Dueling Column: Polyamorous Relationships are More than Just Cheating

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Jacqueline Flores/ Staff Writer

Read “Here’s to Monogamy” by Carlos Pino here.

Being in a polyamorous relationship does not mean cheating on your partner. It’s about learning to open your mind and heart to love and care for other people. 

There is nothing wrong with believing you’ll find a soulmate to spend the rest of your life with. A lot of polyamorous relationships begin like that. You share life with one person and then become entangled with others on a physical or emotional level. 

As a bisexual woman who’s been in a relationship for four years, I want to explore being with other people while still committed to my relationship. 

Some people are attracted to polyamorous relationships because it either provides them more love, sexual variety, family expansions, freedom and rebellion, or it simply feels more natural. 

I identified as bisexual one year into my relationship. Then it took one more year to tell my partner that I wanted to explore my sexuality. We agreed on an open relationship. 

Polyamorous does not always mean meaningless sex. It’s about exploring other individuals and learning to love them even if just for that moment. In my relationship, we learned to share each other because we involve each other in the process.

My partner knows who I am sleeping with. The person I am getting intimate with knows I’m in a relationship. It’s about open trust and communication. 

It’s freeing to know that intimacy can be shared without limitations. Romantically or platonically, I can share moments of soft kisses with others while discussing intimate parts of ourselves. What better love is there than vulnerability with people? Sharing a connection is precious.

Polyamory is all about consensual, and open multiple-partner relationships. All members can have additional partners outside of the traditional committed couple. 

In other words, no it is not cheating. There are guidelines that structure a relationship that should be respected by all parties, just like in a monogamous relationship.

You are expected to tell the truth and communicate, communicate, communicate. It helps clarify expectations, manage complexity, and develop intimacy. It requires being open-minded and taking responsibility for self-growth, safer sex agreements, and treating others kindly. 

It takes maturity. 

While I still have not openly committed to other people yet, knowing that the option is available with consent from my partner is freeing. And of course, they have my consent to become involved with others. 

Consent is what makes it different from cheating, by allowing your partner to explore and care for others. 

There are challenges, trust and learning to be jealous in a healthy manner are vital in a  polyamorous relationship. This kind of relationship is different because of how time-consuming and emotionally taxing it can be. So it’s not for everyone. 

When we tell our friends we have an open relationship, they immediately give us suspicious looks and assume we cheat on each other daily. 

I love the assumption that I have many people lined up to sleep with me, but that’s not the case. Once we explain how we came to our agreement, and that nothing is done without consent or communication, our friends begin to understand and naturally become curious.

Polyamory can sometimes just mean being able to kiss the cute girl or guy at the club and your partner is happy to see you happy. 

All kinds of people participate in polyamorous relationships and each relationship is unique. I don’t receive advances from strangers. Surprisingly, I receive invitations from friends that just want to be vulnerable with us. 

My relationship is hierarchical polyamory, where there is a main couple who consider each other their priority. It can be for purely physical attraction with no strings attached. Following that is the non-hierarchical polyamory. There is no main couple in the center, and everyone can defer to each other about decisions. 

If you just want emotional attachment without the commitment of a joint bank account, then solo polyamory is perfect for you. Individuals in these relationships simply enjoy romantic connections while keeping their personal living spaces.

Polyamorous couples can be mixed and matched, such as a bisexual man with a boyfriend and a girlfriend, or a gay throuple, or three-person couple. A husband and a wife who lives with their friend can be considered polyamorous too. 

Each relationship is unique just how each monogamous relationship is unique. 

Being with your main person is okay, it’s normal if you do not want to be with anyone else. But for people who crave more intimacy and love, then polyamorous relationships are acceptable for exploring sexuality and needs that might feel unmet by the current monogamous relationship. Just always remember to communicate and respect the boundaries established with your partner. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

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