I am polyamorous. Broken down this word means multiple loves, but the saying goes; ask 5 people the definition of poly and you will get 6 answers.
I choose to be poly because I simply do not believe in monogamy. I do not believe that out of the billions and billions of people in this world there is only one perfect person to me. Even if their was the chances of finding that person are slim, and so a lot of people settle for the next best thing. Also, how do they know that the person they found is, “the one”. It’s not like they stood in front of a line of people, took applications and weeded everyone down to the perfect person. I believe, by nature, humans aren’t meant to only have sex/be intimate with just one person for the rest of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against monogamous people. It’s just not for me and I view it as unnatural.
Now, I have encountered people who believe being poly means you are allowed to be with whoever you want. Make no mistake, polyamory takes as much hard work, communication, trust and dedication as monogamy, sometimes more. As I mentioned there are several ways to “do” poly. Here are a few.
Monopoly (Mono/Poly)-This is when one partner is mono and the other is poly. These types of relationships can be difficult and in reality really work best if the Mono person is completely okay with it. “I am set with just you, but it’s cool if you see others” works better than “I can see others, but you’re not allowed to see anyone but me”.
Polyfidelity (closed families)-These are a group of usually 3-6 people who are all involved with each other and share things such as finances and house hold responsibilities. They are a closed system and sex is only allowed within the family.
Primary/Secondary-A lot of people disagree with the terms, “primary” and “secondary”. They feel it is demeaning and saying one person is more important than the other. I disagree. While I am poly, I do want to get married someday. My “primary” will be the person I marry. Someone who is a secondary, for me, is (as my friend calls them) an “intimate friend”. They are someone who I have some emotional involvement with, but we both agree it won’t get more serious than that.
Open Relationship-When a couple agrees it’s okay to be involved with others. Maybe seriously, maybe for a fling. Each couple has their own rules for “approving” what is okay. Some may need to ask every time a new interest comes along, some may only need permission for the night.
Vee(V)-Sue and Kate are both dating Tim, but are not involved with each other.
Triangle-Tony dates Amy and Sarah who are married to each other. Everyone is involved with each other and and equally bonded.
Important thing to remember about polyamory are:
1. It is NOT the same as polygamy (polygyny/ polyandry). This is when a man has multiple wives or a woman has multiple husbands. This is illegal in most places and does not always boast the same communication and trust as polyamory. Having a concubine of women does not mean everyone is on the same page.
2. Poly does not equal cheating and/or being promiscuous. Assuming because someone is sleeping around because they are poly is sadly a common judgment amongst those who do not understand. People believe that being poly is an excuse not to commit and be able to sleep with who you want. This could not be further from the truth. A poly relationship takes a lot of trust, communication, love and support. Many poly couples have lengthy discussions (and sometimes contracts) written out that go over what is okay and what is not. If someone who is poly sleeps with another person without discussing it with their partner or following the rules of the relationship, then they are cheating and setting a bad example of poly people.
3. COMMUNICATION!! This is probably the most important part of a poly relationship. Depending on your web, relationships can get complicated. It is important that everyone is on the same page and are able to communicate openly.
I could probably write 8 more paragraphs on the forms and opinions of polyamory, but I will end here. There are many great resources if you wish to learn more about polyamory. I highly recommend:
http://www.polyamory.org/: Lot’s of great information on this site!
-The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt: This is pretty much the poly bible.