In a world where monogamy is usually the preference, and many times the law, it can be challenging to understand how polyamory works. However, here at Pride Palace, we work hard to spread knowledge about the different identities within the LGBTQ+ community.
We believe that everyone deserves love and acceptance, which can only come from understanding and empathy. That's why we’re excited to share with you some of the things that polyamorous people want everyone to know about their identity and lifestyle.
Polyamory Is Hard to Define
When broken down, “poly” means many, and “amory” means love, so in the simplest terms, polyamory means “many loves.” That seems pretty easy to understand, right?
However, the word encompasses a lot more than you would think. Polyamory is not sexual orientation. Being polyamorous has no impact on whether you are attracted to people who are the same gender as you or not.
Like bisexuality or pansexuality, polyamory influences who you are capable of being romantically attracted to. Basically, polyamory is falling in love with multiple people at once.
But that’s not all. Depending on who you ask, polyamory can mean different things. Some people see it as having one main partner and other partners who are secondary. Other people think of polyamory as a concept where you feel the same way about all of your partners.
Some polyamorous relationships include everyone, meaning that all three (or more) people are in love with each other. However, that's not the only way polyamory can work.
Other relationships feature one person in two separate relationships with two people who are not attracted to each other. For example, Person A might be with Persons B and C, but Persons B and C are not together. See how it can get complicated?
It Doesn't Mean You Love A Partner Any Less
It's crucial to remember that polyamory is not cheating. One of the biggest challenges that polyamorous people face is the accusation of being a cheater. Don’t fall into that trap!
You and all of your partners must all be aware of the other partners. There is no cheating when there is consent from all sides.
Plenty of polyamorous individuals have noticed that their loved ones worry about them and their relationships, thinking that since the boyfriend or girlfriend is also involved with another person, it might be a toxic relationship.
They might try to convince them to end the affair, which is why polyamorous people want everyone to know that it isn't cheating or an affair. Plenty of people can fall in love with two or more people at the same time without loving their partner any less.
Remember, love isn't a finite resource. There’s plenty of love to go around.
It Doesn't Mean You Have Commitment Issues
Polyamory isn’t about commitment issues either. Polyamorous people may not be allowed to get married to more than one partner in many locales, but plenty of them do get married.
Being polyamorous doesn't mean that someone is incapable of choosing someone or settling down. It is not a commitment issue or fear of being faithful to one person by any means. Many polyamorous people are actually committed to both of their partners.
It Isn't A Judgement on Monogamy
This one is pretty vital. For some reason, quite a few monogamous people see polyamory as an attack or insult to monogamy. But there is no right way to love other people.
Some people think that polyamorous people are somehow snubbing monogamy or declaring polyamory to be superior and more natural. It is true that most of the primates closely related to humans practice various forms of polyamory, but that’s neither here nor there.
Polyamorous people aren't here to preach about your relationship choices; they just want to be respected for their own choices.
Not Everything Is About Sex
Just because you are polyamorous doesn't mean being involved in orgies. Many people who aren't polyamorous themselves often get this part wrong. They see it as a way to “sleep around” with everyone you want without facing any consequences in your primary relationship.
There are plenty of polyamorous folks who only have sex with one person at a time. This is where the difference between a polyamorous relationship and an open relationship is particularly obvious.
An open relationship is where someone has casual sex with other people with their primary partner’s knowledge. Polyamory is more about the emotional connection.
If you have romantic feelings for two people but only choose to have sex with one, that is polyamory. If you have sex with both of them on different nights of the week, that is polyamory. If you have sex with both of them at the same time, that is polyamory. You get the picture!
Jealousy Does Happen
Like all types of relationships, polyamorous relationships require work. No one can have a successful relationship unless they are willing to put in the effort. That means to communicate, spend time with them, and demonstrate affection. That doesn't just apply to romantic relationships either!
So, suppose someone in a polyamorous relationship stops putting in the work with one of their partners. In that case, that partner has every right to be jealous or upset that their needs and desires aren't being respected or prioritized. No relationship is perfect. Jealousy can and does happen.
Plenty of people who have been in polyamorous relationships for years still deal with feelings of jealousy. They often look for the cause of the jealousy or anxiety to understand where it is coming from. Plenty of them find that the feelings aren't actually related to polyamory.
Some people don't enjoy being alone. Others worry about measuring up to other potential partners or that their current partner will lose interest in them. These are all issues that can be solved while still maintaining a polyamorous relationship.
Time Management Is Important
Time management is important for any type of relationship, and polyamory can make that complicated. If you feel the same way about all of your partners, it might be challenging to make time for them in a way that evenly divides your time.
Everyone has to feel confident that their partners will respect their feelings and opinions. As long as everyone is comfortable, it is totally fine. If someone wants a change in the relationship, they will need to speak up about it, so all partners can reach a satisfactory compromise.
Polyamory might seem like a foreign concept for many, but it isn't that different than monogamy. It is still a demonstration of love, even if that love is directed at more than one person. It still means you want to spread the love!
If you are polyamorous and you want the world to know just how much love is in your heart, check out our polyamory flags. But most importantly, be proud of who you are, and love others for who they want to be!