Polyamory — as a healthy, socially acceptable alternative to monogamy — is increasingly prevalent. People who identify as polyamorous agree that despite the hardest parts about being polyamorous, it's still ideal if you're naturally inclined toward the lifestyle. Like any other relationship, a poly relationship requires mutual understanding among all those involved, as well as honest and effective communication about personal needs, desires, and boundaries.
Although non-monogamous by definition, polyamorous relationships can sometimes look like monogamous ones from the outside. The difference, though, is that a polyamorous person can engage in multiple, simultaneous relationships with individual partners.
"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," Aida Manduley, sexuality educator and social worker, explained to Elite Daily earlier this month. The benefits of being polyamorous typically include more romantic flexibility, greater freedom of sexual expression, and less pressure to subscribe to norms like traditional relationship timelines.
Still, with so many moving parts, you can probably guess that it's not always easy to navigate polyamory, especially if you've only ever had monogamous relationships up until now. To satisfy my own personal interests and to help those of you who might have similar questions, I've gathered what most poly people deem the most difficult realizations you'll face if you embrace a poly lifestyle.