on a single focus of emotional and physical pleasure. Hence many people have affaires with work mates where those “real life” problems can be forgotten for a little while. We all need a break sometimes, and some people need them more often. The monogamous model says such breaks from the pressures of life is “cheating” or being “unfaithful”; however, the open-marriage model sees such low stress relationships as positive and healthy to both the individual and the couple.
When I wrote the first version of this essay, our daughter’s life was in flux, I was searching for a new job, with the attendant stress of a possible move, and Paula had not long before had to deal with the death of her beloved father. On top of that she was dealing with issues of menopause. My wonderful wife needed a break very much from the stress of the real world. That love affair was just the break she needed. How was that anything less than pro family? It helped her cope with all the things in her life and gave her strength to help me cope with my issues. Her lover, helped our family greatly.
So back to Camelot.
Arthur was King, it was a very stressful job. Guinevere, as queen was herself under enormous stressors and Arthur was too consumed with the work of being King to meet her emotional needs. Lancelot stepped up and met Guinevere’s needs out of love for her and love for the overworked Arthur. The King was far better off because his wife was happy. The Queen was happy her needs were being met and Lancelot was happy to serve the two people he loved most in the world. There were no losers. This is the promise of polyamorous open-marriage.