Depending on who is defining it, polyamory can be different things. For the conservative Christian or religious person, polyamory (or poly for short) is a sin which leads to cheating or adultery. A secular person (non-religious) may view it as a swinging, sex oriented or kink style relationship. A polyamorous person views it as just another relationship choice, neither better or worse than monogamy.
Polyamory is defined as “the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time.” (Oxford Dictionary) Simply put, you and your partner decide that you want to stay together. You also agree to date or marry other people. Everybody knows and consents to this. You can be married or unmarried in this type of relationship. “University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley has estimated that about 5 percent of Americans are in one of these types of relationships at any given time.”(Live Science) How is this different from cheating?
Cheating is when a person engages in multiple romantic relationships. The people involved do not have full knowledge or consent. For example, John is dating Jane. Jane decides to date Joe without telling John. Joe knows she is still with John but doesn’t care if John knows or not. Because everyone does not have full knowledge and consent, Jane is cheating on John.
Polyamory is about honesty. It is an alternative to monogamy. A person doesn’t have to be polyamorous. It’s just another choice. Some people choose to be poly because of religious reasons. Others choose it because they can love multiple people. They may want to love more than one person. Still others choose it for a sexual thrill. Sadly, some think it will fix their failing relationship. Others try to justify cheating. Maybe they were invited to join a pre-existing couple or poly group. Whatever the reason, it’s important you understand why you want to be poly.
Polyamory is not the norm. Where monogamy is depicted in music, movies, books and television shows, polyamory is almost never shown. The few times it is shown is usually in a negative light. There are few books, songs and movies that show how people can be polyamorous and successful at it. Many people will view those who practice polyamory as weird or perverted. This is not true. You can be happy in a polyamorous relationship. You’re not weird. You’re not perverted. You’re not going to hell. You just need to learn a few things that will help you be prepared for the different kind of relationship you are embarking on…things you may not have picked up in the monogamous world.
Consider joining us at the Poly Living Forum. We look forward to discussing all aspects of polyamory in a modern poly world.