What is Polyamory?

Polyamorous (poly) people seek and develop romantic relationships with more than one person at a time, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Some people are polyamorous by choice, in that they can just as easily live a happily polyamorous life as a monogamous one. Others of us feel we are so fundamentally poly that living monogamously significantly reduces our potential for a happy, fulfilling life. I believe myself to be the latter type of poly person. I am poly. Living another way would (and has) required a soul sucking amount of self-rejection and denial.

What’s a Metamore?

A key challenge for people to understand when trying to understand polyamory is the role their partner’s other partners (i.e., their metamores) play in poly relationship satisfaction. In my experience, a consistent stumbling block for people transitioning to poly is changing their mindset and behavior that comes from viewing their partner’s other connections as romantic rivals. This baggage from monogamous culture is particularly corrosive and antithetical to polyamarous relating.

Compersion? Now you’re just making stuff up!

Exactly. It is made up. Compersion is a term that polyamorous people created to refer to a feeling that we don’t have a good word for in English. Compersion is a feeling of happiness from your partner’s happiness – usually in reference to their partner being happy about their other romantic relationships. Because of this connection, some refer to compersion as the opposite of jealousy.

What do Poly people mean when they call something “Mono-normative”?

Mono-normativity is the widely held Western assumption that monogamy is “normal,” natural and the universally desired outcome of courtship. This puts people and cultures that do not practice monogamy as deviant, immoral or a sign of mental illness – at worse – and exotic or counter-cultural, at best. It can be a very dangerous characterization. Beyond social stigma and disapproval, prejudice and direct hostility can result. A goal of many progressive movements is to destigmatize and normalize difference in order to decrease injustice and increase freedom.