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Open Relationships & Polyamory

Fishtown Wellness Center / Couples and Relationships  / Open Relationships & Polyamory

Open Relationships & Polyamory

Open Relationships & Polyamory

There are many ways that folks can decide to have their romantic, sexual, or platonic relationships. Most people are familiar with monogamy, where two people are in a closed, committed relationship with each other. Most people practice serial monogamy, where they only date one person at a time, but they don’t date only one/the same person their whole lives. However, there are other relationship structures that people may use. In this article, we will go over the basics of open relationships and polyamory and what that means.

Open relationship

  • a relationship in which the couple pursues (usually sexual) connections outside their main relationship
  • can be used as an umbrella term for different forms of multiple relationship structures
  • many times used in context as short-term or purely sexual encounters outside of the primary relationship


  • any arrangement where people have consensual romantic, sexual, or intimate relations
  • can be used as an umbrella term for different forms of multiple relationship structures


  • multiple or the capacity for multiple consensual, loving relationships
  • Hierarchical polyamory – prioritization of partners; primary partners, secondary partners, etc.
  • Non-hierarchical polyamory – one partner is not prioritized or thought of as the “main” partner
  • Kitchen table polyamory – when folks partners are all friendly and could sit down at the kitchen table together
  • Throuple – not only are you dating two people, but those two people are also dating each other; a three-person relationship 


These relationship structures are all based on consent. Each person in the relationship knows and has agreed to the relationship style. Some people like to call non-monogamy “ethical non-monogamy” but non-monogamy itself is ethical, or else it’s called cheating!

Need advice?

Our therapists are specialized in non-traditional relationship structures. Click HERE to learn more.

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