We have been searching for “the one” or our “soul mate” all the time. With the one person we are intended to be with, we romanticize the idea of a happily ever after. In our culture’s art and media, as well as in everyone’s imaginations, this concept keeps coming up. No wonder it is so challenging for us to understand polyamory and the rules of a polyamorous relationship.

And with good reason. After all, monogamy has been at the core of our conceptions of love and connection across all social groups. However, with the help of an expert and this guide, we hope to make it simpler for you to navigate the turbulent waters of polyamory.

Relationship and intimacy coach Shivanya Yogmayaa, who specializes in various forms of couples counseling and is internationally certified in the therapeutic modalities of EFT, NLP, CBT, REBT, etc., spoke with us about all things polyamorous so that we could present to you a nuanced take on the subject and aid you in understanding the simplicity that is the foundation of this ostensibly complex concept.

Learn more about polyamorous relationships, their types, rules, and how they operate by reading this post.

What Is a Polyamory Relationship?

This nine-letter word combines the Greek poly, meaning many, and the Latin amore, meaning love. Contrarily, mono is singular and is the root of words like monogamy and monoamory. Poly helps us realize that being polyamorous must entail loving numerous people. We should include the word “consensual” in this definition, taking the lead from our expert, Shivanya, who placed a lot of stress on it. With everyone’s cooperation, polyamory is the relationship of having multiple romantic or intimate relationships going on at once.

Partners in polyamorous relationships are free to explore love beyond their current relationship. But is a polyamorous relationship an open one? While spouse-swapping, swinging, and unicorn dating are all examples of genuine relationships that fall under the category of ethical or consensual non-monogamy, it’s vital to emphasize that they are not the same as polyamory.

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We shouldn’t mistake polyamory for other types of partnerships involving several partners, asserts Shivanya. In contrast to open partnerships, where disclosing the identities of other partners is optional, polyamorous relationships must meet certain open-relationship characteristics as well as have elements of trust and transparency. Although it must be agreed upon, polyamorous partners may also decide to conceal the name of their partner’s companionship.

In addition, polyamory differs from these ideas since it frequently emphasizes love and closeness over purely sexual matters. According to Shivanya, sex may or may not even be on the agenda in a polyamorous relationship. Some platonic polyamorous partners just need one another for emotional support.

It’s important to remember that polyamory is not a broken relationship in which partners are forced to tolerate their partner’s affair reluctantly. Relationships with several partners are happily consensual and at the parties’ discretion. Because of their shared desire for happiness, they are both happy.

How Do Polyamorous Relationships Rules Work?

This is a fantastic opportunity to introduce the concept of “competition.” Compersion is the capacity to experience delight when your spouse does, even if you aren’t necessarily the cause of that happiness. Additionally, it has appeared to experts to be the foundation of polyamory. Polyamorists acknowledge that it is difficult for a single individual to meet all of a person’s requirements and therefore view monogamy as a constrictive idea.

More love equals more people. And seeing your partner smile more should only make you happier still. However, it should be noted that compassion need not be felt regularly or even at all. In the polyamory community, jealousy is not shamed. When partners express their feelings and wants, they are heard and cared for in a healthy, non-judgmental way. It is a deliberate practice to deal with jealousy in a polyamorous relationship positively and sympathetically.

You’ll need an endless supply of a few things for a notion that incorporates the blending of a bunch of people’s emotions, love, uncertainties, and worries. They are constant, often exhausting communication; trust; honesty; maturity; transparency; and a lot of communication to enable the relationship to not only survive but also thrive.

Shivanya advises in her important polyamorous relationship advice: “Consent, continuing and open communication, and clearly defined rules are the three most critical elements to make polyamorous relationships successful.”

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Depending on the number of partners, how they interact with one another, and where each member sits within the group, polyamorous relationships can take on a variety of different structural forms. Shivanya names a handful of the numerous potential structures.

  • The triad, or triple, is a relationship between three people, though not always with one another. A guy, his female partner, and her female partner are also a triad, says Shivanya.
  • The quad: A relationship between two polyamorous couples
  • Each person is aware of the other partner’s relationships but is not overly invested in those relationships in parallel polyamory.
  • The polycule is an interconnected relationship of individuals involved in many relationships.

Shivanya goes on to discuss modern polyamory in its most widespread form. The majority of polyamorous people today, according to her, do not feel the need to share residences or to meld their identities, lifestyles, or duties with the other partner. They get together for love, even though they all recognize that they are polyamorous and generally lead solitary lives. People don’t emphasize one relationship over another in non-hierarchical polyamory.

Most Vital Polyamorous Relationship Rules

Even polyamorous relationships must abide by specific rules. The rules, however, differ for married couples. Here are some rules that polyamorous partners frequently follow in their relationships.

A polyamorous relationship cannot work without your partner’s approval. Your spouse must accept this arrangement. Cheating is any action taken without their permission.

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#2. Clearly state your goals.

You and your partner need to be clear about what you want from the relationship and how much you are willing to offer before experimenting with polyamory. Do your other relationships merely include a physical component, or will there be more involved? You and your partner must be upfront about your needs and relationship goals.

#3. Always use protection

You and your partner are at risk for STDs when you continue to have sex with several people. Unplanned pregnancy is another risk. So no matter who you are getting intimate with, utilizing protection is a necessity.

#4. Establish definite boundaries.

Your partner and you may become envious if you have two or more lovers. Make it plain to your partner how much information you and they are interested in having to prevent this. You can use a code word to let the other person know you will be meeting with them. You don’t need to go into specifics about your interactions with the secondary partner because doing so could make you feel insecure.

#5. Concentrate on your partner.

Having relationships with other individuals does not permit you to ignore your partner. It’s also crucial to keep your relationship with your partner intact. As you would in a typical relationship, you need to make time for them and show them that you care about them.


#6. Keep your partners at a distance from one another.

There will be times when you’ll want to know more about your companion. Even if you find out about them, it’s wise to hold off on casting judgment or making unwelcome remarks. In a polyamorous relationship, maintaining distance from your partner’s personal life is crucial.

#7. Do not push yourself to see another person.

You may not mind if your partner has other close relationships, but it does not mean you have to engage in your fair share of extramarital affairs as well. Avoid attempting to outdo your companion. Stay away from it if you don’t want it for yourself.

#8. Communicate clearly

You must tell your partner if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsatisfied in your polyamorous relationship. Make sure that you and your partner have honest and open communication. You should not be reluctant to communicate your affections to one another.

#9. Do not personalize situations.

Although you might have agreed to polyamory to appease your partner, please do not assume that their participation results from any shortcomings on your side. In reality, it usually has little to do with you and everything to do with how your partner chooses to live their life. Therefore, do not take it personally if your partner does not support monogamy.

How long does the average polyamorous relationship last?

seven years
According to a poll of 340 polyamorous people, polyamorous relationships typically continue for eight years. A primary committed pair with each member free to pursue other relationships makes up the most common polyam situation.

Is a polyamorous relationship healthy?

Like any other monogamous or non-monogamous relationship, polyamorous couples can be happy, healthy unions. Polyamorous relationships might occasionally call for greater honesty, care, and communication when they involve numerous people.

Can you cheat in a polyamorous relationship?

It’s a common misperception that polyamorous folks can’t cheat. By disobeying established rules regarding dating others, such as not alerting their spouses when they have sex with other individuals, a polyamorous person might cheat on their lovers.

Why do most poly relationships fail?

Inconsistency over time might result in emotions of abandonment and the breakdown of a relationship. A relationship must be nurtured with quality, meaningful, purposeful, intentional, and focused time to succeed. Time-related broken promises appear to be the most challenging aspect of polyamorous partnerships.

What is the point of being poly?

The goal of polyamory is not concealment but honesty, transparency, cooperation, and love sharing. Most poly persons agree with their partners to uphold some limits — things they will or will not do — and to be open about their romantic relationships.

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There are no universally applicable polyamorous relationship rules. Every pair has its own set of polyamory rules. And adhering to these rules is crucial if you want a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship. People who don’t believe in monogamy and require several connections to be happy are the most outstanding candidates for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cheating in a polyamorous relationship?

By disobeying established rules regarding dating others, such as not alerting their spouses when they have sex with other individuals, a polyamorous person might cheat on their lovers.

What boundaries do you set in a poly relationship?

There are limits.

  • Be secure in your relationship before you open the door, and make sure everyone is OK with opening up the connection.
  • Communicate, and when you do, be dependable, truthful, and forthright.
  • Respect each other’s personal space and partner preferences.
  • Make time for just the two of you.

How long do polyamorous relationships last?

Eight years

A survey of 340 polyamorous adults reveals that, on average, these partnerships persist for eight years. A primary committed pair with each member free to pursue other relationships makes up the most common polyam relationship.

Can polyamorous couples legally marry?

According to a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine unmarried American people has used polyamory. In terms of the law, polyamorous people are prohibited from marrying all of their partners: In all of America, being married to more than one person at once is against the law.

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