Beginner’s Guide To Polyamorous Relationships
All the questions you ever wanted to ask.
According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 21% of people have had an agreed non-monogamous relationship. This is commonly known as polyamory but what does that exactly mean? Can you just sleep with anyone you like? Is it basically just a license to cheat?
NOPE - there is so much more to it that that.
Here's Courtney Act with an intro to open relationships...
What is a polyamorous relationship?
The definition of polyamory is basically the desire to have an intimate and/or romantic relationship with more than one partner, with all parties knowing about the arrangement.
What’s the difference between that and swinging?
Swinging is more about casual sex while polyamory focuses more on long-term committed relationships. Of course, you can do both at once but there is definitely a distinction.
What’s the difference between polyamory and polygamy?
Polygamy means ‘multiple marriages,’ so you have to have that legal commitment to all your spouses, whereas polyamory is generally more casual and refers to committed but not necessarily legally tied relationships. Polygamy also tends to refer to a man with many wives and is therefore very gender based, whereas polyamory is gender fluid.
What are the boundaries?
Just because you’ve decided to have an open relationship doesn’t mean you can just go sleep with whoever you want. You both need to lay down a few rules about who and what circumstances make you comfortable and uncomfortable.
Maybe friends or co-workers are a no go or you’d rather it only happen when you’re out of the city you live in. Make sure you both feel satisfied with the rules before you put it into practice.
Doesn’t jealousy ruin it?
Jealousy is obviously an emotion you’ll have to work through if you want to partake in this kind of relationship. But polyamorous people have a word for the opposite of jealousy – ‘compersion’. It basically means being happy if you’re partner is happy.
If you feel jealousy then either it isn’t for you or it’s something you need to work through together. If this is an arrangement you want to have then why do you feel jealous? Is it a fear of them leaving you? Of not feeling special?
Are polyamourous people bisexual?
Just like any other relationship, it depends on the person. Although some people in nonmonogamous relationships may be more likely to be open-minded when it comes to group sex, it doesn’t mean they are automatically keen to sleep with both men and women.
Do polyamorous people all live together?
Polyamorous people tend to group together in communities but they don’t have to co-habitate. Friendship and civility are encouraged when you see your partner’s other partner but this is real life – not everyone is going to get along. But because feelings like jealousy are worked through, conflict tends to be less frequent than a conventional monogamous relationship.
There is even a term for your partner's other lovers – 'metamour'. And although it’s encourages that you get along with them, it’s also discouraged that you become too close as one of the benefits of being in a polyamorous relationship, is that you have separate parts of your life.
Now treat yourself to Hannah Witton's guide to doing it....