Polyamorous people have multiple loving and intimate relationships at the same time.
Polyamory is just one of the ways to practice consensual non-monogamy – similar to other forms of non-monogamy such as open relationships and swinging.
What is a polyamorous relationship?
The word poly has Greek roots and means many.
This is the basis for a polyamorous relationship; it includes more than just two people.
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) describes it as: “The fact of having simultaneous close romantic relationships with two or more other individuals, viewed as an alternative to monogamy.
"Especially in regard to matters of sexual fidelity; the custom or practice of engaging in multiple romantic relationships with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.”
It’s main difference between other forms of relationships, such as swinging and threesomes, is that there are typically feelings of love in a polyamorous relationship.
People who are poly believe it is possible to love more than one person at a time, and often emotions and forming a deep bond is key.
Often in polyamory there will be relationships of three or more people in an equal relationship with one another.
They can live together, or simply be in multiple relationships with the knowledge and consent of all involved.
There is no standard unit, and the people can be all male, female, a mix of genders, trans or gay.
Each polyamorous relationship will have its own boundaries and rules, if any, and there is no standardised rule of what – if anything – constitutes cheating.
It is usually one of the fundamentals in a polyamorous relationship that there is no jealousy between the partners.
Is it the same as an open marriage?
The OED describes open marriage as: "A marriage or relationship in which both partners agree that each may have sexual relations with others."
Contrary to the founding principle of marriage, monogamy, people in this style of marriage have relationships with other people with their partner’s knowledge and consent.
There are no defined limits, and within an open marriage you can also have swinging and polyamory.
With an open marriage, usually partners have extramarital relationships with a third party and their spouse isn’t involved.
Sometimes they are, but often these extra relationships are done with the knowledge and consent of their spouse but away from them.
What is bigamy?
Whatever your sexual or dating style, bigamy is still illegal.
Bigamy is being legally married to more than one person at a time.
If caught, a bigamist faces being convicted and sent to prison.
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