Bisexual Relationships: Monogamy or Polyamory? That is A Question!
Growing up knowing that you are bisexual can be difficult, especially if you are wondering “How will I settle down with one guy or with one girl? I really like both!”, which is due to the ideas that Hollywood films perpetuate, that you find your ‘forever person’ and they make you happy for a really long time; hopefully for the rest of your life. However, when you are met with the frustrations of people around you, who say that you “can’t decide” and if you are generally going from guy to girl to guy to girl, feeling you never could pick one gender and settle down with a person of that gender, it may not seem like it but there are other options for you. You may not know anyone who is polyamorous, but you might find you are happier in a polyamorous relationship. Not all polyamorous people are bi, but many bisexuals are polyamorous, because being poly means you can have several committed relationships at once, with people of different genders, with all parties involved knowing about all the other partners. Polyamory is also known as ethnical non-monogamy because the ethical thing to do is to make sure all partners consent to being in a non-monogamous relationship and in a polycule (a network or ‘family’ of partners and their partners).
What is polyamory?
This answer will be different for every poly person, because polyamory is a sliding scale. Some people have relationships that are fairly monogamous (or mono, as the poly community call monogamous people for short) but have agreements that allow them to, for example, kiss other people. We shall call these people ‘monogomish’ as they are towards the mono side of the poly scale. But other people engage in open relationships (again, still quite couple-centric), hierarchical polyamory, solo poly and many other forms of polyamory such as closed triads or groups. Usually, hierarchical polyamory is where you have a primary partner and some secondary partners, usually determined by whether you share living space or have children together, but not always as things in relationships are in flux.
Solo poly people tend to view themselves as their main partner or have creative projects, travel or work commitments that mean they choose to prioritise self-care over their other relationships. To many who hear about solo poly for the first time, it is helpful to note that the idea of being about to look after yourself before being able to be in a relationship with someone else might seem as logical as putting on your own oxygen mask before helping other passengers. However, many solo poly people often also choose to live alone or in shared accommodation that does not include their partners.
A closed triad consists of three individuals who are all dating each other but agree to not date other people. As you can see polyamory is varied and complex in its structure but it does not necessarily have to be complex in practice.
Could I polyamorous? How do I go about it?
Many people view polyamory as a sexual orientation, but the majority of people see it as a lifestyle decision. If you are of this latter viewpoint, then anyone can practise polyamory. It is true that polyamory comes more easily to some people than to others, but mostly it is about communicating, ensuring consent takes place, and being open-minded and honest. There may be pitfalls along the way, but be sure to learn from your mistakes. If you think you could love more than one person at once, or be sexually involved with someone other than your current partner, then you could be polyamorous.
There are certain considerations to make, depending on your current status. If you are single, you could try to find local polyamory meet-ups and groups. In most major cities in the Western world there are meet-ups near by and you could get to know the community and ask your questions to real poly people! If you are in a relationship, however, you will need to at some point broach the subject with your partner. Pick a suitable time to sit them down and talk through your feelings with them – not just before dinner or when they are about to go to work. Make sure you will have plenty of time alone, and won’t be disturbed. Switch off your phone and TV toensure you are both giving each other your full attention. It might help to reassure your partner that, right now, you don’t want to act on these feelings, and you want to just talk them through with your partner and ask that they consider their view. If they seem keen, however, and want you to explore this side of yourself, you could suggest going to some local poly events or enjoying some of the resources, listed later in this article, together.
Who do I tell? Friends? Family? How can I tell them?
Tell your friends and family whenever you feel ready and do not let partners pressure you into introducing them to your friends and family. If you want to introduce them, but not yet as a partner, it better to say “Hi Dad, this is Jenny” rather than introducing her as a friend, as this can undermine the relationship and be hurtful.
When you are ready to come out as poly, there are plenty of resources available online or in the resources list below. The way I describe it to people who do not know much about polyamory is that I believe it is possible to love more than one person, in the same way that you can love two parents, or both of your brothers.
I want to know more! What can I read, watch or listen to? Give me resources!
If you want to read more before attempting any tricky poly manoeuvres, here are my recommendations for five ‘must-reads’ about polyamory:
- More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert
- The Ethical Slut, Third Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy
- The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love by Dedeker Winston
- Ask Me About Polyamory! The Best of Kimchi Cuddles by Tikva Wolf
- Polyamory: It’s Not Complicated by DeWayne Lehman
You can also listen to the fantastic bank of podcasts than cover a range of topics and download a beginners’ guide to polyamory on Multiamory: https://www.multiamory.com/podcast/
Check our website and get more online bisexual dating resources.