Queer Query: Three’s Company - A Brief Introduction to Polyamory

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What is polyamory? The word polyamory comes from the root words poly, meaning many, and amor, meaning love. A polyamorous relationship is a relationship that is composed of more than two people.

Polyamorous relationships come in many forms and dynamics. It can be between one male and multiple females, one female with multiple males, a mix of genders and individuals all dating one another, or anything in between. The dynamics in a polyamorous relationship differs from relationship to relationship.

In some cases, it could be one straight male with multiple straight women, a straight man with bi women, a lesbian woman with multiple females, or any combination one can think of. The dynamics for a polyamorous relationship can go many different ways depending on the orientations and genders of the people involved.

What’s the difference between polyamory, polygamy, and swingers? Polygamy is when one person is married to multiple people. It is not yet legal in America to be married to more than one person at a time. Being married to more than one person is known as bigamy and is illegal. A polyamorous couple may have a marriage ceremony or a commitment ceremony, but not get legally married. Some couples are okay with just that, and stay in a simply non-official status. “Swingers” are when a couple openly has sexual intimacy with people outside of their relationship.

How do you make a polyamorous relationship work? Having more than one partner has difficulties in itself. Making a monogamous relationship work depends on open communication and trust, and the same applies to non-monogamous relationships.

In a polyamorous relationship, you have more people that all need to work together to make the relationship work. Everyone involved in the relationship needs to put in effort. Everything that you need in a monogamous relationship, you absolutely need in a polyamorous relationship: trust, honesty, intimacy, communication, addressing issues such as jealousy, differences, and building through general issues with each other.

So, what do you do if you think you might be polyamorous? The only way to know if polyamory is for you is to try it. Experiment, and see if it works for you. The first relationship you get into may or may not work out, just like any relationship. If you develop jealousy, that’s something you need to work on. It is not uncommon for a polyamorous relationship to have jealousy in it, but if you have trouble sharing partners, polyamory may not be right for you.

There are many ways to get into a polyamorous relationship. Many turn to online dating, and websites like PolyMatchMaker and BeyondTwo cater to these communities. Check to see if there are local groups in one’s area specifically for polyamorous people. Or just ask someone, for one never knows if another would be willing to consider adding another person to their relationship. In conclusion, whichever path one takes – just like in any relationship – be safe and consensual.

Robin S.Y. is an arts and craft enthusiast, graphic artist, and origami champion. She is in a committed, polyamorous relationship, enjoys raw foods, and loves her husband dearly. For more information about polyamory, check out:

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