Polyamory – what does it mean and how does it work
Psychology today describes polyamory as a practice of having multiple intimate relationships, whether sexual or just romantic, with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved. Polyamory is non-gender and rejects the idea of exclusivity; anyone can have multiple partners of any gender.
It’s not the same as cheating
Polyamory is different from cheating. The main differentiating factor is mutual consent. Many couples are choosing to be in polyamorous relationships because they believe that it is not possible for one person to fulfill all one’s needs. This idea is antithetical to the idea of having a soul mate.
For those who choose polyamory, open and clear communication about the mutually agreed-upon ground rules is important. This is because we all have emotions like jealousy, insecurity, anger, betrayal, and possessiveness that can manifest when we have to share someone we love with another person.
Acceptance is yet to come
Many individuals who are in polyamorous relationships do tend to keep this a secret from friends and family as there is still a stigma attached to such relationships in the larger culture. However, more therapists are now helping individuals who choose this lifestyle to navigate, make choices and set boundaries that can help them achieve the most fulfilling outcome possible.
Some argue that polyamory forces one to confront one’s deepest insecurities and pushes one to overcome these emotions. Facing one’s jealous and possessive side and not allowing that side to control one’s reactions is not easy. One is forced to actually work through these feelings and overcome them. Proponents of successful polyamorous relationships say that it has helped them practice tolerance and understand unconditional love.
Polyamory does not work for all people. It is a conscious choice for individuals who are looking for unconventional love.