Polyamory 101: What Is It and Is It Right for You?

These days it can feel like anything goes when it comes to love, and you wouldn’t be too far wrong in thinking so. The more comfortable people become with their sexuality and the more they question the status quo, the more open they become to doing things differently than their friends do, or than their parents did before them.

Polyamory is one increasingly popular approach to dating, sex, and relationships. However, while many people are intrigued, they don’t necessarily know exactly what it is. So, what is polyamory? How can you know whether a polyamorous lifestyle is right for you and what would it mean for your sex life?

Polyamory: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Just as every monogamous person has their approach to relationships and sex, so does every polyamorous person. That said, no two are going to define polyamory the same way. However, the basic principles are going to remain the same. Generally speaking, polyamory is defined as having sexual, romantic, or otherwise intimate relationships simultaneously with multiple partners.

As with monogamous people, some polyamorous folks are very serious about the relationships they have. Others adopt a more casual approach. Still, more people may have a serious, loving relationship with one or two primary partners but more casual connections with others.

Polyamory is not the same as polygamy – the state of being married to more than one partner. You also don’t necessarily have to be commitment-oriented to be polyamorous or to adopt a poly-like approach to your love life. For instance, many people these days describe themselves as “solo poly”, meaning they may have relationships without necessarily seeing themselves as part of a couple, a triad, and so forth.

Is Polyamory Right for You?

If you have a history of experiencing “feelings” for more than one person at a time or find monogamy stifling in general, then the chances are pretty good you’ve at least wondered whether you’re polyamorous. The following are some signs that it might be something worth taking for a spin in the future.

Traditional Relationships Don’t Make Sense to You

Lots of people know what it’s like to be deeply in love and to want to be with that person indefinitely. However, they don’t understand why they have to limit themselves to just one person at a time. They don’t see being in multiple sexual or romantic relationships at a time as a bad thing and it’s hard for them to understand what others find so upsetting about the idea. Polyamorous people often describe themselves as people with a lot of love to give who don’t feel natural limiting themselves to just one way to express that love.

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You Know What You Want and Need

The built-in expectations that come with most traditional relationships may seem limiting at times, but they also give people something to fall back on. You more or less know what to expect and can assume your partner does too. People who are great fits for poly relationships don’t want others assuming anything when it comes to their needs. They already know what they’re looking for and they’re comfortable communicating their needs and desires to a partner.

You’re Super Secure When in a Relationship

As wonderful as poly relationships can be, you need to be wired a certain way for them to work for you. You can’t be the jealous type or the sort that needs things to be just so before you can feel secure in your relationships. People who are happiest living a poly lifestyle like the feeling that comes with knowing they’re free to make their relationships whatever they’d like them to be.

Is Poly Right for Your Relationship?

It’s not uncommon for couples who are committed to one another to consider opening that relationship up or adapting to a polyamorous lifestyle. There are lots of reasons why a couple might decide to do this, but not all of them are good or healthy. Ask yourself and your partner the following questions about your relationship before thinking more seriously about making the switch to poly yourselves.

  • Is this something you both want for your relationship? Both people need to be equally excited about going poly to make it work.
  • How do you each feel about meeting and getting to know each other’s partners? It’s generally a good idea for everyone to know each other and be on good terms.
  • Are you both willing to agree to try poly on a trial basis first to make sure it works as well in practice as it sounds on paper?
  • Are you both willing, ready, and able to be responsible for safe sex, sexual boundaries, any sexual ground rules you decide to set, and so forth?

Relationships that transition well to a polyamorous lifestyle involve two people who are emotionally intelligent, sexually evolved, and mature in every way. Do you and your partner make the grade?

Matt Manes

Matt Manes

I am the original creator of the Mixxxer hookup app which became one of the most popular hookup services on the web.

Over the years, I've observed and learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't when it comes to dating and hooking up online.

While most guys learn through trial and error, I learned through analyzing the data from the millions of Mixxxer members we catered too.