Everything you need to know about Polyamory

Updated on November 18th, 2021

These days’ relationships are getting more creative, and long gone is when having multiple consensual romantic partners was frowned at. Here, we will be showcasing some of the core elements of the concept known as polyamory.

Everything you need to know about Polyamory

What is Polyamory?

Polyamory can be defined as a relationship whereby people have multiple romantic relationships at the same time. It is significantly different from monogamy, which entails one individual is limited to one romantic partner at a given moment. Polyamorous relationships are not a new concept, as they have existed for centuries and are reasonably accepted in a couple of climes. However, someone arguing against polyamory would state that most people lean more towards monogamy than others. But, a person defending polyamory can also merit their argument, as a rising number of modern couples are embracing polyamorous unions.

Polyamorous people are known to have multiple loving, intentional, and intimate relationships at the same time. Also, the main rule of polyamory is to ensure that your partner is in the know and fully accepts such a unique union. Once such a partner knows, it is a genuinely polyamorous relationship; doing the opposite would constitute cheating. Furthermore, people in polyamorous relationships haven’t been proven to be lesser in love than their contemporaries in monogamous relationships.

Types of Polyamory 

Here are some of the most common types of polyamory; you can add yours if you please. We are fluid in our discourse.

1. Solo Polyamory 

The first form of polyamory before us is solo polyamory, a version of the relationship that involves an individual without a primary partner but can still date multiple people at a time. Solo polyamory requires the soloist to inform all their partners at a given time of their intentions to be polyamorous. There is no typeset rule for such an individual to love all his partners equally. Solo polyamory is a concept that has been frequently experimented with by college undergraduates these days. A hardcore participant of solo polyamory typically remains independent in their personal lives.

2. Polyfidelity

It is a form of polyamory whereby three or more people have a committed relationship with each other. Polyfidelity is a more recently curated term, and it involves the said individuals savoring their presence for a sustained period. The primary rule here is that its participants do not date outside of the group. There are no precise statistics as to how many open participants of polyfidelity exist in today’s climes. But, well-spelled rules govern the union(s); going against such would constitute cheating.

3. Hierarchical Polyamory

Here is where it gets exciting and significantly more tasking to decipher, as we have come to the concept of polyamory known as “hierarchical polyamory.” Hierarchical polyamory is a relationship whereby people have primary partnerships that devote the most time and attention and secondary and tertiary blocks that receive less time and attention. This concept is also a relatively new one, and all partners must know the existence of multiple co-partners. Also, such additional partners need to understand that the decision of primary partners in this relationship gets preference. Once more, people engaging in hierarchical polyamory are not allowed to have other partners aside from the ones recognized in the connection.

4. Non-hierarchical Polyamory

Contrary to the precepts of hierarchical polyamory, non-hierarchical polyamory is a form of polyamory that entails all partners present in the union having an equal say on important life choices. That is significantly different from hierarchical polyamory, as here, there are no primary, secondary, or tertiary members.  Non-hierarchical polyamory ranks as the most practiced polyamory among young people, as it is common knowledge that no one would be thrilled to play the second or third fiddle. A healthy non-hierarchical polyamorous relationship would entail all the existing members of the flexible union knowing their identity, as that’s a way to prevent inadvertently partaking in cheating activities.

False Opinions about Polyamory

Here are some of the commonly misconstrued facts about polyamorous relationships.

1. Polyamorists are scared of commitment

That is the most commonly misconstrued statement regarding polyamory, and people against this term are always quick to bring it up. However, they couldn’t be more wrong, as a genuinely polyamorous relationship requires a significant amount of trust. It takes a lot of honesty to bring up the idea, stay in most types of polyamory, and avoid the detractors along the way. While polyamorous couples aren’t big on orthodox relationship tenets and milestones, it is a reach to state that they are scared of commitment.

2. Polyamorous couples don’t get jealous

We are sorry to burst your bubble if you thought that polyamorous couples and individuals do not get jealous because, simply put, they do. These people are humans, and no matter the type of relationship they choose, they are bound to express human sentiments. However, the difference between their and monogamous relationships is how they deal with jealousy. In polyamorous relationships, the partners work together to nip the jealous bug in the bud, unlike in monogamous relationships, which might signal the end of the relationship.

3. Polyamorous people are merely sex addicts 

Being a sex addict has nothing to do with polyamory or monogamy, and such an individual would always have a way to make a nuisance in a relationship. Polyamory is not about having loads of sex. Instead, it’s about building loving, intimate relationships. What’s more, there’s only a certain amount of sex that a person can partake in. If someone is looking for truckloads of sex, the person can stick to casual dating. Most romantic relationships do involve sex, including polyamorous ones.

Final Thoughts

So many of the bestselling romance novels we read are about finding that special someone and riding off into the sunset with the said special someone. Hardly would you find a plot revolving around a polyamorist, as the term hasn’t still received mainstream popularity. Polyamory is a noble concept when practiced right, and it is a sustainable form of relationship when all the participants are on the same page. Also, no, polyamory is not the same thing as swinging, and no, polyamorists are not sex addicts. This relationship type has rules just like monogamy, and they have to be followed to the latter.

Matthew is an experienced and passionate BIPOC and inclusivity mental health expert. They are also a blogger, speaker, and relationship coach. Matthew helps people practice self-love and find mental and emotional peace through simple, practical tips and resources.

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