Polyamory: What Does It Mean?

Love moves in mysterious ways—this is true for polyamorous people. But how can a person love two (sometimes more!) people all at the same time?

What Is Polyamory?

A study on couple intimacy suggests that polyamory, the nonpossessive and ethical practice of loving multiple people at once, is gaining popularity. It's a relationship style that suits many individuals.

Polyamory highlights the importance of intentionally choosing how many partners one wants to be connected with rather than adopting social conventions that prescribe loving one person at a time.

Polyamorous relationships are growing more common nowadays. Despite this, many individuals assume that polyamory never works or that polyamorous relationships are doomed from the start.

But in reality, it's a relationship style that works for many people. Some people enjoy polyamory, while others prefer monogamy. Neither is inherently better than the other.

Group of friends with phones

Polygamous relationships, like monogamous ones, may be healthy and happy depending on the circumstances and behavior of the persons involved.

Polyamory comes in a variety of forms. If you are thinking about polyamory, you should do some research on the various types of polyamory to learn more about the various relationship options and to determine which type of polyamorous relationship is best for you. 

It's critical to recognize your boundaries and limits concerning your interactions and connections with your partner's partners when you're in a polyamorous relationship. Some people are receptive to learning about, and even meeting, their partner's other partners. 

Others prefer a no-ask, no-tell approach and would prefer not to know the other individuals in their partner's life. Understanding your limits in this way is essential before entering into a polyamorous relationship and while navigating polyamory.

What Polyamory Is Not

Contrary to popular belief, polyamory is not ethical non-monogamy. Polyamory refers to multiple loving relationships, whereas ethical non-monogamy refers to any arrangement in which people have multiple consensual romantic, sexual, and/or intimate relationships.

Want to meet your polyamorous matches?Meet them here!

Origins of Polyamory

Polyamory, once known as "group marriage," has its roots in the California free-love movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

The Kerista commune, a hippie communal living arrangement in San Francisco, originated the word "polyfidelity" in 1971.

Is Polyamory and Swinging the Same?

Most people would often think that polyamory is the same as swinging. Technically, these two terms are far different from each other.

Polyamory is based on the idea that couples can have many love commitments, while swinging is essentially the act of switching partners. 

Three people

Polyamory is characterized as the ability to engage in numerous romantic and sexual relationships, with the participants defining "romantic" and "sexual." However, swinging typically agrees that it is OK to have various sexual relationships but not to fall in love. Swinging is generally thought to be purely sexual, though swinging partners can develop strong romantic feelings, which can lead to the formation of a polyamorous relationship.

Why Do People Resort to Polyamory?

Some people are born with the ability to simultaneously love more than one person. It's almost as if they associated with the term "polyamory" before understanding it existed! 

They are relieved and delighted to discover that polyamory is a genuine phenomenon. They no longer have to hide their identities or feel isolated in their experiences. 

With this new understanding, people are more secure in actively seeking partnerships that align with their genuine character.

Some individuals are curious about the concept of polyamory but have no clue what it's like to be polyamorous. These people tend to immerse themselves in the lifestyle to assess whether polyamory suits them.

Or monogamy just doesn’t work, which is why some couples tend to resort to polyamorous relationships.

Common Misconceptions about Polyamory

Here are the common myths and misconceptions about polyamory:

Polyamory Is Cheating

There is sometimes a misunderstanding between polyamory and infidelity. However, because polyamory is founded on honesty, communication, and putting everyone's feelings first, polyamory does not always imply cheating. 

In a polyamorous relationship, both partners will agree on their relationship's limits and norms ahead of time. So if a partner betrays your trust in a monogamous relationship and later claims that it is because they are polyamorous, you have every right to be hurt and confused.

While respecting the other person's identity is important, you never agreed to be in an open or polyamorous relationship, so you have reason to suspect their behavior is dishonest.

Polyamorous People Just Haven’t Met Their Forever Partners

We all grow up so focused on finding our true love that it might be difficult to comprehend having more than one great fit. 

Polyamory holds that no single person can be expected to fulfill your wants and desires. That is a lot of pressure to place on a single person! Many people become bored with one person's routine, wish their spouse had other hobbies or opinions, or simply do not have all of their physical or emotional needs satisfied. 

So what are they going to do? They implore their spouse to be better and to think and act differently, hoping their wants will suddenly be satisfied. 

In practice, this rarely works; instead, it often leads to animosity between spouses and unhappiness. Polyamory allows diverse partners to meet different needs, creating a true sense of fulfillment.

Polyamory Is for Emotionally Immature People

Having several relationships is frequently portrayed in our society as "youthful exploration" or an indication of a mid-life crisis. Poly individuals are said to only spread their wild oats until they age, mature, and settle down.

Polyamorous individuals come in different kinds, sizes, and ages. In truth, many polyamorous persons were raised in monogamous partnerships. They couldn't communicate their entire range of demands, deal with jealousy and insecurity, and accept the notion of having several relationships until they developed.

Polyamory Is Just a Trend

Polyamory is not a new concept; in fact, it predates monogamy. Most men in the Bible and other ancient texts had multiple wives. 

Polyamory is not immature, unethical, or a novel concept. Each individual must investigate and comprehend what works best for them. 

Whatever type of relationship you choose, remember to embrace the love that is right for you, not just one that conforms to the status quo.

Is Polyamory a Symptom of a Mental Disorder?

No, polyamory is not a symptom of a mental disorder. Rather, it is a different way of living. Polyamory does not constitute a mental condition or a personality problem. 

Polyamorous partnerships are highly independent of one another, implying that the relationship dynamics with each partner differ. 

How to Discuss Polyamory with a Partner

Many individuals are unaware of what it means to be polyamorous. Others may be terrified by the prospect of having an open relationship. This is why discussing polyamory with your partner might be difficult. As a result, couples must understand what a polyamorous relationship is and why their spouse would be interested in entering one.

Use these suggestions to help you explain to your partner how polyamory can benefit your relationship:

Be Prepared, Especially if Infidelity Is a Past Issue

It's worth noting that if you've already cheated with someone else, discussing polyamory is unlikely to elicit enthusiasm. These things take time and faith to manifest. Before considering polygamy in the aftermath of infidelity, trust must be restored.

Make Your Partner Feel Valued and Appreciated

Things may turn a bit frosty if you don't approach the subject with a suitable tone when you initially ask your partner whether they'd be willing to be in a polyamorous relationship with you. 

If you've always been on the same page about most things, they'll understand your need for this type of relationship.

But before bringing up the subject of polyamory, remind your partner how important they are to you and how much you value your relationship with them. It's important to remember that this isn't about blackmailing people into polyamory; it's about securing their position in your life.

Be Patient

Patience is a valuable trait, no matter what the circumstances are. Allow your partner to think and decide if polyamory is for them. 

It's unusual for polyamory to be brought up, discussed, and finally rejected, leaving the relationship stronger for having done so. Similarly, polyamory may be brought up and hypothetically explored for several years, finally leading to a wonderful relationship starting with little to no stress.

Types of Polyamory

If you're thinking about getting into a polyamorous relationship, you might be startled to learn that there are almost as many forms of polyamorous partnerships as there are polyamorous people.

Here are the different types of polyamorous relationships:


A vee relationship consists of one individual dating two persons who are neither romantically nor sexually connected.

For example, Anna is dating Sam and Andrew, but Andrew and Sam are not dating each other. So if you drew a line from Sam to Anna to Andrew, it’d form a V shape.


A triad, sometimes known as a throuple, is a partnership in which three people are romantically or sexually associated with one another.


A quad relationship is one in which four people are romantically or sexually involved with one another. This might be the joining of two major couples or the addition of another member to a trio.

Benefits and Risks of Polyamorous Relationships

Every relationship has pros and cons, especially if you are dealing with multiple partners. 

Check out some of the known benefits of being in a polyamorous relationship here:

Free Love

It's freeing to fall in love freely without worrying about confining your affections to one person for all eternity. You are liberated from the shifting societal structures. 

You will be continually rewarded with fresh experiences due to your ability to love as many people as your heart wishes.

Personal Growth

Polyamory will be difficult because you will constantly meet people who will bring you face-to-face with the most recent version of yourself and then make you see how you can change again, finding a newer, improved version. 

You will be more open to a never-ending stream of new experiences, adventures, and opportunities. 


Having numerous relationships implies you have more compassionate pillars surrounding you. When others are unavailable, exchanging a shoulder to cry on may mean a lot.

Here are polyamory’s consequences:


When they are not the apple of another person's eye, people in polyamorous relationships frequently begin to feel envious. After all, that is human nature.


Because you may be changing partners all the time, it might be difficult to locate people who are compatible or tolerant of one another. You will also have to manage the lives of multiple people at the same time.

Social Judgement

In most communities and faiths, polyamory is frowned upon. It is regarded as unacceptable, and as a result, you and your partners may be treated poorly in public.


If you're going to be in a polyamorous relationship, make sure you and your partner explicitly establish your relationship's rules, constraints, and boundaries. The value of communication cannot be overstated. 

Understand that to change the terms of a relationship, both partners must agree, and consent under duress does not qualify as a collaborative agreement.

Datingscout.nz Author Chris Pleines
Chris Pleines
Founder of Datingscout and Author of the book "Online Dating for Dummies"
Chris founded Datingscout 15 years ago, and today he is one of the leading Online Dating Experts. He is the author of the book "Online Dating for Dummies" and the author of the Internet's largest online dating study analyzing 20 Million Profile Pictures with artificial intelligence. Chris Pleines holds a master degree in media science and appeared in numerous television interviews and publications to give expert advice as well as tips about online dating.

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