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Polyamory - What is it?

Polyamory means more than the simple media messages of having multiple partners and lots of sex. Polyamory is a subset of ethical or consensual non-monogamy.

Have you heard the following terms?

  • poly fidelity

  • soly poly

  • metamour

  • polycule

  • hierarchical polyamory

  • kitchen table poly

  • compersion

  • NRE

This diagram shows us the different intersections and types of non-monogamy.

This giant diagram has all the types of non-monogamy of which most of it, other than the yellow cheating bit is consensual or ethical in some way.

This fascinating and rich explanation of all the different types of polyamory is how Charlotte Davies began her fab talk when she joined us to give an expert guest talk on polyamory a couple of weeks ago.

Missed it? Purchase your recording here.

As I reflect on this talk I'm left wondering how many counsellors are confident talking to clients about polyamory - are you? Or maybe you're a client who is fearful to talk about polyamory with your counsellor.

In the feedback after Charlotte's talk many counsellors told me they'd never thought about or considered couple's privilege and how this can effect us and our clients. Many people told me they became more aware of how privileged monogamous couples are and that the relationship escalator (a new term for many) is something we can question and challenge.

Many people also hadn't realised that polyamory is not just about sex and thaat in fact many asexual people are also polyamorous.

The second part of Charlotte's guest talk on polyamory gave the audience an opportunity to ask Charlotte questions - a highlight for many. And boy did we get a lot of questions. We could have easily continued for another half an hour! Just shows how much counsellors want to know more about relationship diversity. And how little it was covered on many people's trainings! :(

Some of the questions we had were:

  • Do you have any advice for those with anxious attachment styles, new to polyamory?

  • What's the difference between polyamory and swinging?

  • How do you unlearn years of social conditioning, that monogamy is the way forward?

  • What advice would you give to a person who associates sex with love and has only ever had monogamous relationships and whose partner hankers for an open relationship?

Get the answers to these questions in our CPD video here.

As I write this I'm left wondering if as you read this you can think about myths and judgements about polyamorous folks you might have inadvertently given credence to that might be affecting your work as a counsellor? Is this something you have thought about before?

I hosted this event because I want things to change. I want counsellors to know more about polyamory and to begin to challenge the poor messages of polyamory they have likely been exposed to by the media.

Many counsellors I meet worry they may have internalised judgement making it difficult to fully accept relationship styles different from their own.

Clients want to know you understand common problems and solutions that arise in polyamorous relationships and that you’re going to be OK with what they want to say. Are you ready to learn more?

Did you miss our guest talk? Good news it was recorded :)

Ready to learn more? This bite sized introduction to polyamory is great value for money and very accessible. Get your 1hr video CPD here.

Don't just take it from me though, here's what people said ....

"Very interesting and helpful introduction to Polyamory." (Val Hardy - attendee)

"Very informative and a good insight to understanding polyamory and different styles of relationships." (Lianne Morewood - attendee)


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