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Polyromantic Relationships: A Guide to Simplify a Confusing Label

Love is a complex subject, and there seems to be a new buzz word all the time. What does polyromantic mean? It is something you might like to try?

Polyromantic Relationships

When it comes to love, there are no rules. That means there are many different types of relationships out there, all as beautiful as one another, be it heterosexual, homosexual, polyromantic, or any other label around. Just because a relationship doesn’t fit the mold of what you like, doesn’t mean it’s any less valid or any less enriching than the one you’re in.

That’s what makes love so wonderful! There is no ‘norm,’ and it’s just about following your heart and meeting people who set your soul on fire.

[Read: How to find love: The law of attraction]

We mentioned the word ‘polyromantic’ there. This is a term that has gained popularity in recent years. Without knowing what it means, you may be thinking it has something to do with polyamory relationships. However, it’s not the case. [Read: What is polyamory and why are so many people switching to it?]

Okay, it’s acceptable that all these ‘poly’ words start to look the same after a while, but, they have completely different meanings. So, pay attention! What’s great about the development of sexuality, is that we start to realize that not everything is so black and white.

[Read: 20 sexually enlightening movies about sexuality in all its many ways]

What does polyromantic mean exactly?

When you have ‘poly’ at the start of a word, it means ‘many.’ That cannot be confused with words that start with ‘pan’. That means ‘all’.

Aside from having an English lesson here, polyromantic means someone who is attracted on a romantic level to many genders, but not all.

Some people do not identify as either male or female, though, polyromantic people can be attracted to those that do not consider themselves male or female. [Read: List of sexualities – What you need to know about each sexual orientation]

Of course, you have homosexual and heterosexual people, but is that it? We’re only given two options? Obviously, it’s much more complex than that. Human sexuality isn’t some coin you flip and whatever side it lands on, that’s it. Rather, sexuality is a spectrum.

It’s for that reason that new labels have been developed, to help people feel that their sexual and romantic preferences are recognized. No matter who you’re attracted to, it’s all entirely valid. You don’t need a label per se, but many people want one.

In that case, if you identify as polyromantic and you want a label, you can use it if you feel the need to do so. [Read: Sexually fluid – What does this even mean in the dating world?]

The differences between polyromantic and bisexual

Obviously, the definition creates a common question – aren’t polyromantic people simply bisexual?

No. It’s easy to think that but you have to delve a little deeper. A person who identifies as bisexual is attracted to both men and women. However, when a person identifies as polyromantic, they’re romantically attracted to those who do not conform to either gender and/or sex. [Read: Pansexual vs. bisexual: How to tell the real difference]

That’s the key difference.

To a polyromantic, it isn’t about the gender in most cases, it’s a deeper feeling and it’s often not about sex. However, go back to the definition and you’ll find that polyromantics aren’t attracted to all genders. That’s where it becomes a little confusing.

However, at the end of the day, if a person tells you that they’re polyromantic, it’s not your business to work out which gender/person they’re romantically attracted to. It only becomes your business when it’s you who may identify as this particular term.

The thing is, romantic orientation and sexuality is so free these days that we should all embrace the wonderful fluidity that comes from being able to simply love who you want to love. We might yet be a long way from freedom from judgment, but we’re on our way there, surely? [Read: Everything you need to know about an open relationship]

It doesn’t always have to be sexual

The fact that the term has the word ‘romantic’ on the end means that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a sexual attraction that a polyromantic feels.

If you identify as heterosexual, you don’t feel sexually attracted to every member of the opposite sex you meet, do you? If you’re someone who identifies as homosexual, does that mean you find every person of the same sex attractive on a sexual level? No, of course not! The same goes for those who are polyromantic.

As a polyromantic, you may potentially be romantically attracted to many people. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in a sexual way. After all, you can be romantic without engaging in sexual activity.

It could be true love, or it could be a very deep friendship that has a slight edge of something else about it. Sure, it might turn into a sexual relationship over time, but that’s not what the first flourish always is. It’s more about developing a connection that’s a little more than just sex. [Read: 34 passionate signs he’s making love to you & not just having sex]

It’s important not to confuse polyromantic with pansexual

This happens a lot. But, pansexuals and polyromantics are different.

Pansexuals are individuals who are sexually attracted to people regardless of their gender or gender identity. Essentially, they can be potentially attracted to everyone, as ‘pan’ means all – remember our grammar lesson earlier?

Understanding the key differences between the two terms will mean that you’re more able to understand those around you, and you can be more open-minded about the sexuality of others. It’s never a bad thing to be in the know about these things!

The best way to describe pansexuality is that they feel sexual attraction towards a person, not the gender.

On the other hand, polyromantics are romantically attracted to many genders, as ‘poly’ means many.

So, whilst pansexuals simply fall in love with a person or become very sexually attracted to a person, a polyromantic person does have certain genders or identifies that they simply don’t find attractive in that way. Remember, ‘many’, not ‘all’.

You may be slightly confused with all these terms: bisexuality, pansexuality, polyromantic. We get it, if you’re just starting to learn what this means, it can be overwhelming. [Read: Greysexual – What it is and the common qualities that define it]

The human love of labels

If still confused with all these different words, maybe by understanding the prefixes, you’ll grasp these concepts better. The only real difference between these words are the prefixes—these are what completely change the meaning of each one. So, know your prefixes:

1. Bi – two or both

2. Pan – all

3. Poly – many

4. Omni – all

5. Ambi – both, can imply ambiguity as well

Humans love to label things. This is because we’re given so much information on a daily basis, we need to label and put them in categories for better comprehension.

If you’re not sure where you fit, or you think you’re a polyromantic but you may feel you’re actually a pansexual, don’t pressure yourself. [Read: 14 steps to unfake your life and love being you]

Do you really need a label? Perhaps you’re comfortable doing your own thing and not requiring a label to put on it. The only time this could become an issue is when you meet someone you’re attracted to and they want to know your romantic orientation or your sexuality.

They’ll need this to work out whether it’s something they’re comfortable with. Remember, not everyone is comfortable dating a person who has a different sexuality to their own. That is the only time when you may feel pressured into labeling your sexuality. Even then, take your time identifying your label and make sure that it feels right to you. It’s your romantic orientation and sexuality at the end of the day, and nobody else’s.

For instance, polyamory is when you engage in multiple intimate relationships. In other words, you date multiple people at the same time. If you meet someone who isn’t polyamorous, you need to talk to them about your lifestyle before taking things any further. You can’t expect them to accept something they’re not comfortable with, but at the same time, you shouldn’t be pushed to changing your sexuality and romantic needs either. [Read: A guide on effective communication in a relationship]

Do you think you might be polyromantic?

If you think you may be a polyromantic because you find yourself romantically attracted to more than one gender, the best way to know is to speak to someone who is polyromantic.

They, of course, have firsthand experience with diving into their romantic orientation. They’ll help you better understand your feelings and where you think you fit in on the spectrum of sexuality and romantic orientation. [Read: 14 negative consequences of heteronormativity]

As you read this, you may be thinking, there’s probably something wrong with me, why can’t I just be straight or gay? Listen, sexuality isn’t an easy subject.

Honestly, we really don’t know that much about sexuality. Every single person on this planet is unique. How can we put people into boxes as being either this or that? There is so much gray area between that it’s not always possible to be what others assume you “should” be. Embrace who you are and what you feel, that’s what will allow you to be happy and have truly rewarding relationships.

There’s an endless list of romantic orientations and sexualities that’s getting longer and longer by the day. You’re not the only one who feels that maybe heterosexuality isn’t the only thing out there.

[Read: Just how many types of romantic orientations are there?]

Now that you’re all up-to-date and understand what a polyromantic is, introduce yourself to the polyromantic community in your city and go from there. If you feel you may be polysexual, that’s great. You’ve discovered one more thing about yourself.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...