10 Myths About Being Polyamorous That Are Totally Untrue

As a person who has been poly for many years, if I had a dollar for every time someone said something false or silly about polyamory and the people who practice it, I’d be toe to toe with Oprah by now. Even though polyamory is getting a bit more visibility these days, it’s still viewed as the weird kid on the block. People have a ton of preconceived notions of what it means to be polyamorous. Most of these myths are sensationalized, ignorant, offensive, and downright mistaken.

Poly people don’t truly love their partners.

Apparently, if you can hold space in your heart for multiple people, then it means you don’t really love your partners. It means you’re not satisfied with what they bring to the table and the bedroom so you have to go looking for fulfillment elsewhere. I don’t believe that there’s one true love for me or that one person needs to be everything that I need. My heart is not a container that can only hold a finite amount of love. It’s boundless.

Polyamory is just about being promiscuous.

I’ve been called a slut and sex addict who uses polyamory to hide the fact that I have a problem. I like sex as much as the next person, but in no sense of the word can I be described as an addict. I’ve had plenty of relationships where sex was not a factor or even on the table. Polyamory is not simply an excuse to sleep around. It’s about forming meaningful, intimate relationships and friendships with more than one person without being made to feel guilty about it.

It’s a fancy way of cheating on your partner.

People think that poly people are serial cheaters, but infidelity and polyamory are two very different things. In polyamory, the parties are usually open and honest with each other about what they want and what they’re getting into. Healthy expectations are set and ground rules laid down. Everything is consensual, so there’s no sneaking around involved unless you violate the terms of your relationship.

Polyamory is for people with commitment issues.

I often hear people say poly people just want to have their cake and eat it too. We want a relationship, but without any real commitment. Many polyamorous people are in committed relationships with more than one person, so they’re certainly not afraid of commitment. Commitment is not about being exclusive, but about showing up and being there for the people you love to the best of your ability.

You need to be in multiple relationships to be polyamorous.

As long as you’re open to having multiple partners with the consent of all the parties, you’re a card-carrying member of the poly club. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never actually been in a polyam relationship before. You won’t stop being poly because you had two partners and things ended with one one of them, or because you’re in a dry spell and can’t find anyone who’s interested in a poly relationship.

Polyamorous people never feel jealous.

Poly people are not above experiencing jealousy. It’s normal to feel insecure sometimes when your partner is bonding with someone else. You’re not going to be happy with everything your partner does. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing polyamory wrong, it just means you’re human. You can interrogate those feelings of jealousy and work through them with honesty, transparency, and good communication.

Being poly is just a phase and isn’t sustainable for the long term.

It’s funny and a little sad that we don’t appreciate that people can know who they are and what they want without a doubt. Instead of respecting people’s identity and choices, we dismiss them by calling it a fad—something they’ll grow out of. I’ve known that I was poly since I began dating as a young teen. It’s a fundamental part of my identity, the same as being queer. I’m not going to wake up one day and stop being polyamorous.

Cheating doesn’t exist in poly relationships.

Polyamory is not a hall pass to do whatever you like without anyone feeling betrayed or slighted. There are still boundaries depending on what the parties agree on. If my partner and I agree to see other people as long the other person is informed ahead of time and kept in the loop, it’d be cheating if I went ahead to date someone else without telling my partner about it.

You’re only poly until you meet “the one.”

This is one of the biggest myths about poly folks. I’m not polyamorous because I haven’t found my one true love who will own all of my heart, just like I’m not queer because I haven’t found a man with a magical penis that eradicates homosexuality. More than one person can be “the one” for me in different capacities. My partners aren’t placeholders until something better comes along. They’re the real deal.

Everything goes in the bedroom for poly people.

Yes, we’re usually more open-minded about sex and sexuality, but it doesn’t mean we’re up for anything. Every poly person has their own tastes and preferences. Some are into BDSM, swinging, threesomes, kinks, while others are comfortable with plain old vanilla sex and nothing more. The wonderful thing is that if your partner isn’t into something you like, you can find another person who is and date them too.

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