Simply put, the word “polyamory” translates to many loves. Someone who identifies as or describes themself as Polyamorous is communicating that they desire, seek out, and maintain romantic relationships with more than one partner at the same time. Polyamorous relationships are considered one form of Open Relationships, also referred to as Consensual Non-Monogamy, which means that all parties involved are aware of and have informed consent for the relationship structure.
Open Relationships or Consensual Non-Monogamy are considered umbrella terms for the variety of non-normative or non-traditional relationship dynamics that exist. See below for a helpful visual:
When discussing Polyamory specifically, there are often misconceptions about it’s meaning and practice. Examples?
Polyamory is NOT Polygamy. Polygamy refers to having more than one spouse at the same time. Currently, this is considered illegal in the United States.
Polyamory is NOT "just dating around". People who are polyamorous form loving, committed relationships with people, where there is an on-going investment.
Polyamory is NOT all about sex. While sex can and is often part of the relationship dynamic, there is also a strong emphasis on romantic attraction and emotional intimacy. In contrast, people who identity in the Lifestyle or engage in Swinging tend to prioritize sexual non-monogamy while remaining emotionally and romantically exclusive.
When I hear someone question, “Am I Polyamorous?”, my first encouragement is to Start with Self. Reflect on your past relationship experiences. Think about your experience of falling in love, or what you anticipate falling in love looks and feels like for you. Imagine yourself having multiple, committed partnerships… Does this sound exciting or overwhelming?
If you are looking to explore the different facets of your identity and gain clarity on your Desires, Wants, and Needs for your relationships, apply for Open Source, A new Non-Monogamy Support Group, and join the 6-week Insight Series to strengthen understanding of yourself. CLICK HERE for the application.
Or, if a group setting feels intimidating, seek out an Individual therapist who specializes in Consensual Non-Monogamy, such as myself, or other clinicians listed on the Polyamory Friendly Professionals Directory for your state.
To schedule a free Initial Phone Consultation with me, send an email to Amanda@livingstorytherapy.com or by clicking the Get Connected button above.