There are many misconceptions about polyamory.
Here are a few:
1. Polyamory Is All About the Sex
Although sex and sexual experiences may be an outcome of a polyamorous relationship, it is not a given. Some people who consider themselves polyamorous are more interested in exploring emotional intimacy and less interested in sexual intimacy. One of the benefits of polyamory is the infinite ways to live the lifestyle. People get to create and re-create what polyamory means to them and what a polyamorous relationship looks like to them. There are so many ways to be polyamorous. Part of the fun in finding what works best for everyone involved and making that into a reality.
2. Polyamory Is a Nice Way of Saying “Cheating”
Polyamory is not cheating. It is another way of saying ethical non-monogamy. Polyamory is about open, honest and clear communication as well as having a mutual love and respect for everyone involved. If there is lying, cheating and deception, it is not polyamory.
3. People Who Are Polyamorous Do Not Experience Feelings Of Jealousy and Insecurity
Feelings are a natural part of being human. Everyone who is human experiences feelings. Different situations trigger different emotions. The trigger, the emotion and the intensity of the emotional experience will differ from person to person. This is normal. Having an emotion such as fear, jealousy, joy, ecstasy, etc. has little to do with relationship orientation. Yes, some say polyamory is challenging because it can more readily bring up feelings such as jealousy and insecurity. I’ll argue and say that monogamy and being single can also bring up those same feelings.
Regardless of the relationship orientation people choose, what’s important is to understand that triggers cause feelings and feelings are natural. When we become aware of the triggers and the emotions, then we can begin to see how we can move through those situations in ways that empower us and empower those with whom we are in relationship.
4. Those Who Choose Polyamorous Relationships Are Scared of Intimacy and Use Polyamory as a Way to Avoid Emotional Depth in Relationships
This is a very common (and false) belief. As I mentioned before, people engage in polyamory for a variety of reasons. Most of them honestly feel they are capable of deeply loving more than one person and they are not attached to what that might look like. They like the freedom of having a variety of connections without the limitations they may have experienced in their monogamous relationships. They see polyamory as a way to be more authentic in how they love. Polyamory offers them an opportunity to experience more emotional depth and intimacy in their relationships.
5. If Your Partner Is Polyamorous, That Means You Are (Or Have to Be) Too
Although it can be helpful if everyone engaged in a polyamorous relationship sees themselves as polyamorous, it’s not a requirement. There are many people who engage in polyamory who view themselves as monogamous. The term “mono/poly” exists to describe a monogamous person in a relationship with a polyamorous person. This relationship orientation is unique in that both parties view their relationship through different lenses. Mono/poly relationships are most successful when those involved strive to understand and support each other every step of the way, creating a win-win for everyone.
6. My Own Experience
One personal misconception I had when I first began exploring polyamory was that my partner and anyone else who with experience being polyamorous was going to be better at handling situations than I would be. I went into a polyamorous relationship thinking I had a huge learning curve around how do deal with emotions such as insecurity and jealousy. I quickly learned that everyone experiences these emotions from time to time. Having feelings was viewed as a natural part of being poly and was to be expected, not feared or judged. I felt ease and relief in learning this. I also felt more confident knowing that support was available and that I could reach out for help if I was struggling with something.