Entity explains what polyamorous relationships are.

How many of you grew up oblivious to the idea that having multiple partners isn’t cheating? Didn’t “being in love” mean directing all your attention, effort, and commitment to one person? This is often the case because many communities encourage only monogamous relationships and teach people that monogamy is the only way to have a truly happy and healthy relationship.

Although this is how “romantic love” has been conceptualized, plenty of people have been polyamorous for years. By definition, polyamory is the practice or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at a time. However, it didn’t become “mainstream” until more and more polyamorous people came out of the closet to start talking about their relationships.

But just because it’s become “mainstream,” doesn’t mean it’s fully understood. One of the most common misconceptions about polyamory is the idea that it’s just about having a lot of sex. Sure, plenty of people probably enjoy the afternoon threesome. However, polyamory is more than just sexual adventures. Being polyamorous is about having meaningful relationships with more than one person that are comparable to what monogamous people would have with “the one.”

As you can probably imagine, polyamory can get increasingly complex. This is why transparency plays an important role in such complicated relationships. In the same way that monogamous relationships have certain expectations and agreements, poly folk talk to their partners about what they can and can’t do. Who is everyone allowed to have sex with? Is one of your partners a regular sex partner while another one is someone you live with? And most importantly: What is everyone comfortable with?

In polyamorous relationships, the traditional rules and boundaries of monogamous intimacy get thrown out of the window. Because of this, each set of relationships need to establish separate expectations.

In an article on Bustle, Emma McGowan interviews 36 polyamorous people for relationship advice for their poly friends, as well as things that “monogamous people could learn from polyamorous people in order to make relationshipping just a little bit easier.”

Here are some things people have said:

  • J: Sacrifice brings you all towards the lowest common denominator. Honest communication and negotiation bring you all closer to optimal happiness.
  • Mogli: Work to find the solution where everybody wins.
  • Judah: Healthy relationships engage the issues that arise in that particular relationship. Poly relationships, by definition, have more relationships engaged and so tend to have more things that come up . . .
    1) A more acute awareness of managing finite resources (time, attention) versus non-finite resources (love).
    2) More focus on the notion of no individual having to be the end all/be all with their partner, avoiding the trope of the “one true love that completes me.”
  • Nicole: Communication skills especially regarding what you both feel and want. How to love a person without feeling the need to be possessive of that person.
  • Maxwell: Jealousy is a natural human emotion regardless if you are poly or not. It’s what you do with those feelings and how you communicate them that defines your experience in the relationship.

Overall, polyamory acknowledges the diversity of human relationship and emotions. Even if poly relations are different from your conception of “commitment,” that doesn’t mean they’re any less legitimate. Poly folk are perfectly capable of feeling the depth and intensity of the love monogamous people may feel for their singular partner.

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