What is polyamory?
Basically, polyis a Greek word meaning many, and amor is a Latin word meaning love: thus, polyamory means many loves. However, in practice, polyamory (sometimes referred to as poly) is often defined as consensual non-monogamy, which means open, honest, transparent agreement among partners to love more than one (for more info, see Further Reading below). Polyamorous relationships can include people of all races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.
Other non-monogamous, lifestyle choices and relationship agreements like swinging, polygamy and open relationships may or may not overlap with polyamory.
Who is polyamorous?
While it is a matter of controversy, some people believe that they are hard-wired or born polyamorous, and for or others, it is seen as a lifestyle choice. Polyamory may be a practice, a lifestyle, an identity or an orientation.
How do I know if I am polyamorous?
If you find yourself wanting more than one relationship at a time, you might be polyamorous. For some people, it is clear from their inner experiences and earliest memories that they want or are most fulfilled loving more than one person. For others, the path to identifying as polyamorous is discovered over time as they become aware of their preferences and needs in relationships.
Whether we identify as monogamous or polyamorous, exploring an unconventional relationship, or are married, living together or living apart – we all long for respect, support and encouragement. We recognize that as we endeavor to live in any relationship, we often need more support and help than our culture and extended social networks may provide. We also know that when attempting to live in a non-mainstream relationship, we may face special difficulties and challenges that sometimes complicate or aggravate our personal lives.
LifeWorks clinicians are polyamory friendly, knowledgeable about open relationships, and have many years of experience working with diverse relationship constellations, issues and conflicts. If you are seeking support to find more fulfillment and acceptance for yourself and/or your relationship, we can help.
Frequently Cited Books
- Polyamory: The new love without limits – Anapol
- Opening Up: A guide to creating and sustaining open relationships – Tristan Taormino
- Love In Abundance: A Counselor’s Advice On Open Relationships – Kathy Labriola
- Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love & Intimacy with Multiple Partners, Deborah Anapol
- Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, Jenny Block
- What Does Polyamory Look Like? Poly Diverse Patterns of Loving & Living…, Mim Chapman
- The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Pollyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures, Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy
- The New Intimacy: Open-ended Marriage & Alternative Lifestyles, Ronald Mazur
- The Lesbian Polyamory Reader: Open Relationships, Non-monogamy & Casual Sex, Marcia Munson & Judith Stelboum (eds)
- Sex, Love & Marriage in the 21st Century: The Next Sexual Revolution, Timothy Perper & Martha Cornog (eds)
- The Art and Etiquette of Polyamory: A Hands-on Guide to Open Sexual Relationships, Francoise Simpere
- Opening Up: A guide to Creating & Sustaining Open Relationships, Tristan Taormino
- The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, Elizabeth Sheff
- Rewriting the Rules: An Integrative Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships , Meg Barker
- Mindful Geek, Michael W. Taft
- The New Monogamy, Tammy Nelson
- Stories from the Polycule, Elizabeth Sheff
- The Polyamorists Next Door, Elizabeth Sheff
- Love in Abundance, Kathy Labriola
- ReWriting the Rules, Meg Barker
Research and Scholarly Work
In addition, research and scholarly work published by LifeWorks clinicians on the experiences of people who identify as polyamorous can be found at:
- Hemphill, S, Simon, S & Haydon, B. (2016) Exploring Personal and Professional Understanding of Nonmonogamous Relationships: Reflections on a Group Work-Informed Workshop, Social Work with Groups.
- Henrich, R. (2011). Following a Path of Heart: Psychological, relational and social issues of polyamorists. Unpublished manuscript.
- Henrich, R. & Trawinski, C. (2016) Social and therapeutic challenges facing polyamorous clients (1), Sexual & Relationship Therapy.
Download the Polyamory Information brochure (PDF) here.