polyamory vs. cheating

So Polyamory.

Not necessarily a LGBTQIA+ thing, but in my experience it happens quite a bit in the Community. Personally, I have no qualms with polyamory; first of all, its none of my business to tell others what they can and cannot do with other humans (animals are a totally different scenario, don’t do that, please), and also the couples I’ve seen that “swing” have been relatively happy, having normal relationships, just with lots of people. If it works for you, it works for you.

Now obviously, no one likes to get cheated on. We go through a string of complex, mostly negative emotions when we discover that our partner has been sleeping around behind out backs. Jealousy, betrayal, questioning our own self-worth thinking we weren’t good enough.

Now, readers who aren’t polyamorous or who’ve never heard of it or don’t understand the concept fully, whatever the case, you’re probably wondering: “Well if that’s how most people feel, how are polyamorous people happy cheating all the time?” To which I would have to inform you, they aren’t. At least not to them; if you are 100% “if they aren’t sleeping with me, they’re cheating,” then that’s okay too, polyamory isn’t for you.

The difference between polyamory and cheating is communication. Polyamorous partners inform their spouses of the people they are with, and how often they plan to be with that other person; whether it is just a string of one night stands to satisfy their needs or a friends with benefits situation, or even another partner, everyone involved knows everyone and understands each other’s roles in each other’s lives. Usually, the spouse will or must approve of the newcomer before anything can happen.

Communication is highly valued and very much so required in a polyamorous relationship. Without communication, any chance at normalcy is warped by feelings of jealousy, betrayal, and hurt feelings. What hurts us in cheating isn’t so much the sex, but the sense of distance from our partner, and that they lied by omission, or maybe even just plain lied.

So now you know a little bit more about polyamory. If it’s not for you, that’s fine, but you can say you are informed on your decision.

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Chris Ross writes a string of LGBTQIA+ fantasy novels on FictionPress and Inkitt and is an avid gamer and proud nerd. He enjoys writing, drawing, gaming, as well as the occasional hike around the river. He lives in Sacramento and has lived and visited every Western state at least once. Chris is a pansexual transman and uses He/Him pronouns.