What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Polyamorous?

Even if you’re up with all of the latest texting lingo and memes, you still will come across words, and even subjects, that you’re unfamiliar with. A lot of the time, they’re ridiculous slang for body parts. Some might have to do with relationships. For example, did you know what micro-cheating was a few years ago? I bet that was a no. Another term that you might have come across recently is polyamory. (It was one of the top searched for words in 2017.) If you’ve been hearing about it, or you met someone who was polyamorous and you didn’t want to ask exactly what that meant for fear of offending them, don’t worry, because I’m here to explain a bit more about it.

So, what exactly does it mean to be polyamorous?

If you’re looking for some *official* definitions, Urban Dictionary defines it as, “The state of having multiple sexually or romantically committed relationships at the same time, with the consent of all partners involved.” Dictionary.com describes it pretty similarly. According to them, it’s defined as, “the practice or condition of participating simultaneously in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship with the knowledge and consent of all partners.”

Um, isn’t that basically just dating or being in an open relationship?

Some could say that it is, but there are differences in every situation. Each polyamorous person is likely to have their own wants, desires, and definitions so I do not want to put everyone into a category, but polyamory is usually seen as separate from dating or open relationships because people are looking for deep, meaningful connections with a lot of people. And everyone is open. You sometimes don’t get that in dating.

Is it for people who don’t want to commit?

That’s not exactly the case. In fact, it’s sometimes seen as a myth that some polyamorous people would like to clear up. (Of course, I’m sure that there will be people out there who will try to use polyamory as a way to not commit to someone because they might think it’s easier than revealing their true feelings.) Instead of thinking about monogamy as the only option, or the ultimate one, think of polyamory as another option for people.

It sounds a bit kinky? Is it about having a lot of sex?

I touched on this when I was talking about the difference between being polyamorous and dating. It will vary for every person, and there will obviously have to be a lot of openness in polyamorous relationships, but a lot of polyamorous people will say that sex is not the main part of it. It will probably be a part of the relationship(s), but many are looking for a deeper connection. There are also people who identify as polyamorous and asexual. They’re looking for deep connections with people but not sex.

I have trouble fitting one bae into my schedule, I cannot imagine having more than one…

Given our busy lives, that is one of the challenges of being in a polyamorous relationship. It can get even more complicated if you’re with another person who is in other polyamorous relationships. However, if people have feelings for each other, they will put the effort in and make things work. Some groups will find it easier to make schedules so everyone can see each of their partners regularly, but it will vary from person to person.

Can it really work considering there are bound to be feelings of jealously?

That depends on the people involved. Humans are jealous creatures by nature. Even if you think you’re not the jealous type, you might very well experience feelings of jealously if you’re in a polyamorous relationship. The difference is that polyamorous people are more open and try to work through their feelings in a positive, open way with their partners.

How do I know that a polyamorous relationship is for me?

Consider what you want out of a relationship. Do you want one person to love? Are you open to the idea of having multiple partners and your multiple partners potentially having multiple partners? One of the other draws of polyamory for some people is that they feel like they have a family and a support system so think hard about whether that’s something you want. At the end of the day, it’s what is best for you and what you want that will help you dictate the best kind of relationship/lifestyle for you.

Have you ever met someone who was in a polyamorous relationship? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Heather Cichowski, on Twitter.


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