Polyamorous Relationships: Meaning, Rules, Types And How It Works
As the world is progressing and understanding itself better, polyamorous relationships are finally beginning to find their place in the mainstream relationship norms. What once was an unconventional dating style for a few people is now being ventured by millions around the globe.
In a 2016 study, it was found around 21% of Americans have tried polyamorous relationships at least once in their life in the United States.
Another research conducted on 3438 single individuals noted:
- One in six individuals wanted to try polygamy (16.8%)
- One in nine individuals have been into polygamy at some point (10.7%)
- One in fifteen individuals know someone who is or was into a polygamy relationship (6.5%)
Polyamorous relationships can be uniquely romantic as you get the opportunity to spread your arms and blossom your love for multiple people simultaneously. It allows you to learn new things in relationships, explore diverse romantic possibilities, and fulfill your desires and needs.
However, you must understand how courageous one needs to be in a polyamorous relationship. Here’s a quote for the same,
“You’ll need courage because polyamorous relationships can be scary. Loving other people without a script is scary. Allowing the people you love to make their own choices without controlling them is scary. The kind of courage we’re talking about involves being willing to let go of guarantees – and love and trust your partners anyway.” — Franklin Veaux
While some lovers are really comfortable sharing their feelings with multiple partners, many others cannot handle seeing their partner with somebody else. This is why there are rules in a polyamorous relationship that should be strictly followed to live a long and happy relationship!
Yet, a vast population still doesn’t understand the ins and outs of polygamy. Furthermore, there are several myths floating around this dating style that we’ll be clearing further ahead in this article.
By the end, you’ll have detailed information about polyamory relationships, their rules, types, and how they work. You may even be surprised about the lengths you can go with multiple partners in exploring your heart and its desires!
Polyamorous Relationship Meaning
Basically, a polyamorous relationship consists of multiple partners that allow each other to get involved with other partners romantically or sexually, and it’s a mutual and consensual agreement between them all.
The word polyamory comes from the Greek word “poly,” which stands for “many,” and the Latin word “Amor” means “love.” In simple words, when we put them together, it means multiple love.
“A heart is not a box that you fill up, and it expands the more you love.”
Being polyamory means that you’re excited about the idea of loving multiple people. You do not want to limit yourself to one lover or devote all your heart to them. Instead, you feel that your heart is big enough to fit multiple people with different personalities.
Many believe that polyamorous relationships are “doomed” from the very start, as there is no trust or loyalty. In reality, polyamorous relationships are all about freedom, trust, and love.
“I do not cheat. I do not lie. I am not easy. I do not sleep around. I love bigger and deeper than most. My heart is simply too big for any one person to fill. I am Poly, I am Love.”
However, some rules must be followed to live a happy and healthy life with your multiple partners.
Polyamorous Relationship Rules
There is no single way to define a polyamorous relationship entirely, as many different case scenarios can fall into poly dating. The individuals in such relationships set their own rules and boundaries to make it all work!
Here are 10+ polyamorous relationship rules you must keep in mind when falling in this group of love:
1. Mutual agreement & Consent
A polyamory relationship is unethical or simply not poly when there’s a lack of mutual agreement and consent.
One cannot manipulate the other to form a polyamory relationship, and it will be considered cheating if your partner participates in sexual activities with others without your consent. It’s the first and the top rule of polyamory relationships, and without it, polyamory cannot work.
Being consensual about your actions and boundaries leads the relationship to form two significant pillars of poly—trust and transparency!
2. Be straightforward about your desires
In a polyamorous relationship, everything is transparent, and you cannot hide anything. You have to be clear about your needs, what you are ready to offer and what you expect from this relationship with your partners.
Be prepared to make commitments that you can and explore the wonders of a polyamory relationship!
These relationships are formed so that you can make deep connections, emotional attachments, and sexual desires with multiple partners, so there’s no shame in asking your partner what you want. Instead, we would suggest you be honest from the very start of this relationship.
3. Always use protection and practice safe sexual relations
This is one of the most crucial rules to follow in a polyamory relationship—never forget to use protection.
Since you are getting involved in diverse sexual activities with multiple people, the rule is to use protection consistently. If the partners don’t follow this rule, there is a risk of spreading STDs and causing unplanned pregnancy.
It is essential to ask your partner about protection anytime you plan something sexual and avoid infection risks that may come your way.
Staying protected during sexual relations is an essential rule in these relationships because STDs or STIs are serious health issues, and you need to be mindful about not going too far!
Other than the use of condom, partners must also disclose any previous STDs and information on the ongoing treatment. Any new partner getting involved should get tested for STDs and reveal the results before engaging in any sexual activities.
In polyamory relationships, it’s a rule to have enough respect for each other and engage in sexual activities with safety measures in place! This is why partners are required to get tested every six months and reveal their results to others.
4. Set realistic boundaries
Once you have planned to be in a polyamorous relationship, set boundaries in place first. To avoid any jealousy, insecurities, and hurt feelings, you need to develop certain limitations within the relationship and be honest about how far you want to go.
If you have one, two, or more than two partners, it can cause jealousy, envy, or other negative emotions. The only way to avoid any such circumstances is by setting clear boundaries, which all partners agree with!
5. Give your primary partner the proper time
A polyamorous relationship is a mutual choice, and in between this, you should never forget about your original partner. There are specific moments, memories, traditions, and places exclusive to just you two and shouldn’t be shared with others.
If you’re in a polyamorous relationship where one partner is primary, it’s essential to make time for them, show care and make them feel loved while you’re seeing somebody else too.
Don’t forget that it was a mutual decision on clear terms. They’ve been with you for a long time, and adopting this new thing shouldn’t change anything between you. Go to movies and long drives and try to maintain that normal relationship you two carry!
6. Keep distance from each other’s partner’s
If you’re in hierarchical polyamory (you’ll learn more about this later in the article), it’s essential to keep a proper distance from each other’s partners.
Not just distance; you should avoid meeting them, passing any comments, or judging them unless your partner approves any of it. While we understand that you’ll be curious to engage with your partner’s lover, it’s better if you don’t interfere in their business until they ask you to.
7. Do not force yourself to be somebody else
Sometimes in anger or jealousy, you might want to compete with your partner and show them you have many options too. And even if you’re not like this, you’ll try your best to showcase yourself as a popular lover.
But what’s the point here?
If you both have mutually agreed to a polyamory relationship, you shouldn’t have any problem with your partners seeing other people. It is okay to date only them while they are with more people. This is not a competition; instead, it is a dating style where partners have their own freedom for exploration!
Partners should focus more on fulfilling their desires rather than developing unnecessary insecurities!
8. Communication is a must
You must’ve heard “communication is the key to success in any relationship,” which remains true for polyamory relationships.
Keep honesty a priority with your partners, and talk about whatever you think or feel without hesitation. It would be best if you didn’t wait to have meaningful and essential conversations; instead, call them out any time and talk your heart out.
Such relationships are different, so you have to make them work together with efficient communication and total exposure to emotions. So whatever it is, even bad or good, you need to discuss it with your polyamorous partner!
9. Do not take things personally
Polyamorous relationships are not simple and offer unimaginable experiences. People try to explore every feeling in their hearts by making several romantic decisions.
The core of these relationships is transparency, so you’ll have access to all details included in this situation. This rule requires you never to take things personally because everything happens with consent in a polyamory relationship.
You cannot control people’s choices or force them to love the way you want. It’s their personal choice to select their own terms & conditions.
10. Make time for yourself.
Exploring new things is as important as loving and making time for yourself. It’s essential to learn how to be alone so that you don’t feel empty when your partner is off with their secondary lover.
You must know that you have yourself, and that’s enough. Self-love is the best kind of love in this world, and nobody can take this power away from you.
On days when you feel alone,
- Hang out alone and learn more about your wants and needs
- Go out with your friends and have fun
- Go for a long drive alone
- Shop some good-looking outfits
- Order yourself an essential
- Read a book
- Clean your room
The point is to learn how you can fulfill your own desires and make yourself happy so that you don’t have to wait for other people to satisfy you.
How does a polyamorous relationship work?
A polyamorous relationship is a highly consensual deal and works only when the engaged partners have mutually agreed to it. There is honesty, excellent communication, and infinite love between the partners which makes it amazing!
With proper respect and understanding within each other, polyamorous relationships will work peacefully and blossom into beautiful love sharing.
However, it would be best if you learned to respect each other’s boundaries and offer privacy while also being open and honest.
The positive result of polyamorous relationships depends on both the partners and how much they are willing to invest their time and affection in it. If you want your polyamorous relationship to work, be honest about your needs, communicate, and in between all this, don’t forget to give yourself some me-time.
Polyamorous relationship types
There are various polyamorous relationships, and it depends on how people want to live or treat their relationship with their partners.
In this type, one person has the authority to date two people who are not involved with each other sexually or romantically.
Triad is a polyamorous relationship where three partners can be involved sexually or romantically with each other. Also termed “throuple” by the media, this relationship is almost like a trio, and all partners are connected.
The third person involved can be male or female, who may be homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. The possibilities don’t end just here; three asexual individuals can also form a triad relationship having a deep friendship bond!
In a quad polyamorous relationship, four people are involved romantically or sexually with one another. For example, two pairs of couples getting together or adding another person to a trio.
d. Hierarchical polyamory
This relationship is also known as a “one primary plus” relationship. In this hierarchical relationship, people first focus on their primary partner and then involve others.
If a married couple or a couple in a live-in relationship gets into hierarchical polyamory, they will prioritize their relationship, maintain expenses, make essential decisions, and share finances.
Their priority will be their marriage or relationship while also being allowed to see other people and explore their fantasies.
e. Non-hierarchical polyamory
The non-hierarchical polyamory relationship is just the opposite of the hierarchical polyamory because here, partners do not focus on a single connection.
There is no primary couple, and the priority here is fulfilling everyone’s needs and desires. Everyone involved treat each other equally and make decisions together. People involved here can mutually decide to get sexually involved with each partner and share immense love!
f. Kitchen table polyamory
This type of relationship includes people just hanging out with each other and having fun romantically or maybe non-romantically. As the metaphoric name suggests, all partners in the polycule can sit around the kitchen table together comfortably in their PJs.
In this relationship, people don’t need to be involved sexually; instead, they are just having fun by going out together, having meals, and being comfortable with each other’s company.
g. Parallel polyamory
The parallel polyamory relationship is just opposite to the kitchen table polyamory because here, people are not friendly with each other.
Like if a couple is married while being engaged with other partners too, they won’t interact with each other’s partners at all. It’s almost as if two rails are running parallel to each other like a train track.
We can also call this a no-strings-attached relationship because even when someone is intimately involved with multiple partners, the priority is their personal growth.
The solo-polyamory relationship lets you live an independent life and prioritize your lifestyle goals before the relationship. You may choose not to live together, handle finances independently, and avoid traditional milestones of regular relationships.
Here, you are the priority even when several people are romantically involved. You do not believe in any serious relationship and are only concerned with their needs and wants.
I. Monopoly polyamory
In a monopoly relationship, one partner is loyal to the other while they can explore their sexuality with more polyamorous individuals. This is not considered cheating because it happens under the mutual agreement of both the partners!
Polyamorous v/s open relationship
Many people misunderstand polyamorous and open relationships as the same kind of dating style, but there’s one main difference between the two relationships.
A polyamorous relationship is a romantic lifestyle where multiple people are sexually or romantically attached at the same time while being mutually agreed upon and consensual.
In open relationships, you can be romantically or intimately involved with someone outside of your relationship. Here, your partner doesn’t need to be attentive or concerned about your other lover, and vice versa.
Polyamory relationships are built to explore intense love, form multiple emotional attachments, and spread affection and care with multiple partners. On the other hand, open relationships tend to have only sexual desires with their partners without making any deep connections!
A polyamorous relationship is not a new concept; it’s been here for years now. People often choose to try this loving style because they don’t want to stay in a single connection and believe there is an ocean of love in their hearts waiting to be explored.
Many people tend to connect polyamorous relationships with cheating, but it is an entirely different experience. Without healthy communication and understanding, one simply cannot be in such a relationship. It requires both the partners to be completely honest, transparent, and truthful about their desires and needs!
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