Another is the image of a parrot , since "Polly" is a common name for these birds. Polyfidelity , which involves multiple romantic relationships with sexual contact restricted to specific partners in a group which may include all members of that group.
Sub-relationships, which distinguish between "primary" and "secondary" relationships e. Polygamy polygyny and polyandry , in which one person marries several spouses who may or may not be married to, or have romantic relationships with, one another. Group relationships and group marriage , in which all consider themselves associated to one another, popularized to some extent by Robert A. Networks of interconnecting relationships, where a particular person may have relationships of varying degrees of importance with various people.
So-called "geometric" arrangements, which are described by the number of people involved and their relationship connections. Examples include "triads" and "quads", along with "V" and "N" geometries. A triad could be either a V or a triangle. The fringes and outliers of polyamory Main article: Terminology within polyamory The expression open relationship denotes a relationship most often between two people, although there are also open group marriages in which participants may have sexual connections with others, within the context of the existing relationship's negotiated agreements.
When a married couple makes such an agreement, it may be termed an open marriage. Some forms of polyamorous relationship are not "open" e.
And some self-identified open relationships may be open only sexually, while exclusive emotionally. However, there is broad overlap between open relationships and polyamory. Polyamory is not an exclusive identification; it is possible for a person with polyamorous relationships to also engage in casual sex, traditional swinging, sexually but not emotionally open relationships, or even to patronize sex workers. Sometimes polyamorous people have been known to engage in infidelities or secret affairs, although this is no better accepted in polyamorous communities than in monogamous ones.
There is some disagreement within polyamory as to whether somebody in a sexually and romantically exclusive dyadic relationship should be considered polyamorous if they have additional non-sexual but emotionally intimate friendships. Many monogamous people have close emotional ties to friends and relatives without finding that incompatible with societal monogamous values, so long as sexual and romantic elements are excluded, and thus feel no need for a non-monogamous identity. The transgressive aspect which definitively separated polyamory from monogamy and led to the need for distinguishing terminology and subculture was the sexual or romantic element of those additional relationships.
However, some people in sexually exclusive relationships but with additional close emotional friendships do self-identify as polyamorous, and as they often share many subcultural values, the community accepts such people. There is some ambiguity about whether polyamory is a description of current practice as objectively observable, or is an underlying attitude or "orientation" similar to, for example, heterosexuality.
Some people identify as polyamorous because of what they seek or are open to, even if at present they are in relationship with only one other person, or have no sexual loving relationships. And some self-identified polyamorists could agree to a monogamous relationship with a partner with whom that works best, or could be open to a polyamorous relationship with a different partner. That is, they in essence define "polyamorous" in broader terms of being compatible with and open to the option of polyamory in some relationships, rather than a narrower sense of being incompatible with monogamy and requiring polyamory in all relationships.
See also forms of nonmonogamy for other types of nonmonogamous relationship. Egalitarian polyamory is culturally rooted in such concepts as choice and individuality, rather than in religious traditions. However, polygamy advocacy groups and activists and egalitarian polyamory advocacy groups and activists can and do work together cooperatively see LovingMorePolyactive  and PolyLegal  and Principle Voices .
In addition, the two subcommunities have many common issues poly parenting, dealing with jealousy, legal and social discrimination, etc. Moreover, there is considerable cultural diversity within both subcommunities. Religiously motivated polygamy has its Islamic , Mormon fundamentalist , Christian Plural Marriage , Jewish  and other varieties; similarly, many egalitarian polyamorists have cultural ties to Naturism  , Neo-Pagans ,  BDSM , Modern Tantra ,  and other special interest groups.
For example, egalitarian polyamory and BDSM often face similar challenges e. However, most Western countries do not permit marriage among more than two people.
Nor do they give strong and equal legal protection e. Individuals involved in polyamorous relationships are considered by the law to be no different from people who live together, or "date", under other circumstances. Bigamy is the act of marrying one person while already being married to another, and is legally prohibited in most countries where monogamy is the cultural norm. Some bigamy statutes are broad enough to potentially encompass polyamorous relationships involving cohabitation , even if none of the participants claim marriage to more than one partner.
For instance, under Utah Code , "A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person. There are exceptions to this: Some states were prompted to review their laws criminalizing consensual sexual activity in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v.
One reading of Justice Kennedy's opinion in Lawrence is that states may not constitutionally burden any private, consensual sexual activity between adults. Such a reading would throw laws against fornication, adultery, and even adult incest into question. New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act could in theory be used to legally connect more than two persons albeit imperfectly , perhaps using a combination of marriage and domestic partnership.
However, no case law in support of this theory as yet exists. The California same-sex marriage SSM ruling] has created a system in which a same-sex couple or even an opposite-sex couple could be married, in a domestic partnership, and in a separate civil union all at the same time. As a result, three or more people could claim community property rights in the same piece of property, parental rights over children, and the rights to alimony, child support, death benefits, insurance proceeds and employee benefits belonging to one of the other parties.
Therefore, a person who is part of a [ While this would mean that [people] could not enter into a domestic partnership after they are already married, it does not prevent them from getting married after entering into a domestic partnership. This would mean that [if] Parties An and B [ That is, it is not known whether these laws could treat some trios or larger groups as common-law marriages. If marriage is intended, most countries provide for both a religious marriage, and a civil ceremony sometimes combined.
These recognize and formalize the relationship. Few Western countries give either religious or legal recognition — or permission — to marriages with three or more partners. While a recent case in the Netherlands was commonly read as demonstrating that the Netherlands permitted multiple-partner civil unions ,  this belief is mistaken.
The relationship in question was a samenlevingscontract , or "cohabitation contract," and not a registered partnership or marriage Dutch-language source , English-language source. The Netherlands' law concerning registered partnerships provides that: A person may be involved in one only registered partnership with one other person whether of the same or of opposite sex at any one time. Persons who enter into a registered partnership may not at the same time be married.
Married people with partners external to their marriage need to consider carefully the laws in their jurisdiction, to ensure that they are complied with, and consider how to ensure that the mutuality of their decision within their marriage is clear.
Legal theory Edit There is an ongoing discussion among polyamory activists regarding a legal model of polyamorous marriage i. One debate centers around the relative merits of an all-with-all approach to marriage whereby three or more persons are all joined together at the same time within a single marriage and dyadic networks whereby existing laws against bigamy are revised such that people are perfectly free to be concurrently married to multiple other persons, provided that each such new marriage is preceded by a legal notification regarding the pending new marriage to all those to whom one is already married; failure to provide that legal notification would then constitute the updated crime of bigamy.
Dyadic networks would result in what might be thought of as a "molecular" family structure — one which might be best represented by the molecular diagrams commonly used in chemistry. In this way, marriage would remain a dyadic relationship i. Dyadic networks can correctly represent any situation associated with the "all-with-all" paradigm, as well as many situations that the "all-with-all" paradigm cannot deal with.
A "complete" dyadic network would take the form of a complete graph , in which every person is pairwise married to every other person, thus correctly representing any situation associated with the "all-with-all" paradigm.
A dyadic network may also represent situations in which some persons are pairwise married to some members of the dyadic network but not to all of them "V" and "N" geometries, for example — these are situations that the "all-with-all" marriage paradigm is unable to accurately represent. The "all-with-all" marriage paradigm assumes that everyone is equally involved with everyone else in the group — one global marriage agreement has to fit every participant at the same time.
But dyadic network marriages separately define the terms of each specific 2-person relationship, and these dyadic marriages do not typically happen at the same time A marries B, B marries C "V" structure , C marries D "N" structure , etc. Participants in a dyadic network need not even be aware of the specific terms of marriage agreements existing elsewhere within the same dyadic network. Under the "all-with-all" marriage paradigm, when irreconcilable differences arise there can be no alternative to a complete separation — one person cannot divorce another without ending the entire marriage agreement for everyone involved.
But dyadic networks can function in much the same way as watertight compartmentalization functions in naval vessels, i. An intense disagreement between two persons takes place within the context of their marriage, and need not greatly involve or threaten the relationships between other participants. Within a well-connected dyadic network, a divorce between two persons need not result in a complete separation of the network — for example, a dyadic network with triangle geometry would simply turn into a dyadic network with "V" geometry.
An "all-with-all" marriage can only exist or cease to exist. In contrast, the shape of a dyadic network can dynamically change over time. Divorces subtract connections, and marriages add connections. The dyadic network itself either changes shape, separates into two dyadic networks, or merges into another dyadic network, depending on the precise nature of the newly added or subtracted connection. The maximum size of an "all-with-all" marriage is limited by the fact that every participant must be aware of the existence of every other participant otherwise the global marriage contract would be invalid, because it could not satisfy the legal condition known as a "meeting of the minds".
But since a dyadic network relies only upon every participant's local knowledge of his or her own direct partners, its size is theoretically unlimited.
The dyadic network paradigm is so powerful that it is theoretically capable of managing a situation in which every adult on earth is legally joined together in a single enormous dyadic network. Thus, with the dyadic network model, the idea of "many loves" is directly translated into a practical reality, and the "infinity" symbol representing love without limits is directly matched by a marriage model capable of handling an infinitely large number of participants.
However, the "all-with-all" or "dyadic" are not the only possible forms of polyamorous marriage. As another example, entry and exit of a marriage contract may follow the model of shareholders in a corporation or members in a limited liability corporation.
Polyamory as a lifestyle Separate from polyamory as a philosophical basis for relationship, are the practical ways in which people who live a polyamorous lifestyle arrange their lives, the issues they face, and how these compare to those living a monogamous lifestyle. Values within polyamory Main article: Values within polyamory Relationships classed as polyamorous involve an emotional bond and often a longer term intent, though these distinctions are a topic open to debate and interpretation.
Many people in the swinging and polyamory communities see both practices as part of a broader spectrum of open intimacy and sexuality. Also note that the values discussed here are ideals. As with any ideals, their adherents sometimes fall short of the mark — but major breaches of a polyamorous relationship's ideals are taken as seriously as such breaches would be in any other relationship.
Common values cited within such relationships include: Fact Fidelity and loyalty: Many polyamorists define fidelity as being faithful to the promises and agreements they have made, rather than in terms of per se sexual exclusivity.
Having a secret sexual relationship which violated one's negotiated agreements would be seen as lacking fidelity. Polyamorists generally base definitions of commitment on considerations other than sexual exclusivity, e. Most polyamorists emphasize respect, trust and honesty for all partners. This requires that each partner will support, and not undermine, the other, and will not deliberately use a secondary relationship to harm another party or relationship. Because there is no "standard model" for polyamorous relationships, and reliance upon common expectations may not be realistic, polyamorists often advocate explicitly deciding the ground rules of their relationships with all concerned, and often emphasize that this should be an ongoing process of communication and respect.
Polyamorists usually take a pragmatic approach to their relationships; they accept that sometimes they and their partners will make mistakes and fail to live up to these ideals, and that communication is important for repairing any breaches.
Polyamorists believe that restrictions on other deep relationships are not for the best, as they tend to replace trust with a framework of ownership and control.