Polyamory: What is a polyamorous relationship?

The term polyamory is currently on everyone’s lips: in the media, on dating apps and also among friends. In this article, we explain what a polyamorous relationship is all about.

Polyamory – what’s behind it

The term polyamory is a combination of the ancient Greek word “polys”, which means several or many, and the word “amor” from the Latin word “love”. Translated, it means as much as multiple love. And that’s exactly what the term is all about: the idea is that you don’t just have one partner, but several. In contrast to open relationships, it is about more than just sex: people have several romantic relationships at the same time. 

Polyamory is based on the belief that you can love more than one person romantically at the same time, just like you can love more than one child or friend at the same time. However, it is important that all partners know about each other and accept each other. So it’s not about cheating or second families, but about an open, ethical form of non-monogamous relationship in which no one is forced into this type of relationship. 

Polyamory can be found in every segment of society, but in recent years it has gained particular attention in big cities and in homosexual scenes. There are numerous events, bar scenes and their own dating apps to find other polyamorous partners. Nevertheless, in many places such relationships are still met with suspicion or scorn. 

This is what polyamorous relationships look like

Polyamorous relationships, like monogamous relationships , are unique. Sometimes it’s about a “throuple”, i.e. a threesome relationship in which all partners love each other. In other relationships, there is a primary partnership, which usually consists of two people, each of whom has other partners who are not related to the other primary partner. In such relationships, the primary partnership takes precedence over all other connections. Often this is a couple who, after a few years of monogamy, have decided to open the relationship. In other polyamorous partnerships, all partners have equal rights and may live together in a shared flat. 

However, you should note that a polyamorous relationship is just as much a relationship as a monogamous relationship. Just because multiple partners are involved doesn’t mean that everyday quarrels get thrown out or even breakups do n’t happen anymore. But even if a polyamorous relationship is harmful, this does not have to be due to the fact that several partners are involved – neither monogamy nor non-monogamy guarantee eternal happiness with partners, neither is better than one, and you can be in both become happy, but also unhappy. 

This is how polyamorous relationships work

First of all, the most important thing in polyamorous relationships is that everything is consensual. Polyamory has nothing to do with cheating : it’s about ethical, honest multiple relationships. So if your partner has cheated on you out of your monogamous relationship without discussing it with you, it is not polyamory. 

Good and open communication is therefore one of the cornerstones of functioning polyamorous relationships. Here it is important to find rules with which all partners are happy. Do you want to have a primary partnership or are all partners equal? Do you want to know when your partners enter into a new relationship, or should this be done privately? How should the communication between the respective partners look like? All these questions must be settled in advance and by mutual agreement so that there are no difficulties. Here you should clearly express your wishes so that you can continue to be happy in your love life. 

It is also essential to be responsible and safe when using contraception, as it is not just about your health, but that of all your partners. Contraception with barrier methods and regular medical examinations for STDs – at least twice a year – are therefore a must in polyamorous relationships. 

Last but not least, jealousy also occurs among polyamorous partners. This is normal. This is all about dealing with your feelings and communicating them instead of being ashamed or denying them. 

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