Jumping into ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is easier than ever before. With the emergence of popular poly dating apps, more people are coloring outside the lines of traditional relationship styles and figuring out what works for them.
Lifestyles like swinging and friends-with-benefits are typically more casual, whereas polyamory is all about ~love~. Sex is usually a part of it too, but it’s important to make that distinction.
There are lots of misconceptions about polyamory, including claims that it’s “cheating with permission” or that it’s “all about sex.” In reality, polyamorous people have the capacity to not only love but also be deeply committed to more than one person at a time. Some polyam people are even asexual, meaning they are in committed relationships without ever sleeping with their partners.
Of course, some of them do have lots of sex and that’s okay, but it’s not an accurate portrayal of the entire community.
When you’re fed one story your whole life about how love “should” look, it’s easy to believe that anything which looks different couldn’t possibly lead to happiness. That’s why, with this new surge of ethical non-monogamy, people are asking all kinds of questions including “Can polyamorous couples be happy? Really happy?”
We’re here to break down the B.S.
Polyamory vs. Monogamy: The Great Debate
As people, we take our relationships seriously—and it makes sense. We are social creatures. Our relationships, especially those that are intimate, tend to be the most important things in our lives.
That said: we’re also individuals with unique desires, preferences, and needs.
Monogamy works for some couples. Ethical non-monogamy works for others. Everyone is different—and that’s okay!
What’s not okay is settling for less due to insecurity or fear of judgement.
If you’re the type of person who is comfortable with experiencing attraction to others outside of your relationship, why shouldn’t you explore that attraction? That doesn’t mean doing so without your partner’s awareness or consent (i.e. unethical non-monogamy), but if you already have a monogamous relationship, you don’t necessarily have to keep it that way. In fact, many polyam couples started as non-monogamous until they realized they wanted more.
What if you don’t know what you want? Is there a way to tell if you’re more fit for monogamy or non-monogamy?
How to Tell if Polyam Life is Right For You
There are a few different ways to tell if polyamory is right for you. The main thing is how comfortable you are with the idea of ethical non-monogamy.
Are you in a relationship (or have been before) and do you experience romantic or sexual attraction to others in a way that leaves you feeling dissatisfied with monogamy? Could you see your partner being involved with others and be okay with it—even enjoy it? Do you have room in your life to be committed to more than one person? If you answered “yes” to one or all of these questions, that’s a good sign that polyamory is an idea worth exploring.
On the other hand, there are a few red flags which might tell you that polyamory is not for you:
- If you think it will “fix” some part of your current relationship (someone has a cheating problem, intimacy isn’t what you or your partner would like, etc.)
- You want to have sex with multiple people, but you don’t necessarily want a relationship with them (swinging, friends-with-benefits, or an open relationship might be better suited to your needs)
- You and your partner aren’t ready due to one or more relationship hurdles, like toxic jealousy or poor communication skills.
That last one is pretty important. The most successful couples who make the transition to polyamory do so from a solid foundation of trust, honesty, and respect. Of course, you don’t need to be perfect or have all the answers—no one does!—but you should be good at communicating with one another, setting boundaries, and be open to learning.
Despite what some might think, polyamorous relationships come with rules and boundaries just like monogamous ones do, and the label itself won’t erase feelings of jealousy or fears of abandonment. It also doesn’t mean that there will be any less work. You’ll often hear the admonishment among poly people to “communicate well and often.”
It’s no easy thing giving your time and attention to more than one person—but if you can make it work, it can be one of the most rewarding things about your life.
All you have to do is get started.
The Best Site for Polyam Dating
Polyamorous dating is as easy as signing up for a polyam dating site or joining a local community. There are thousands of dating sites out there, but only a few them really cater to the ethically non-monogamous. One example is SwingTowns.com.
Also called “The World’s Friendliest Dating Site,” SwingTowns is home to millions of people all over the world that are seeking ethically non-monogamous relationships. With diverse settings for gender and sexual orientation, it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. The site also features thousands of popular poly groups by location so you can connect with your area’s poly community, make friends, and find support.