Polyamory and the Ethics of Open Relationships

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You’ve likely heard the term used before, but what exactly is polyamory?

Quite simply, polyamory is the practice of engaging in loving relationships with more than one person at a time. These are oftentimes intimate and sexual relationships, where those involved have complete knowledge and consent of the particulars of their non-monogamous relationship.

Consent from everyone involved is key—it’s what separates ethical open relationships from what feels like cheating or unfaithful behavior.

Why Polyamory?

The sexual revolution of the ’60s sparked some very prolific realizations in terms of relationships and love. People began to question the merits of traditional marriages, as non-monogamous endeavors started to become realistic and more accepted.

But what fueled this important new wave of open relationships?

Simply put, poly people realize that love is an infinite resource. Love doesn’t have to be confined to the popular notion that one person must invest everything they have and all of their love into one other person.

When a person is able to unlock the potentials of this new concept of love, it can help accentuate self-love and a better understanding of oneself.

Communication is Key

Polyamorous relationships aren’t always easy. They require intricate levels of balanced communication.

As in any form of relationship, clear communication between partners should be at the forefront of every relationship obstacle.

The emotion of jealousy is also something that may be difficult to overcome within polyamory, especially at first. Alleviating jealous tendencies and understanding jealousy and insecurities takes a lot of work, no matter what a relationship looks like. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

Approaching jealousy head-on is a great approach. Start by analyzing what the true source of jealousy is and work from there, all while keeping an open dialogue with partners.

Rather than reacting immediately to jealousy in a way that is standoffish or taking an offended or hurtful path, talk through the emotion. Ask questions and speak your mind. And most importantly don’t remain passive when you feel jealous: it will happen and that’s okay!

Poly relationships are complicated at first and require a lot of self-education in order to be healthy and project happiness in a unique way. But if you crave infinite levels of love and sexuality, it’s all worth it in the long run.

For more in depth information about opening up your ideologies on relationships I recommend two books that were enlightening to me: More than Two and The Ethical Slut. These books are resources that are healthy starting points, which answer many corollary questions both simple and intricate. Also, check out this Care2 article titled Marriage Beyond Monogamy.

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