Polyamorous relationships are becoming increasingly commonplace, but what exactly are they? Most people don’t even know. Find out the secrets here!
Let’s face it, when most people think about being in a relationship, they think of commitment, of being with that one person and no one else – of monogamy.
In fact, the whole point of moving your relationship from that “dating” – or even just “casually sleeping together” – mode is to clarify that you are not going to bump uglies with anyone else.
However, when you dig a little deeper, you begin to realize that there are many other types of relationships out there. For example, many people are in open relationships where each party is allowed to go off and do what they please with other people *subject to strict ground rules in most cases*.
Actually, there really are people who live happily with more than one partner – an ongoing threesome. And there are also couples who like to attend swingers’ parties or orgies. Yet others have taken sex out of the equation altogether.
The point is that there are many kinds of relationships people can have. And just because they aren’t necessarily monogamous doesn’t mean they are any less successful and committed.
You may have heard of polyamorous relationships, but maybe you have not. It is a perfect example of an unorthodox relationship where the people say they are in love, happy, and sexually fulfilled. [Read: Monogamous relationships and your mind]
So what exactly are polyamorous relationships?
Polyamory is essentially where you can have relationships with several different people at the same time. Fans of the idea believe that it is difficult for the emotions and desires of a human being to be completely fulfilled by just one person.
You may have a friend with whom you enjoy intimate conversations, but they aren’t the kind of person you can go out and let your hair down with. And as for romantic relationships, you could have a deeply satisfying sexual relationship with someone, yet the depth of conversation you want just isn’t there.
Polyamorous relationships are all about transcending the usual relationship rules that so many couples feel bound to. It is all about finding a network of relationships that leaves you and your partner(s) feeling as fulfilled and satisfied as possible. [Read: Can someone please define monogamy?]
It may be that you have one partner with whom you share most of your experiences – you live with them, go on holiday with them, and know each other’s parents. However, you still share similar experiences with another person as well.
One of the points to make very clear is that in polyamorous relationships, this means that ALL parties are aware of everything that is happening with other people. They may have a main partner and several others on the side.
If that is the case, both the main partner and all the other partners will all know about one another and be happy and comfortable with the situation.
Polyamorous relationships, however, have their own rules which both parties must adhere to. Rules are set and agreed upon by the couple themselves. They could range from simple requests such as “not in our bed” to more complex arrangements “no friends of friends.” [Read: Open relationships and why so many couples find it perfect]
There may be rules around what information you divulge to one another, too. Some people like to know every intimate detail of their partner’s other relationships. But others prefer to simply set the rules, trust the other one will follow them, and then live life as normal.
Lots of people in polyamorous relationships feel uncomfortable with the idea of “ownership” over someone – like when they are in a monogamous relationship.
To them, this is not just about being able to play the field. More often than not, they are hugely committed to their partner and have a stable and happy relationship. They also talk very openly about things and feel they can be honest about everything.
Most people in relationships must admit that, from time to time, they meet someone else that they feel attracted to. This may just be a fleeting moment in a bar, or a new colleague who they develop a crush on. Either way, those in polyamorous relationships have the freedom to explore these relationships and see where they may lead. No more “what ifs.” [Read: Open relationship rules for a better love life]
People in polyamorous relationships argue that putting all your eggs in one basket is actually unhealthy and doesn’t make us happy.
Having one partner means that you rely on them for all your needs. Essentially, they become “everything” to you. And because no one is perfect, it is basically impossible for them to live up to your expectations.
And the result is that we end up having feelings of resentment toward our partners because they cannot give us everything that we need. When in a monogamous relationship, it is so easy to start to focus only on the negatives *the flaws in your partner,* and begin to take all the positive things about them for granted. [Read: How to get over trust issues in your relationship]
Can either party really ever feel secure in their relationship if their partner continues to have relationships with other people?
In polyamorous relationships, you are essentially telling your partner that you need certain things that they simply cannot fulfill. Is it possible to allow someone you love that much freedom?
Being able to feel completely secure and not let feelings of jealousy get the better of you takes a very strong will. Even if both parties are exploring relationships with other people, one can’t help but wonder if this can truly make them feel happy and fulfilled.
It also can be difficult to find other willing partners. Polyamory is far from the norm, so constantly explaining yourself, the nature of your relationship, and finding others who do not morally object to it can often feel tiresome.
Another tricky part is ensuring that your relationship doesn’t turn competitive. Just because one party slept with another person last night doesn’t mean you have to rush out and do the same.
In polyamorous relationship, each party has a say in how the relationship is formed and what course it should take. It is not simply about fulfilling one couple’s needs and desires, it is about fulfilling every party in the relationship’s needs and desires. Communication is key.
Every relationship is different, and each one comes with its own problems and moments of delight. Finding out what works for you takes courage, experimentation, communication, and understanding.
Don’t be afraid of change or trying new things. If you feel as though polyamory is right for you, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t explore it.
Polyamorous relationships are not necessarily the kind that will bring you freedom and fulfil all your wildest desires. It is, however, a different way of living and exploring complex human relationships. It works for many people, so if you are curious… just go for it!
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Bethany was born and raised in Scotland and now resides in Brighton where she lives with her partner and rather disobedient cocker spaniel pup. She works as a f...