Dating and Relationship Advice

Polyamory, or "poly" for short, refers to romantic relationships that involve more than two people. While most of us are conditioned to believe that everyone has exactly one romantic soulmate, polyamory is predicated off the notion that this might not be the case. One person doesn’t always fulfill all our needs, which is why non-traditional lifestyles have gained so much traction in recent years.

There are many types of poly love structures, and consequently, many different terms to remember. Here are a few common ones: throuples (three people), quad (four people), paramour (additional member to a married party), or metamour (your partner’s partner with no connection to you).

Polyamorous relationships have gotten a bad rap for a while because of their unconventional nature. However, the public perception of being poly is quite different from the reality. Here are all the myths about polyamory that we’re here to break.

Myth 1: There is no cheating in polyamorous relationships

Some people who aren't faithful in monogamous relationships think that polyamory could be the cure for cheating. But generally, people who cheat on their partners don’t seek out multiple connections for the same reasons that a poly individual might. In most (not all) poly relationships, both parties know about their partner’s lovers. And if they don’t disclose that information, it’s still considered cheating, just like in monogamy. For poly people, infidelity occurs when there's dishonesty and manipulation.

Myth 2: Polyamory is all about the sex

Polyamorous relationships are not always filled with wild, partner-swapping orgies. Someone with more than one sexual partner doesn’t necessarily indulge in all of them at once!  Certain poly journeys can start with casual encounters, but that's not always the case. Rather than focusing on sex, most poly people are just looking for meaningful relationships that lead to a genuine connection. And no, being poly doesn’t always translate to being kinky.

Myth 3: Poly can’t work long term because humans are jealous by nature

Sharing isn’t easy, especially when it comes to the important stuff. Even though poly partners consensually engage in multiple relationships, they’re not perfect and certainly not above feelings of jealousy. However, the main difference between polyamorists and monogamists is how they react to that feeling of jealousy. Instead of feeling shame, they respond with an open curiosity and work through their feelings with communication and honesty.

Myth 4: More partners means more pressure

Some folks think that maintaining multiple relationships is a scheduling nightmare that will make their Google Calendar explode. But it can actually be an effective way to relieve that pressure. Relying entirely on one partner for everything in life can be a lot. Being poly comes with the assumption that if your partner isn’t up for something or can’t be present when you need support, someone else will be. It helps you meet your needs without harboring resentment for anyone.

Myth 5: Polyamorists just haven’t met “the one yet”

The media loves to throw around that “one true love” cliché, but anyone who knows the divorce rate understands how unrealistic that fantasy is. Happily ever after looks different for everybody, and only recently have we seen representations of romantic structures like the “throuple,” such as in the television show, You, Me Her. People need to understand you can love more than one person and be in a healthy relationship with all of them.

Polyamorous relationships aren’t necessarily more enlightened or emotionally healthier than monogamous ones. Individuals in polyamorous relationships, just like those in monogamous ones, are just trying to understand what makes them tick and what makes them happy.

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