Polyamory is a word that is recently has increased in its cultural exposure, yet still hold many misnomers and confusion. So, let’s break down the basics of understanding together in what polyamory is.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, Polyamory is: involving, having, or characterized by more than one open romantic relationship at a time.
This is a type of ethical non-monogamy and involves having relationships with multiple people in varied structures and agreements. These relationships are becoming increasing more common in our society, yet still are confronted with the idea that they are “doomed”, “messy”, or fail more often than monogamous relationships.
Structures of Polyamory
Poly relationships can be hierarchical or non-hierarchical in nature.
In the “hierarchy” aspect, it means that one relationship is prioritized over all others. For example, a couple might be in a married and this would be considered the “primary”, while all other relationships within their structure are “secondary”. According to one study completed in 2021, people in non- hierarchical polyamorous relationships experienced satisfaction equivalent with those who may chose a hierarchical.
Other poly structures include:
Vee (or “V”). This involves one person dating two other people who are not involved with or dating one another.
Triad. This type of relationship involves three people who are all dating another, also known as a “Throuple”.
Quad. This involves four people dating one another, similar to that of a triad with four individuals.
Polyfidelity. This structure involves partners in a group who agree to not having sexual or romantic relationships with other individual outside of their group.
The key in all instances of these relationships regardless of structure is, communication!
Talking with your partner(s) extensively about needs, boundaries, expectations, and feelings are all a step in the right direction toward beginning and maintaining a healthy and happy relationship.
There are many aspects to consider and understand when it involves polyamorous relationships, so it is always encouraged to do your homework. Like all relationships, they take work and are not a one size fits all when it comes to partnerships. While these are basics of polyamorous relationship structures, this does not mean that are a hard fast rule when it comes to yours. Ultimately, the decision is up to you to make the choice that is right for you and your partner(s).
If you are having thoughts or questions about entering this type of relationship and need further information or support, schedule and appointment with an affirming therapist to discuss in a safe and supportive environment.