• Sarah M. Neal

Why Doesn't Mine Look Like Yours: A Look Into Why No Two Polyamorous Relationships Are Alike

We all have needs and desires. There may be some commonalities between us, however we all have a uniqueness about us. Just as we each have our individuality, so do our relationships. Each relationship is formed of individuals and as such no two are exactly the same.


Often I hear the question, “Is it polyamory if…”


People often wonder if their set of circumstances qualify as polyamorous. The questions vary:


· “What if I don’t get along with my metamour?

· “If I am in a sexual relationship?”

· “If I am only involved with one person even though I identify with polyamory?”

· “If I am living with my partner(s)?”

· “If all of my relationships are open?”

· “If only one person in this relationship is dating someone else?”


The short answer: “YES!”


The extended answer: “No two polyamorous relationships are the same.”


There are no set rules that say what your relationship(s) must look like in order to be deemed “polyamorous”. The basic “guidelines” state that MOST polyamorous relationships are about not limiting yourself to one partner and the difference between polyamorous versus swinging relationships are that polyamorous relationships have an emotional connection where swinging relationships are more about adding others into your bedroom for sexual purposes and limiting emotional connection.


We all have needs and desires. There may be some commonalities between us, however we all have a uniqueness about us. Just as we each have our individuality, so do our relationships. Each relationship is formed of individuals and as such no two are exactly the same.


What we need to remember is that in ALL of our relationships, romantic or not, there is no wrong way to navigate through our relationships as long as we are in line with our core values. This goes for how we treat those with whom we have relationships as well as how we allow ourselves to be treated.


If respect and honesty are two of our core values yet we are disrespectful to and dishonest with our partners, or vice versa, then the relationship is likely unhealthy.


The real trick is being honest with ourselves. Are we really in relationships that are in line with our core values or are we just pretending they are? Are our lives, the way we treat others and allow ourselves to be treated REALLY in line with our core values or are we just pretending?


This is not an easy question to ask ourselves and it is even more difficult to answer honestly.


What I love about polyamory is that I don’t feel the need to hide. I don’t need to hide that I find someone else attractive. I don’t need to hide when I find meaningful connections with people other than my partner or with someone I want to keep strictly as a friend. Knowing that I have the freedom to develop meaningful relationships that may or may not be sexual with anyone I feel drawn to as long as I am doing so in line with my core values.


This does not mean that my relationships must look like anyone else’s.


This does not mean that I have to like all, if any, of my metamours. It does mean that I have to work to be respectful towards them because respect is one of my core values. But you don’t have to like someone to be respectful towards them.


This does not mean that because Freyr doesn’t want to be involved in any other romantic relationships for a while that I have to give up my romantic relationships. At the same time, just because I have a long-term, meaningful relationship with Tyler does not mean that Freyr can only be involved in long-term, meaningful relationships. We do, however, have to be honest with each other and our partners about the relationships we are in because honesty is part of our core values.


This also does not mean that because I identify as polyamorous that Tyler has to as well. He doesn’t identify as polyamorous. He identifies as monogamous. However, because I identify as polyamorous and have a husband as well as the freedom to have other relationships, we are in a polyamorous relationship. Once again, it does mean that I must remain honest because that keeps me in line with my core values.


The key to being “polyamorous” isn’t that your relationship(s) fit into some specific boxes that the Powers That Be within the Greater Polyamorous Community dictate they must in order to be “polyamorous”. At the end of the day, the key to being “polyamorous” is that you live a life where you can have multiple partners (sexual or not) and that all your partners know about each other and consent to it.


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