Polyamorous find the type of relationship that works for you: Let’s define polyamorous

Polyamorous relationships are definitely trending these days, but they don’t come without their frustrations. One of the hardest things to explain to people is what you mean by “polyamorous.” In other words, what does being polyamorous mean and how do polyamorous relationships work? 

People define poly relationships in a bunch of different ways, so let’s take a look at some types of polyamorous love and how it can impact your relationship


Hands Holding

What is polyamorous?

Polyamorous is a term that is often said to be the opposite of monogamous, but this is not always true. Being polyamorous means that you are romantically or sexually involved with more than one person, and more importantly, that everyone in your love life is aware of it and okay with it. 

Generally speaking, polyamory tends to have a connotation of a romantic, emotionally-connected relationship. It is not the same as sexual non-monogamy, since you are actually dating multiple people at the same time. 

Monogamy means that you are having sex with one person and that you are generally emotionally tied to that person. Non-monogamy means you might have an entire relationship with multiple people, or you might just have sex outside your primary relationship. Polyamory denotes an actual relationship. 

Let’s talk about types of polyamorous relationships 

Now that we have the definition of polyamory under wraps, let’s be real. Polyamory comes in many different “flavors'' and categories. It’s best to define diverse polyamorous relationship types so that you can understand how to ask for your choice:

  • Vees, Throuples, and Quads. Vee relationships involve two people who are not romantically linked to one another dating a single person—a “V” shape. Throuples are triad couples where everyone is romantically involved with everyone else. Quads are the four-person version of a throuple. 
  • Parallel Polyamory: This is where a couple will each have their own “extra” love lives separate from their main relationship. It can happen naturally or as a part of an agreement. 
  • Hierarchical Poly Relationships: Hierarchical polyamory means that one partner will have a higher “rank” than the others, often when it comes to major decisions or legal matters. For example, it might be a wife then a girlfriend in the relationship’s hierarchy.
  • Non-hierarchical Poly Relationships: This means that all partners are on equal footing when it comes to relationship matters and decision-making. The decision-making process often comes down to a vote. 
  • Mono-Poly Relationship: This is a relationship dynamic where one person is monogamous and the other is polygamous. It often is part of the fetish scene or a situation where someone is not capable of having sex as frequently as their partner would like. 
  • DADT Relationship: DADT stands for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” While there is some contention over whether this is a poly relationship structure, the general basis of it means that you can have partners, but that your main squeeze does not want to hear about it. 
  • Solo Polyamory/Free Agenting: In this dynamic, you are looking for relationships where you are first and you don’t want to be tied down. While you may love your partners, you are not looking for much serious commitment. 
  • Swinging: Swinging is not polyamory, but it is a close “cousin” of poly relationships. This involves swapping partners with another couple. There are no feelings involved, but there are a lot of sexual acts that can happen. Each couple has its own boundaries and limits.
  • Polycule: This is a cute term people use for the entirety of their poly relationship, all partners included. 

  • What does polyamorous mean to you?

    When you start to explore polyamory, there are a lot of different ways your relationship can function. Being able to explain what polyamorous means to you and the type of relationship you want to have in words is remarkably empowering. It lets you voice your needs and boundaries in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

    Polyamory Relationships. Group of people drinking coffee together

    Is polyamory better than monogamy?

    It’s really not. Polyamory is not better than monogamy. Being polyamorous or non-monogamous is not better or worse than having a traditional relationship. Rather, it’s just different. 

    Polyamory has a lot more rules and responsibilities, but it also can be just as enjoyable—if not more so. With that said, it takes a lot of effort to maintain more than one relationship. (As we all know, even a monogamous relationship takes effort.)

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