We’re so used to the idea that a relationship can only exist between two people. But if time has taught us anything about romance and sexuality is that this idea is just not true anymore. You can have a relationship with as many people as you want, as long as they want it to.
When that happens it’s called polyamory! If you find that you’re having strong feelings for more than one person, you might be wondering what polyamory is all about and if it’s for you. That’s why today we will teach you the basics! So, get cozy and pay attention because this is polyamory 101.
What Is Polyamory?
In a nutshell, polyamory consists of having relationships with multiple partners at a time. The term “polyamory” is often mistaken and referred to as an “open relationship” or “ethical non-monogamy”. However, polyamory is more about forming a romantic, intimate relationship with people than it is about sex. That’s the big difference between polyamory and ethical non-monogamy, in which the focus is having a sexual relationship.
How Does Polyamory Work?
It’s challenging to explain how relationships work in general, but if we get right down to the facts, polyamory is about being in a relationship with more than one person at a time. How that works will depend on the people involved.
There are many different ways a polyamory relationship can function. In some cases, everyone involved in the polyamorous relationship is romantically involved with each other, but in other cases they’re only involved with a few of the members. Sometimes there’s no romantic connection at all between the members of the relationship. It’s a matter of how things flow between the people involved.
The only universal principle of polyamory is that the relationships are based on honesty and transparency. Everyone knows what’s happening, and there’s no deception. That would defeat the purpose of the relationship.
Can You Sleep With Anyone?
Whether you can sleep with anyone depends on the kind of relationship you’re in. In some polyamory relationships members can sleep with whoever they want. While in others you’ll need to have a discussion about it with your partners. In other words, some polyamory relationships are monogamous within the members involved and others are not.
That Sounds Complicated. Is It?
The polyamory relationship structure is not much more complicated than any other relationship structure. However, the more people involved, the more organization the relationship will require.
Finding time to see everyone can be complicated when you’re involved with many people, which is often the main complaint. As for boundaries and limits; all relationships have them. Setting them and talking them out shouldn’t be complicated at all, not if communication and transparency are the core values at play.
Is There Jealousy in a Polyamory Relationship?
Well, this is a complicated question to answer. Some people may experience jealousy just like in any other relationship. However, the presence of jealousy doesn’t mean the polyamory relationship doesn’t work. It just means you have to address it.
As mentioned before, finding the time to see everyone involved is the most challenging part and it’s often a source of friction between the partners. The same happens in a monogamous relationship; if you don’t spend enough time with your partner, they’ll feel lonely or left out, and this will cause issues.
To make things work in a polyamory relationship everyone involved needs to be honest and open about their emotional needs. People in these relationships must be responsive when partners share their concerns. Communication is key here!
Are All Equal in a Polyamory Relationship?
The answer to this will also depend on the kind of poly relationship you’re in. Polyamory relationships have primary and secondary partners. While some people like to use these terms because it reflects how long you’ve been together, others think they denote a hierarchy and it doesn’t feel right to them.
There are other poly systems as well. Some relationships simply don’t put labels on each other or rank anyone in any way. There’s also what’s called “relationship anarchy”, which means having a poly relationship without any structure at all. Whatever system you choose depends on what suits your particular relationship dynamic.
Why Would Anyone Want to Be the Secondary Partner?
This is a very good question. It may seem strange to choose to be a secondary partner; it doesn’t right to always come second. However, for many people, the part-time involvement suits them perfectly.
For example, if you’re in a long-distance relationship, have an extremely busy life, or are simply not a big fan of commitment, being the secondary partner can work like a charm. Why? Because you have the opportunity to be in a relationship without feeling like you’re neglecting it or your partner.
Being a secondary partner allows you to spend many late nights at work and gives you the freedom to do other things with other people because your partner will have company when you’re not there.
How Does One Become Polyamorous?
There are many ways to get into polyamorous relationships, but it’s certainly easier if you’re naturally attracted to the idea. If you’re not, it might take some experimentation to determine if this is what you really want.
Either way, dating sites dedicated to polyamory are a great way to find polyamorous friends. It’s also easier as a single person to become a part of an established relationship. But if you’re in a monogamous relationship and you want to make the switch, there will definitely be a learning curve.
Whatever your starting point may be, whether you’re single, in a relationship, 100% interested or just curious, the best thing you can do is not rush it! You want to take things slowly and go at your own pace.
It’s also a good idea to have a reference; for example, you can educate yourself on what a polyamorous relationship is by reading articles like this, watching movies that portray it realistically, or talking to polyamorous couples.
How Do People Make Polyamory Work?
People make polyamory work by being honest and by getting into it for the right reasons. You can’t suggest a switch to polyamory just because things are going badly in your relationship. Polyamory won’t fix your relationship; but if you’re on the same page about it and your relationship is healthy, it can make it better.
The secret of poly people is communication. Seriously, they are obsessed with communication and honesty. That’s because it’s the unbreakable, golden, number one rule. Communicating with your partner is the most important thing and it’s what makes polyamorous relationship tick.
You’re feeling jealous? Uncomfortable? Nervous? Excited? Happy? Talk about it. Talking about things is what will allow you to understand each other and lay the foundation for what can be an amazing polyamorous relationship.