Having romantic and sexual relationships with multiple people is becoming more common every year, but there are still many misconceptions and a lot of stigma surrounding polyamory.
The word polyamorous comes from the Ancient Greek ‘polloí’ and Latin ‘amor’. This literally means ‘many loves’, whether monogamy stems from ‘monos’ meaning single. And at its most basic, that is what polyamory is – but it can also be a way of life and a revolutionary way of viewing relationships (whether that be sexual, romantic or even platonic).
Non-monogamy involves a lot of trust and direct communication with your partner(s). Being polyamorous and having multiple partners is not the same as cheating – in ethically non-monogamous relationships, everyone is aware of what’s going on and clear boundaries are established.
Polyamory comes in all shapes and sizes (it’s not all effortless threesomes sadly). Let’s take a look at some common styles of non-monogamy.
Some people may have one primary romantic partner and have sexual relationships with other people. This could also include threesomes or group sex. These types of open relationships are usually seen as hierarchical, as the people involved tend to prioritise their main romantic partner over their other relationships. There’s nothing wrong with having hierarchies in place, as long as everyone involved knows where they stand.
Apposed to open relationships, in non-hierarchy polyamory, all partners are treated as equally as possible. There is no main or primary partner – instead people may choose to call the person they live with their nesting partner.
Relationship anarchists aim to deconstruct the typical societal standards placed on relationships, including platonic ones. They ask, why can’t we care for and love our friends as deeply as we love our partners? Their philosophy argues that both connections are equally as important. Watch the video below from polyamorous creator Leanne Yau for a more in-depth explanation.
Kitchen table poly
The premise of kitchen table polyamory is that you, your partners and your partner’s partners (called metamours in the community) would all be comfortable sitting around a kitchen table together. In this relationship style, everyone in the group (or polycule) knows each other and is at least acquaintances.
This may seem contradictory, but the aim of solo polyamory is to focus on yourself whilst dating multiple people. Solo polyamorists want to maintain their independence, so may desire to live alone, have their own finances and not have children.
Non-monogamy certainly isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something that interests you, do some more research about it. If you’re currently in a relationship, talk to your partner. If you decide it’s something you want to pursue, you should both be enthusiastic about it. If you’re single, be upfront with new people about your desires. There’s no correct way to be polyamorous – just make sure you communicate, communicate, and communicate some more.
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Our polyamorous quad of 2 women and two men just celebrated our 22 anniversary. This is just to let people know that, despite the lack of legal protections and social condemnations, polyam relationships can last.