Now first things first, don’t get me wrong. Monogamy is still a thing of the now (shout out to mom and dad). However, it is 2022 and folks today are more sexually liberated than ever before and have been known to dabble in non-traditional romantic relationship types. We have women marrying chandeliers, men in full-on relationships with blow-up dolls and women dating men almost three times their age. Today, we’ll be getting a bit specific on a particular relationship type that’s been the talk recently and, quite honestly, the wonder and norm of past centuries. This relationship has gotten its fair share of side-eyes, raised eyebrows, quite a few pointy fingers and of course, tons of ill remarks. For this, we’re going to get pretty Greeky; let’s talk Polyamory.
Now, according to Google, “the word “polyamory” comes from the Greek root “poly”, meaning “many,” and the Latin root “amor,” meaning “love.” It translates as someone having many loves or simply put: being romantically involved with multiple people at the same time. Persons entering this spectrum of relationships understand that it is rooted in the philosophy that we humans can love more than one person, in the romantic sense, without those feelings of love detracting from one another. Then on the other hand, there’s monogamy and by Google’s many definitions, it’s been rounded up to being in “a sexual relationship with only one partner at a time as opposed to multiple partners.” Please know that this, Polyamory, is not to be confused with Polygamy which caters solely to the married folk as it allows for having more than one wife or husband at the same time. Have you heard of Swingers?
In today’s society, in Western culture specifically, Monogamy and Polyamory are two popular relationship types. In the world today, the majority of folks engage in and are drawn to monogamous unions as it offers within their boundaries what can be described as a true union. Monogamy, this much-sought-after union, is renowned worldwide for being completely filled with love, emotional and physical intimacy, and the much-craved feature: faithfulness. Additionally, noteworthy is the fact that in the eyes of The Huffington Post, monogamous relationships are seen as the pinnacle of values such as fidelity, trust, honor, respect, and loyalty.
In fact, although monogamy may mirror the image of quite a number of people’s romantic relationship desires, others may see this particular union as ancient, confining, and simply unorthodox. To them, it contributes greatly to the high divorce rate and the rocket-high infidelity rate which they’ve chalked up to sexual boredom. The answer, whether monogamy or polyamory is the right choice when navigating the uncertain path that is relationships is “you’ll know”. When it comes to humans and these particular feelings? They’ll almost immediately know which of the two, in this case, monogamy or polyamory, floats their boat. This is even with the abundance of “happily ever after” endings where they focus on two people meant to be together. You know, that soulmate-type shit that pushes monogamy like a motherfucker.
Just as monogamous relationships have different types: sexual, social, structural, and emotional; so too do polyamorous relationships. There are nine common types that we’re going to just touch on ever so lightly. First up in the mix is the main one, Hierarchical Poly, where more importance is placed on specific partners over others. Think of a ranking system. The main partner is known as the “primary” and is at the top of the hierarchy. Next under the poly umbrella is an Anchor Partner. This is one who is regarded as a central figure in one’s life, a stable “rock” or “anchor” to lean on. Where the Triad is concerned, some polyamorous couples choose to date other singles together, seeking a long term partner with which to become a “triad” or “throuple.” With the Quad, some polyamorous couples choose to date other couples together, hoping to find a long-term relationship called a “quad.” Then there’s Polyfidelity which allows for some polyamorous relationships to become “closed” and members engage in “polyfidelity.” This is when all members of a poly relationship agree not to seek romantic or sexual connections outside of the established relationship structure. In a Vee-type polyamorous relationship, one person dates two people separately. Their two partners are “metamours” (one’s partner’s partner, with whom one is not directly involved) to one another and those two people might never meet, or they may become close friends, but they do not have a romantic relationship. In Relationship Anarchy, all participants are free to connect with others romantically and sexually without the restriction of rules, labels, or hierarchy. Then with Solo Polyamory, a person typically prefers to live alone and has multiple partnerships that they do not define in a hierarchical manner. Lastly, a Polycule is a network of consensually poly-friendly relationships that are connected to each other in some way. There may be polycule meetings or discussions to consider decisions that have implications for everyone involved.
The thing is, throngs of people often mistake polyamory for open relationships and even see it as a “creative form of cheating”. The thing is, within the walls of a polyamorous relationship, let’s get this straight: no one is cheating. Cheating in this situation is most definitely not a thing. I mean, with the knowledge of what cheating does to a relationship, especially where trust is concerned, when in a polyamorous relationship, all parties are aware of the actions of each partner. You see, once a couple embarks on the polyamory journey, they set the ground rules and hold each other accountable where being open and honest are of the utmost concern. The initial couple and technically all involved agree upon regulations within the relationship to maintain happiness throughout the union. A healthy polyamorous relationship is one where all parties have full knowledge and consent of what is going on at all times. So again, polyamory doesn’t equal cheating; we promise.