Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not All Polyamorous Relationships Are Open Relationships

Note to journalists, especially editors:

Not all polyamorous relationships are open relationships. The terms should not be used as synonyms.

Polyamory means there are more than two people involved, with the informed consent of all. The most simple form is a "V" in which one person has two lovers (girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, whatever) who only have that person as a lover... not each other, not anyone else. This would not be an open relationship. This would be a closed relationship.

An open relationship means one, both, or all people involved, by agreement, have an ongoing relationship but are open to dates or ongoing relationships with others (whether or not the other person(s) in the existing relationship are involved in that process.)

There are a wide variety of polyamorous relationships. Some are open, some are not. There are many polyamorous people who have never been swingers and have never swapped. Some poly people are boring, good neighbors who raise kids and are good citizens active in their local communities and look suspiciously like soccer moms and dedicated dads (as some swingers and swappers are, too.) Because they are.

Being more precise in terminology is especially important given the prejudices and myths that poly people deal with from ignorant or hostile people.
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