If you're into monogamy, the boundaries for your relationships are pretty clear. Don't kiss, sleep with, or get emotionally involved with anyone who's not your partner. But if you're in an open relationship or you're polyamorous (more on the difference between those below), those boundaries might not apply to you at all. If you're seeing more than one person, you have to create your own set of guidelines. Generally, the rules for open relationships and polyamory mandate open communication and honestly above all else. But beyond that, every person and every relationship can be a little different.
An "[open] relationship [is] where there's a primary partnership of two individuals and they can both have adventures, usually just sexual, outside that 'main' relationship," sexuality educator and social worker Aida Manduley told Elite Daily earlier this month. Meanwhile, Manduley says, "someone who's polyamorous may have an anchor family they live with, a steady sweetie in another state, casual hookup buddies in their town, and friends they 'swing' with."
Just to be clear, people who are open or poly aren't cheating. To do non-monogamy ethically, you have to practice honest, clear communication with all partners involved. Here's how seven people who are polyamorous or in open relationships discuss rules and boundaries with their partners.