Poly 5: Greatness in Numbers
- Polyamory – the non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously. Polyamory emphasizes consciously choosing how many partners one wishes to be involved with rather than accepting social norms which dictate loving only one person at a time.
- Open Relationship – a relationship in which the partners decide that they can have sexual relations outside of the relationship. Partners have agreed that they can have sexual relations independently of each other.
- Swingers/Swinging – A form of sexual encounter that usually involves a couple including others into the bedroom. There is usually not an emotional attachment factored into this form.
These definitions are from More than Two, which is a site designed to help folks who want to begin exploring polyamory. It’s more comprehensive than my articles, and it also comes from the perspective of someone who is polyamorous. If you are interested in learning more than I’ve laid out here, please visit!
- Cloud – A group of folks who are socially linked through polyamorous relationship(s). Can comprise of one couple, or many. Can include casual play partners or not.
This definition is my own.
So far, I have explored how a polyamorous relationship can start, how it gets set up, logistics and how things can go wrong. I wanted to finish up the series on a happy note, so I thought my last article should be how polyamory can go well, and what that looks like.
More Opportunities for Connection
Ronnie talked about her experience with polyamory as an open door. Anyone can walk through that door and make another human connection. This is great for Ronnie, because she’s an extrovert, and having more places to connect with others is healthy. In addition, it helped her have emotional support when she needed it, because life is hard and support systems need to support you!
Ginny told me about that even though she doesn’t connect with others on an emotional level in her excursions away from Albus, she does connect physically. She often uses this freedom to have fun on a weekend, or just dance with someone new at a club. It’s exciting for her to have that freedom when Albus isn’t around.
And of course, Harry and Minerva have the largest cloud of all the folks I’ve interviewed (when defined by people connected to them and not people connected to their partners). Harry and Minerva both have secondary partners, as well as couples they play with. It’s not hard to assume that they are making some valuable emotional connections, and the physical ones probably bring new ideas and a freshness to their shared bedroom.
It’s easy to learn new things from humans that we meet every day, and that comes from connections. Within these relationships, connections are more open to development and so these folks might learn some new and unexpected things from their new partners.
More Opportunities to Explore
Again, Harry and Minerva both explore their lives in a physical way outside of their own bedroom, but there are other ways of doing this than taking up with a couple. Epiphora tells me about how opening her relationship allowed her to explore her own sexuality. When she was with her boyfriend in a monogamous relationship, she couldn’t be with folks with vulvas as well. But as she opened her relationship, she was able to find that part of her and explore it more fully.
Hermione also describes this in her relationship. The only rule is her relationship is that she’s allowed to date women and no men. Her boyfriend felt more comfortable this way, and she enjoys this because it opens her sexuality to folks she might have missed otherwise.
Compersion and Closeness
If you’re primarily monogamous, compersion is a word you probably haven’t heard before because it’s not common in a monogamous community. Loosely defined, it means “being happy at a partner’s happiness (specifically with another partner).” It stems from knowing that your partner’s needs are being met and they are having an adventure in a new way. I like to think it’s a feeling of knowing that you give your partner something. You partner, knowing your limits, asks for no more than that.
Every couple I interview mentioned being happy for their partner’s other relationships. This was a moment where they could support their partner’s choices, and show their acceptance and love. Epiphora mentioned that she felt closer to her boyfriend because of this factor: “It makes me feel like he truly wants me to be happy.” The others I interviewed also echoed this concept.
Luna described a very tough break up, which was made more complicated by her polyamorous status, but now her primary relationship is stronger than ever because they got through it together. Their relationship was tested by a third party, but they endured that and are now very happy. They could heal together, and though they will proceed more carefully, they are still happily polyamorous. Similarly, Hermione mentioned a break-up during her relationship as well, saying “It wasn’t as bad as a monogamous break-up because I had my boyfriend there to comfort me.”
Polyamory is a complicated style to be certain. I covered that in the last post, and the fact that I had to have a logistics post in this series confirms it. However, it’s not more complicated than a monogamous relationship by requirement. Things that go wrong in polyamory, often go wrong in monogamy. And in addition to this, there are more layers of support built into a polyamorous relationship.
This is the part five in a six-part series! Here are the rest!