What Is A Polygamous Relationship?

In today’s day and age, the way how things work has changed a lot. There are a lot of new lingos and terms which some people might be unfamiliar with. one such term is a polygamous relationship. With love coming in all shapes and sizes, some people like to not restrict themselves to one partner. This might be similar to a consensually non-monogamous relationship but it is a little different from it. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to find out some of the most basic things you need to know. One should always be aware of all such things in case you end up agreeing to one. If you do not know what it means, you might land yourself in some unwanted drama. Keep reading below to learn polyamorous relationship rules, polyamorous relationship types, and some more information and detailed insight into polyamorous marriage.

A Polygamous Relationship

Polygamy a word from ancient Greek means a state of being in the marriage to more than one spouse. There is further segmentation in these terms. When a man is in a bind of marriage with more than one woman, it is called polygyny. Meanwhile, on the other hand, when a woman is married to more than one man at a time, it is known as polyandry. These terms have been put forward and made clear by sociologists to clear up any confusion. The term polygamous might sound familiar to you because it is often talked about when monogamy comes up. The reason why both are mentioned together is not that they are similar but because they are opposite of each other.

In polygamous, as mentioned above, anyone of the partner could have several partners. The easier way to understand this is by keeping in mind the word ‘poly’ which means many whiles on the other ‘mono’ means one. Even though in polygamous relationships both the partners could have more than one wife/husband but more than often it is just practiced by men and has turned into a norm. In our society, men usually come more under polygamous relationships but it can be done for women as well.

Polyamorous Vs Polygamy

Before we proceed with the dynamics and more details in what a polygamous relationship is, let’s clear up on confusion. A lot of people who are new to these tend to get confused between polyamorous and polygamy. Both have a ‘poly’ in front of them which indicates that is going to be more than one partner, but there’s a lot more to it.

Some people tend to confuse consensual non-monogamous relationships with polyamorous relationships but they are different. There are many types of consensual non-monogamous relationships like swinging and open relationships. In such situations the partners allow each other to opt for other partners for a certain time being and they can switch back to their monogamous style if they like. They are different from polyamorous relationships because, in such equations, both the partners are allowed to have multiple partners at the same time if they like. It is different from normal relationships because having multiple partners isn’t considered cheating since both parties agree upon this.

In a polyamorous relationship, both the partners are allowed to not just have multiple partners but they are also allowed to have romantic feelings for more than one partner and be intimate with them other than sex as well.

Since the idea of having more than partners is still not normalized as much, you might have trouble figuring out which is which but don’t worry though. Down below we will explain the difference between polyamorous vs polygamy.

  • Starting with the major thing which is different in both is that polyamorous relationship includes multiple partners while on the other hand, polygamous relationships include multiple spouses.

There are some other things as well which can help you in differentiating between polyamorous and polygamous relationships. The most basic one is that of gender. When a person is in a polygamous relationship, in such relationships the partner who has more than one spouses are of the same gender. To make this easier, if the man has more than one spouse, all those spouses are going to be women. Similarly, if in a polygamous relationship, a woman has multiple spouses than all the people she will be married to are supposed to be men.

This is one of the major differences as in polyamorous relationships if one person decides to have multiple partners, these partners can be of any gender.

  • Another thing that can help you differentiate between the two is that polygamous relationships are majorly related to religions. In Muslims, it is allowed for the elite and rich men to have more than one woman as their wife. The reason why this is still allowed in their religion is so that the elite and rich can marry women from poorer classes, or widows, etc who the other bachelors won’t marry. This is one way the Muslims are told to make sure that everyone in society gets a good life. Hence we can say that the history and origin of polygamous relationships are linked with religion.

But more polyamorous relationships where one person has multiple romantic partners, it is not as closet related to the religious aspects polyamorous relationships weren’t even very common up till the last few decades.

Polyamorous Relationship Rules

As is the case with all sorts of relationships and equations, there needs to be some boundaries and rules set between two partners for the relationship to work smoothly. Even though in a polyamorous relationship, there is consensual non-monogamy but there are still some rules that one should keep in mind if they are planning on jumping into something like this.

1. Respect For Everyone

Respect is of the utmost importance whether it is in open relationships, monogamous ones, or polyamorous ones. This is basic decency that you would expect from everyone around yourself and would want to extend it to others as well. You should not just respect your partner but also any partners that they have. It is the only way you will be able to get respect in return and keep things amicable among everyone involved.

The level of respect also reflects how long your relationship has the chance to survive. If you are too passive-aggressive towards the others or have created a hostile environment then your partner might think of cutting you out of the equation because of the lack of cooperation on your part.

2. Communication

The first thing about handling any kind of relationship is realizing that open communication is extremely important. But it is one of the most important ones in polyamorous relationship rules. Anything you feel or think doesn’t work well with you should be out on the table. Holding things inside and developing grudges is only going to ruin things shortly. All your bottled-up feelings will come out in one way or another so try to be open about all your feelings.

Another reason why communication is a  major element is that all the partners in the equation should be aware of the status of the relationship. This way no one is fooled into monogamy and it is all out in the open.

3. Boundaries

Creating boundaries turns out to be even more important when there are more than two people in a relationship. The idea behind the establishment of proper boundaries is to make sure that no one is stepping on each other’s time. Since there are more people involved, it is possible that times can get mixed up so try to work on that.

Other than that, creating boundaries also comes into handy when there comes the issue of prying into other people’s businesses. Even though your partner might’ve expressed feelings for you romantically, at the same time they can feel for someone else too romantically. When entering into a polyamorous relationship, you would’ve agreed to be on the same page about these things so limit yourself to it. Respect your partner’s boundaries and maintain one’s for yourself and your equation as well to keep everything fair.

4. No Comparisons

Every relationship is different. Your partner might have a different way of tackling your relationship and a different approach for yours while he or she might have an entirely new approach to how they behave with someone else. This includes how they talk, where they go. What they choose to do with each other, methods of showing affection, etc. All of this can depend on several factors and do not have anything to do with you. Comparing how your partner behaves with you and with other people is only going to make things worse.

People can express love to different people in different ways. Learn to be satisfied with what you have if it’s not unfair to you and do not compare any aspect of your relationship with someone else’s. This is the only way polyamorous relationships can work and develop into polyamorous marriage if that is what you like and are hoping for.

5. Set Ground Rules

Right at the time when one is thinking of stepping into a polyamorous relationship, it is very important to put some ground rules in place. You need to be vocal to your partner about the state of the relationship, about the people who will be involved in the equation, the times you will be allocated to them, and your stance on the relationship. Furthermore, this should also include all the things that you are comfortable with and the things that are red flags with you.

Setting some ground rules in place before initiating a polyamorous relationship will help in letting your partner know how you expect to proceed with the relationship and you see it going shortly. These rules are also great for your mental peace and theirs as well.

Polyamorous Relationship Types

Polyamorous relationships are of various types and before you think of getting into one or accepting one, it is essential that you are aware of all the terms and types of polyamorous relationships. Polyamorous celebrities are also pretty common now and not all of them are of the same type. Before you think of trying to make sense of which is which, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the polyamorous relationship types.

1. Primary Ones

This is a very basic type of polyamorous relationship and is also known as hierarchical poly. In such relationships, when there is always one partner in the relationship who is known as the primary partner. This primary partner could be their spouse, someone they have children with, someone they are engaged to, or someone they are involved in business with. The one thing to note here is that this one partner is considered as the primary one and all the others can be secondary or tertiary.

2. Non-Hierarchical Poly

As the name indicates, this is the opposite of the first type given above. In a non-hierarchical, there is no primary involved. All the people involved in the equation are of the same level and no one is considered as the primary partner. In such an equation, all partners are considered equal and no one is ranked as a priority or as less of one.

Non-hierarchical polyamorous relationships also entail that the partners cannot be better or worse based on the amount they’ve known each, where they live/how long they’ve lived together, or based on any children.

3. Parallel Polyamory

A smart person can find out the catch in this type of polyamorous relationship. When two parallel lines are drawn together, they do not touch each other and will not coincide anytime in the future as well. The same is the case with parallel polyamory. In such a relationship, there are multiple partners involved but none are interested in getting to know each other or have any sort of emotional bondings or interaction.s

Each relationship in a parallel polyamorous relationship is carried out on its own in a confined space and no partners have the desire to mingle or get to know each other.

4. Kitchen Table Polyamory

Now when you have dinner with your family at a kitchen table, what you see is all of you sitting together in an amicable environment getting to know each other’s day and conversing, etc. this is a great analogy for how a kitchen table polyamory will work.

Isn’t such a relationship, all the people involved have no issues in getting together, having meals with each other, or getting to know each other. In fact, in such equations, these people like to be interconnected with each other and have friendly and intimate bonds. These bonds can be romantic as well but mostly, the idea is to have a relationship where there is a level of friendliness among all the people involved. People in such relationships tend to meet a lot, have movie nights, dinners, lunches, brunches, etc with each other, and enjoy the company of one another.

5. Mono-Poly Equations

As the name indicates in such a  relationship there will be a mixture of monogamous and polyamorous. One partner in the relationship would like to be in a polyamorous relationship can have multiple partners while one or several of their partners can be in a monogamous relationship from their side.

For instance, Bob wants to be in more than one relationship and he does, while his partners know about this and are just committed to Bob in a monogamous relationship. In such relationships, it is really important to let your partner know of your preferences beforehand so that there is no bomb of cheating dropped upon your shoulders, save yourself from any future drama and trouble and let the people involved know what it is that you are going for.

6. Solo-Polyamory

Lastly, we have solo polyamory relationships. Once again, we can take a hint from the name. With the word solo involved, it shows that there is one person in the relationship who likes to fly solo. this person would not be interested in having intense, committed relationships with any of their partners and would see these relationships as light and breezy flings.

Solo-polyamory is the perfect choice for people who are looking for something similar to no string attached relationships but with multiple people at the same time.  These people would never be interested in the idea of polyamorous marriage so if that’s something you want, make sure to communicate.

They do not want to partake in any of the expectations that come with proper relationships or even with polyamorous relationships. It is a great choice for people who value their own time and like to have a lot of space for themselves but would also like to have something on the side to avoid loneliness. Physical intimacy is something that is fulfilled in this relationship and there are no further connections needed.


With the world getting so progressive, each passing day, everyone has different preferences and tastes. These apply to relationships as well. If you think there are some polyamorous celebrities who make it all look interesting for you, then go for it. But, before you jump into any of it make sure that your current partner is aware of all that you are doing and of your preferences. This way you won’t be making a fool out of anyone and can be clear.