What is polyamory?

1For those visiting my blog to learn more about polyamory, I thought I’d start at square one and give an explanation as to what it actually is. Sure, you could just read the Wikipedia page (and honestly, it gives a pretty good rundown). But I’m hoping that coming from the mouth (keyboard?) of someone in an established poly relationship, you’ll find a bit more substance in my description.

So let’s start with my personal definition, which actually doesn’t sound that different to the Wikipedia introduction.

Polyamory is the practice or ability to be romantically involved with more than one person at a time, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

You may notice the main difference between my definition and the Wikipedia definition is that I substituted the word “intimately” with “romantically”. There is a reason I did that, and not just so it would look less like I copy-pasted it. To me, intimacy is something you can experience with a person you are not in love with, like for example, with a sex buddy. When I say romantically, what I really mean is love, like anyone would feel for their partner.

The reason this change is so important is because polyamory is based on love. Not that there’s anything wrong swinging (sexual encounters outside your relationship with your partner’s consent). It’s just that I wouldn’t call it polyamory. I see it as a ‘cousin’ to polyamory in the big non-monogamy family tree.

Going with this metaphor, cheating would be the bratty little nephew who breaks other kids’ toys and spits on grandma. Which brings me to the second part of my definition, “with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved”. Take note of the word and here. It wouldn’t be polyamory without both of these elements. Polyamorists pride themselves on having good communication in their relationships. That begins with absolute transparency about who/when/where you’re dating/sleeping with/making life plans with.

So to recap, love and knowledge/consent are the two key aspects of most, if not all poly relationships. Because polyamorous relationships (and indeed human beings) are so varied, the boundaries, rules, expectancies, levels of compromise etc. etc. will be different in every group. For this reason I don’t expand my definition past those two elements, so as to encompass all the different styles of poly love out there.

There might be other terms like ‘vee’ or ‘compersion’ that you’ve seen floating around but have no idea what they are. Never fear! My next post will be a glossary of all the polyamory related terms (that I can think of).

‘Till next time!