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Everything You Should Know About Polyamory

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Polyamory is the practice of having multiple romantic partners with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Raveendran S R

Published At September 23, 2022
Reviewed AtSeptember 23, 2022


Having several romantic or sexual relationships and partners simultaneously is called polyamory. The term is derived from the Greek word poly, meaning “many,” and the Latin word "amor," meaning “love.” Polyamory is also known as consensual nonmonogamy, ethical nonmonogamy, and responsible nonmonogamy. Although these terms are used interchangeably, they may have different meanings depending on the context. Polyamory is a relationship style that involves multiple partners with the consent of all involved.

What Is Nonmonogamy?

Nonmonogamy is a type of relationship in which all partners are allowed to have romantic or sexual relationships with other people. It is different from monogamy, which is when only one person is allowed to have romantic or sexual relationships with other people. Nonmonogamous relationships are an alternative to monogamy that can be deeply fulfilling for many people. Nonmonogamous relationships may have fewer rules than monogamous ones, but that does not mean they do not need boundaries.

Some of the types of nonmonogamy are:

  • Swinging: The practice of having sex with people other than one’s partner, typically in a group setting such as a swinger’s club or party.
  • Polyamory: Having multiple romantic partners simultaneously and consensually, often with everyone involved knowing about one another. This differs from polygamy because polyamorous individuals do not engage in marriage-like relationships with each other.
  • Open Relationship: A type of nonmonogamous relationship where partners agree to have sexual relations outside their primary relationship; however, they generally remain emotionally monogamous and consider themselves committed to one another. Some couples will open up after years together while others gradually transition into this type of arrangement.
  • Relationship Anarchy: Also known as consensual nonmonogamy (CNM). This refers to a type of relationship that is not monogamous but does involve consent between all parties involved, including third parties who might join you for sex or romance on occasion.

How Does Jealousy Affect Polyamorous Relationships?

Jealousy may result from feeling insecure about yourself or your relationship with your partners. While it is normal to feel jealous at times, especially when you think your partner is not giving you their full attention or time.

Consent is essential in polyamorous relationships. Consent is not just legal; it is about ensuring everyone involved is on board with what is happening. Consent is not only about sex, boundaries, or even saying no; it can also mean asking for things that may seem outwardly strange or out of the ordinary as long as everyone is comfortable with what is happening in their relationships.

How Do Polyamorous Relationships Work?

Polyamory is a positive, healthy way to live. It is not cheating or lying: polyamorous people are honest with their partners about their feelings and behaviors but are not trying to hide anything. Polyamory is a valid alternative lifestyle that many people choose because it works for them. Polyamory is many spectacular things. However, as with any relationship style, it is not for everyone, and many different kinds of polyamorous relationships exist. It is not just about sex. It is about love and respect. Not every poly person will have multiple partners at once- sometimes, they will be monogamous with one partner while having multiple other relationships on the side. Sometimes they will be in an open relationship and only date others when their primary partner knows about it and approves of it (this is called monogamy within nonmonogamy). Polyamory is not free for all; where you can cheat on your partner whenever you want. Polyamory requires honesty and respect from all parties involved. However, if someone is cheating on another person in a committed relationship, in that case, it can be challenging for all parties involved and emotionally damaging, so patience will be the key here.

How to Explore Polyamory?

You should set boundaries and rules for your nonmonogamous relationship- even if you think you will never break them. Your boundaries and rules keep the peace, protect each other’s feelings, and help everyone feel safe. Once boundaries are established, be prepared for jealousy. Everyone is subject to feelings of envy at some point in their lives, regardless of what type of relationship they are in.

It is important to keep in mind that just because your partner is not practicing monogamy does not mean they are going out looking for new sexual partners all the time, either. They may simply explore their sexuality in a way that works for them and feels good. Be certain that you and your partner agree on how much time and energy you want to devote to this kind of relationship. You may find it helpful to sit down with your partner and have an honest conversation about what each of you needs from their relationship. If your partner is not monogamous, it is also important to know that you can get STIs (sexually transmitted diseases) like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia from them if they are having sex with other people.


Polyamory may not be right for everyone. But it can work well for some people. And if you want to explore this option, you should know that some benefits come along with the challenges. You will better understand how your emotions and directions affect your relationships and how you relate to the world in general. In addition, polyamorous relationships open you up to new ways of thinking about love and the possible connections between two or more people who care about one another. If this sounds like something worth exploring for yourself- or if you just want to learn more about what other people have experienced - you will have to look before finding plenty of resources on polyamory.

Dr. Raveendran S R
Dr. Raveendran S R



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