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Many of us have deeply committed relationships with more than one partner, with no hierarchy among them and no core "couple" at the heart of it all.
We're now better than ever, and with polyamory coming out of the closet, it's easier than ever to find your newest partner.If you have polyamorous friends, relatives, or acquaintances, please don't make assumptions about their lives based on what you think all non-monogamous configurations look like.Let them tell you how they define their relationships.Over the past few years, polyamory has become a more widely known term and practice.And perhaps inevitably, certain misconceptions and misunderstandings about what "polyamory" means have become widespread as well.That might seem logical if what we're talking about is strictly extramarital sexual partners.But my life with my partners isn't reducible to "what happens behind closed doors" any more than any serious, long-term relationship is. Openly, publicly acknowledging my boyfriend as my partner is not just saying that we have sex.But for those of us living in polyamorous families, it can be incredibly frustrating when people use those concepts of open marriage to make assumptions about the structure of our relationships.Because we live in such a monogamy-centered society, it makes sense that many people can only conceive of non-monogamy in what ultimately still amounts to monogamous terms.It would be unfortunately difficult to say which among these misunderstandings is the most common, or the most hurtful to polyamorous folks.But there's one in particular that I'd like to discuss: the idea that "polyamory" means "committed couple who have casual partners on the side." There has been much talk about "open marriage" and "open relationships" in recent years, with some even paradoxically dubbing non-monogamy "the new monogamy." In this open-marriage conception of non-monogamous relationships, there is still a central, committed (often legally married) couple, who allow one another to engage in purely sexual (or at least quite casual) outside relationships.