Monogamy is the traditional format for a relationship between two people. This includes heterosexual and homosexual people. Pairing is simply the expected way of doing things, but this format is not ideal or preferred for many people. Given the high rate of divorces among monogamous people and the substantial number of divorces related to infidelity, some people who have tried to monogamous in their relationships have failed to do so successfully.
While monogamy does work well for many couples, others have adopted a non-monogamous lifestyle. Some of the non-monogamous configurations are polyamorous relationships, polygamous relationships, swinging and more.
For some, polyamory is a new concept that they are only starting to learn about. Others have been living in a polyamorous relationship with multiple people for years. This type of relationship configuration departs from the norm and offers individuals in polyamorous relationships with new experiences. However, there are some potential issues that could develop and that could disrupt the harmony and compatibility of these relationships. In addition, there are other types of non-monogamous relationships that also should be considered and explored.
Understanding the Polyamorous Configuration
Polyamory is a type of an open relationship, but it is a specific type of open relationship. This does not describe “sleeping around” openly without discretion. Instead of describing open promiscuity, it refers to individuals in a committed relationship also having romantic relationships with other people. Note that these are relationships rather than casual flings or one-night stands. Furthermore, all relationships are known to all parties in a polyamorous group. There is no secrecy or cheating.
In a general open relationship, two individuals who are otherwise committed to each other may openly date around or have flings. They may even bring someone else into the bedroom for a threesome. However, romantic feelings and long-term side relationships are not the norms. Instead, a general open relationship usually has one significant, romantic relationship and multiple one-night stands or purely sexual relationships with people on the side.
How a Polyamorous Configuration Is Different From Polygamy
Some people confuse polyamorous and polygamous configurations. However, these are very different concepts. You should understand that polygamy means that you have multiple marriages with different people or that you have marital-type relationships with multiple people. The Mormon religion is known for polygamy, and this type of relationship usually features one man with multiple sister-wives. They may all live together under one roof and raise children from the one man together.
A polyamorous relationship, on the other hand, means a relationship with many loves. There are many configurations for these relationships. For example, a primary couple may each have their own secondary romantic partner who they also spend time with. Another configuration is a threesome couple where all three individuals are romantically connected. Marriage does not necessarily enter the picture with these types relationships. With polygamy, the term most often refers to heterosexual relationships. A polyamorous configuration may include a combination of heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
A truly polyamorous configuration implies openness. All of the individuals in the romantic group are usually aware of each other, and they may have met on multiple occasions. In some cases, they may even all live in the same house. These are not secretive relationships, but the closeness of the various partners varies from relationship to relationship.
How a Swinger Is Different Than a Polyamorous Participant
Some people think that a swinger is in a polyamorous configuration, but this is not the case. Typical swingers are a committed couple exploring other sexual partners openly. In some cases, the couple may bring one other person, another couple or even multiple people into their sex life. This may be for one encounter or several, but the gatherings are purely sexual. In some cases, this type of sexual encounter is also called wife-swapping. This is when two couples switch sex partners for one or more experiences.
As swingers, the couple may have a primary goal of exploring their sexual fantasies or to live out their bisexuality in a way that is not considered to be cheating. With swingers, the couple usually has little or no contact with the other sex partners outside of the bedroom. Therefore, there is not a chance for romantic feelings to develop and to interfere with the couple’s relationship. Many swinger couples find that this type of configuration brings them closer. However, if jealousy develops, this configuration could potentially destroy the relationship.
The Benefits of a Polyamorous Configuration
While a polyamorous configuration is not suitable for everyone, it does offer substantial benefits for those who have chosen to practice it. While this configuration is considered to be an open type of relationship, it is closed in a way. For example, the individuals in the group sleep with each other based on their own unique relationships, but they typically do not bring others into the relationship unless they are starting a full relationship with them. With this in mind, concerns about introducing sexually transmitted diseases into the group may be substantially reduced.
Because this type of configuration is about loving relationships rather than purely sexual relationships, individuals can enjoy different types of relationships with their various partners. For example, a person may enjoy outdoorsy activities with one partner and attend musical events and concerts with the other partner based on their unique interests. This variety may extend into the bedroom as well. Each sexual partner may have different techniques and styles, and this creates variety and adds spice in the bedroom.
Some people may use these substantial differences between various relationships to grow as a person and even learn more about themselves. They may not have the opportunity to have so many unique experiences with a single partner.
Who Should Consider a Polyamorous Configuration
A polyamorous configuration offers many benefits, but this is a type of relationship that should not be rushed into. Individuals should do some soul-searching to determine if they have the right personality type to thrive in this type of relationship configuration or if another type of non-monogamous configuration is more beneficial. There may be times in a polyamorous configuration when one person only has one other partner for a period of time and when the other primary person in the relationship may have two or more other partners. For individuals who are jealous or who have a tendency to feel left out, a polyamorous setup can be difficult on an emotional level.
Jealousy may also arise in some people when others in the group are on dates, are sharing a romantic moment together or are behind closed doors. Keep in mind that some polyamorous relationships involve all partners in the group in a loving relationship with all other partners. Many polyamorous relationships, however, are more complex. There may be a core couple in the configuration, and multiple side relationships may spin off of this. Any time two or more individuals may pair off from others, there may be a human tendency in some people to feel jealous or left out.
A polyamorous configuration is well-suited for individuals who have trouble accepting the concept of monogamy or who know that a commitment to a single person is not right for them. These may be individuals who have tried monogamy in the past and have failed at it. These may also be individuals who easily get bored with one partner and who enjoy variety. Some people in polyamorous configurations simply want to love more than one person. They do not feel the need to limit their love to one individual.
What to Expect From a Non-Monogamous Relationship
For those who are thinking about transitioning from a monogamous relationship into a non-monogamous relationship, it is important to be open with your primary partner about your goals and desires for doing so. The primary partner ideally will be fully comfortable with the concept and open to the idea. Both individuals need to discuss what they are comfortable with and what limits they want to establish. For example, some couples are only comfortable with exploring sexual activities with other people and do not want their partner to develop a romantic relationship with someone else. In this case, swinging may be a better idea than a polyamorous relationship.
If the couple pursues a polyamorous configuration, the partners should be aware that side partners will not always be found within the same time period. While non-monogamy is a rather popular type of relationship, there may be some taboo about it. Because of this, it can be difficult to identify individuals who may be open to a polyamorous relationship and who there is a connection with. There may be weeks or even months when one partner has a side relationship and the other primary partner does not.
What Is Required to Make a Polyamorous Format Successful for All Individuals
In a truly polyamorous relationship, individuals must spend ample time nurturing each relationship. They also must allow each other person in the polyamorous configuration ample time to nurture their other relationships. While a polyamorous relationship has exceptional benefits, it can also take more time and effort to ensure that all relationships are healthy and that all members of the group are happy. In a monogamous relationship, two individuals must nurture their relationship. In a polyamorous relationship, each individual may have to nurture two or more relationships. This can be emotionally draining and even time-consuming for some people.
There must be understanding and leniency when two or more individuals have a disagreement, as is common in some relationships. Maturity, patience, and understanding are important traits for all partners in the configuration. Each relationship in the configuration is unique, and each partner must make a special effort to treat their various partners as individuals with different needs and desires.
Transitioning From a Monogamous to a Polyamorous Relationship
While some people will begin their adult lives knowing that they want a polyamorous relationship and will never explore monogamy. Others, however, will spend at least a few years or longer in a monogamous relationship. Some will move into a polyamorous configuration after ending a monogamous relationship. In some cases, the monogamous couple will decide together to open up their relationship to multiple partners.
Polyamory often may start as dating other people and having long-term romantic relationships. However, many of these relationships become more serious. As is the case with a monogamous relationship, some couples may decide to move in together. Because each relationship is unique, the couples in the configuration may reach this stage at different points or may never reach this point. This means that two or more people in the configuration may live together and others will not.
This can be difficult in some situations because one individual may share a home with two or more partners. The question of which person he or she should share a room with or spend the night with may be a point of contention. All members in this type of configuration should be open and flexible. However, they also should be honest about their unique needs and desires. In the event that agreements cannot be made that are suitable for all individuals, a relationship may need to end. Even though these are not marital relationships, these are romantic relationships with true feelings. The feelings may be intense and deep, and ending this type of relationship can be emotionally hard. However, despite going through this type of emotional distress, the individual may still have to focus on relationships with other partners.
Just as there are pros and cons associated with a monogamous relationship, there are also pros and cons associated with a polyamorous configuration. Remember that polyamorous relationships are varied and unique. More than that, because the partners in this type of configuration may change from time to time, polyamorous configurations are fluid. For individuals who are looking for something more than monogamy, a polyamorous configuration may be an excellent option to consider.
However, there are many variations of non-monogamous relationships available. For example, swinging, open relationships and polygamy are also options to consider. Each individual should be honest with himself or herself about personal needs and desires. Couples may need to explore their own desires as well as their partner’s needs and desires to find a suitable configuration that works well for both partners.