All right, so what is “polyamory”?
The word “polyamory” is based on the Greek and Latin for “many loves” (literally, poly many + amore love). A polyamorous relationship is a romantic relationship that involves more than two people.
You mean, like swinging?
Not exactly. Swinging has a different focus. Swingers focus on recreational sex, though friendships and deeper bonds may develop. With polyamory, deep relationships are the focus, though the sex is often fun.
Oh, I gotcha. So, like, you have a girlfriend on the side.
No. That is something different as well. The technical term for that is “cheating.”
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
No. The thing that defines a polyamorous relationship is that everyone involved knows about, and agrees to, everyone else’s involvement.
If you are married, and you have a girlfriend that your wife doesn’t know about, or that your wife suspects but isn’t sure about, or that your wife knows about but isn’t happy with, you’re not poly, you’re cheating. Similarly, if you’re banging the milkman while your husband is out of town, you’re not poly, you’re cheating.
Polyamory is defined by informed consent of all the participants. Without it, it ain’t poly. If you can’t invite your lover over to Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of your family because you don’t want anyone to know what you’re doing, it probably ain’t poly.