Conventional relationships usually expect a bond between one man and one woman. Now that society has progressed enough to accept same-sex relationships, relationships between men, women, transsexuals, and transgender individuals are also included.
For now, a relationship between two people is considered normal. No matter what your sexual orientation is, adding another person to the mix just wreaks too much emotional—and sometimes physical—havoc on any relationship.
But what about those who choose to have more than one partner? And it’s not purely limited to sexual relations. Some people really do want to have a committed relationship with more than one person—and the surprising thing is, the partners they’ve chosen totally agree!
What is polyamory?
Polyamory is defined as a consensual, romantic, and intimate relationship with multiple partners. The idea is open for some interpretation, considering it’s been around for centuries. Historically, it has been attributed to religious practices, but today it’s more in line with how people want to pursue their romantic interests.
There are different ways to approach polyamory, like through sexual relationships, romantic relationships, and even marriage *polygamy*. There’s also a difference between polyamory and polygamy. When it comes to the latter, romance is not mandatory, but marrying more than one person is encouraged. Still, polygamy can be borne out of polyamory. There’s just a bit more paperwork involved, if you’re in love with more than one person. [Read: In love with two people? – How to make it work]
How do people approach polyamory?
For cultures that practice polygamy, there are different social etiquettes that need to be followed in order to marry more than one person. You have to consider state and national laws about marriage as well, especially if they have strict laws pertaining to bigamy *marrying someone else while still married*.
For the more progressive individuals who don’t adhere to such customs, there’s still a huge discussion about how to approach the idea of having more than one partner.
Most people don’t want to share their significant others, but many are now considering it the better option, as it gives you more freedom to be with the people you love, without having to choose between or among them.
The catch, however, is that you have to do a lot of explaining to whomever you propose the idea. That’s pretty hard, considering almost no one sees polyamory as an option.
Remember, polyamory isn’t the same as hooking up or having several friends-with-benefits on call. In order for someone to be considered polyamorous, there has to be a serious, committed relationship in the works. Basically, you have to dive into it with the purpose of falling in love.
Are you ready to be polyamorous?
That depends on how you see yourself in a relationship. Are you the type who wants to be with only one person for the rest of your life? Or can you handle cultivating an intimate relationship with more than one person?
You’re not just testing the waters, here. You’re actually involving your feelings and emotions in a pot that has gotten decidedly fuller since there are more than two people. You’re not just working to keep one relationship afloat anymore, but two or more.
Besides, it’s not something that you decide to do. Being polyamorous has to do with how you feel about a certain someone, or in this case, “someones.” If you feel so strongly about them that you can’t stomach choosing between two or more, then maybe it’s time for you to consider talking to them about it.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that they will agree—but it’s still possible. It is even more so when you’re dealing with people who are open-minded and don’t want to be tied down to just one person, either. Aside from that, they have to be willing to share your affection.
It seems like a dream, but it’s happening more and more in casual and non-cultural settings all over the world. Because of how people see relationships these days, it’s no surprise that keeping your options open is now the norm.
Rather than hooking up and dating dozens of people at the same time, polyamorous couples or groups tend to have their cake and eat it too. You don’t need to worry about the nuances of being too available or not available enough. Polyamory changes things, because it allows you to be more expressive toward more people, without having to hurt them.
What happens in a polyamorous relationship?
To understand the concept better, this is what most people believe polyamory should look like—though these qualifications are not set in stone and each relationship differs, depending on an individual’s needs. Most factors that come into play here are time, affection, sex, and commitment to a lifetime together, even when other people are involved. [Read: 15 open relationship rules for a better love life]
#1 You go on dates like normal people. It’s still a relationship, albeit with more than one person. You do the usual things that boyfriends and girlfriends do. Except this time, there are more people to entertain.
#2 You celebrate milestones together with all your partners. It’s still a legitimate relationship that has anniversaries. Sometimes you have to be there for all of them, but that depends on how important these milestones are to you and your partner.
#3 They can date whomever they want, as long as you agreed to it. Polyamory is a two-way street. If you can date more than one person, so can your partner or partners. If it’s something that you need to implement, then you better make sure it’s fair to your partners. [Read: Open relationships and why so many couples are now opting for it]
#4 Marriage is on the table, but not necessary. Again, marriage is complicated when it comes to polyamorous relationships. While some cultures see marriage as a sacrament or a rite of passage for religion, some see it as an economically sound choice.
#5 You’re in love with more than one person. The definition states that a romantic relationship exists between you and your partners. If it’s just about sex, then you’re just hooking up. If you’re serious about polyamory, you’re basically aiming for a serious relationship with all of your partners.
#6 Your friends and family might not understand it yet. Of course, it’s hard to understand! You’re seeing more than one person and are enjoying it. It’s not normal, but it is something that a lot of people can live with. If your loved ones can’t, hold tight. Someday, they might.
#7 It’s a delicate situation that can unravel at any time. Since emotions are involved, you can never predict how it will all turn out. As much as you want to work at your relationships, someone *it could be you or any of your partners* might decide that polyamory is not a good idea. It could make them unhappy, especially if they realize that they didn’t know what they’d be signing up for. [Read: 11 open relationship questions to know if you’re ready for it]
#8 Getting pregnant is a complicated concept, if you’re a woman. If you’re seeing more than one guy and have decided to start a family, it’s going to be difficult to explain that you want to get pregnant by one of them. It’s even more difficult to explain why you chose one and not the others. Just make sure that you’re open and honest about it. After that, just let things run their course.
#9 Settling down means considering everyone’s needs for the long term. When you think of settling down, you envision a mortgage, a wedding, and a long-term commitment to a life with one person. But in this case, there’s more than one. You don’t necessarily have to choose just one, but you have to consider everyone’s needs and wants.
#10 A deep understanding of polyamory is mandatory. It’s not as simple as telling someone, “I’m seeing someone else and would like to see you both at the same time.” Imagine telling them you’re seeing two or three more. In order for things to go smoothly, you need to study up on how this works. There’s no book that can tell you, but there is life. You experience it, and you learn from your mistakes. And the most important part? Just be honest and open with the people you love.