Polyamory is a term used to describe a lifestyle or personal preference wherein one may choose to engage in romantic relationships with several people at one time. Derived from the Greek word poly (many) and the Latin word amor (love), polyamory is rarely understood or accepted by mainstream society and its “one-size-fits-all” approach to sexuality.
Contrary to popular belief, polyamorous relationships are usually about much more than just sex. They are intimate relationships based on concepts of trust, choice, and shared values. While there is a lot of diversity within the polyamorous community itself with regard to the various ways in which relationships are conducted and structured, the general consensus tends to hold the belief that it is possible to establish and maintain happy, healthy and loving relationships without having to limit one’s self to the confines of traditional monogamy.
Although there is no standard form for polyamorous relationships, following are some examples of possible guidelines to which they might subscribe:
- Polyfidelity refers to polyamorous relationships that involve multiple partners who restrict sexual activity to select, or in some cases all, members within that particular group.
- Mono/poly relationships refer to polyamorous relationships wherein one partner is monogamous but the other is permitted to engage in relationships outside of that partnership.
- Polygamy is when one person marries several spouses who may or may not be intimately involved with one another.
- Sub-relationships, which generally include most open marriages, involve multiple partnerships that differentiate between primary and secondary relationships.
- Group relationships refer to polyamorous relationships in which all members of the group are intimately involved with one another.
Not everyone is emotionally suited for a polyamorous lifestyle. In order for polyamorous relationships to work, a great deal of communication is required and it is imperative that each person involved is aware of and in agreement with the specific terms of that relationship.
Although it is certainly not the norm, polyamory is a lifestyle with which many people do identify and as such, I believe it’s important for those people to have access to additional resources that address common issues within the polyamorous community. I will be conducting research in order to become more familiar with these issues and provide the best possible advice.