Polyamory vs Polygamy: 18 Key Differences, Tips, and More
In This Article
Many people are used to monogamous relationships, which involve being married to one person. However, other types of relationships exist and are as successful as monogamous relationships. A good example is polyamory vs. polygamy.
In this article, you will learn what each concept means, and you will get answers to questions like how does polygamy work, etc. Additionally, you will get tips on how to handle a relationship the right way and what to expect.
What do polygamy and polyamory mean?
It is expedient to note that polyamory vs polygamy has close meanings and similarities, but they do not mean the same thing. Hence, if you have asked questions like what is the difference between polygamy and polyamory, understand that their uniqueness starts from what they fundamentally mean.
Polyamory is a consensual relationship where people engage in a romantic and emotional relationship that involves more than one person. This means that three or four people and above can be involved in this relationship, with everyone aware of one another.
In comparison, polygamy is a practice where one person is married to multiple partners. Polygamy is divided into Polygyny and Polyandry.
People often mistake the meaning of Polygyny for Polygamy. Polygyny is a union involving a man and multiple women. In comparison, Polyandry is a marriage practice where a woman has more than one husband. When it comes to intimacy in polygamy, it depends on how the partners in the union decide to do it.
To know more about Polyamory, check out this research study by Daniel Cardoso and other brilliant authors. This article helps you learn more about handling a consensual non-monogamous relationship.
Related Reading: How Does a Polyamorous Marriage Work- Meaning, Benefits, Tips
What is the difference between polygamy and polyamory- 5 key differences
Many people mistake both terms for each other because of their close meanings. However, when it comes to Polyamory vs. Polygamy, it is important to note that they are different from each other in some ways.
It is important to mention that Polyamory vs. Polygamy are gender-neutral terminologies. This means that both terms can be used when men have several romantic partners of any gender or women with many multiple partners of any gender.
Additionally, it could mean nonbinary individuals with several romantic partners of any gender.
When it comes to polygamy, one person has more than one spouse as their married partner. Polygamy is divided into Polygyny and Polyandry. Polygyny occurs when a man has more than one wife. In contrast, Polyandry is a practice where a woman has more than one husband.
For polyamory, it is when a man is romantically linked with many partners (men and women) or when a woman has multiple partners (men or women). Irrespective of the combination, all parties involved are aware of each other. So, it is as open as possible.
Related Reading: Polyamorous Relationship Rules
When it comes to marriage, the difference between Polygamy and Polyamory is quite distinct. Polygamy involves marriage specifically. This involves a man having more than one wife and a woman having more than one husband. All the parties involved have a legally binding commitment to one another.
On the other hand, polyamory is a multiple partner relationship. It involves an intimate union that encompasses both dating and marriage. No one in this union would blame any party for cheating because the relationship is consensual but not legally backed.
Another factor that cannot be left out in the polyamory vs. polygamy differences is religion.
There are some people who practice polygamy because their religion allows it. For instance, you will find some Muslims in a Polygamy relationship. Although, there are some Muslims who do not support polygamy. When it comes to polyamory, anyone can practice it irrespective of their religion. However, if their religion forbids it and they are caught in the act, they might be regarded as sinners.
Another difference between Polyamory vs. Polygamy is its legality. When it comes to the legal status of a multiple-partner relationship like polygamy, not all countries have made it legal. This is why anyone who wants a Polygamous relationship would organize a wedding ceremony that the state or region does not recognize.
Some countries in the Middle East and some parts of Africa recognize polygamous marriages. However, what really applies, in this case, is Polygyny, where a man is allowed to have several wives. Polyandry, on the other hand, is not recognized by most countries and states.
Hence, a Polyamorous relationship is seen as an alternative since it is unconventional. Many people are allowed to have several partners if all the parties involved agree with it.
Related Reading: What Is Polyamory and How to Make It Work for Your Relationship
Concerning the differences between Polyamory vs. Polygamy, another factor to consider is its origin. Poly is a Greek word for “many,” while Gamos means “marriage.” Hence, Polygamous means a marriage involving many partners.
In comparison, polyamory also takes its origin from the Greek word “poly,” meaning “many.” The word amor is Latin, and it means Love or many loves. This makes Polyamorous the practice of being romantically linked with several people simultaneously.
Therefore, they are closely knitted when it comes to the origin of Polyamory vs. Polygamy.
To understand Polygamy and how does polygamy work sexually on a wider scale, check out this research study by Guzel IIgizovna Galleva titled: Polygamy as a form of marriage, which is based on sociological research
Knowing how a polyamorous relationship works
It is important to mention that even though polyamorous relationships are seen as something you can do freely, there are rules that should be followed. Couples are allowed to modify these rules as they deem fit.
However, following these rules are important for a Polyamorous relationship to last.
1. Seek your partner’s consent
Before you engage in a polyamorous relationship, you need to seek your spouse’s consent. If you don’t tell them your intentions, you will be cheating on them. And you risk losing the relationship in the long run.
Therefore, let your partner know what you are up to before going into a polyamorous relationship.
2. Give clear definitions of what you want
Many people enter into a relationship without stating clear terms of what they want. Before you go into polyamory, you need to be clear about what you want in the relationship.
You need to give answers to important questions that your partner might have. Overall, it would be helpful to have a list of all the expectations and boundaries of the relationship.
3. Don’t neglect your primary partner
When you enter into a polyamorous relationship, be careful not to forget about your partner. Even though you are involved with other people, you need to give your partner equal attention. Always ensure they feel loved and cared for.
Related Reading: What Happens When There Is Lack of Attention in Relationship?
4. Use protection
In a polyamorous relationship, you might most likely have sexual relations with people apart from your partner. While you get involved in this, ensure you use protection to prevent features like STDs and unplanned pregnancy. It is important not to put your primary partner at risk of contracting STDs.
5. Define clear boundaries
Without boundaries in a relationship, it is bound to fail. With multiple partners in a relationship, you or your partner might get jealous. Therefore, you and your partner need to dictate your wants and dislikes. This will make all the parties involved recognize the lines they should not cross.
Related Reading: Setting Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship
6. Avoid your partner’s partner
In a polyamorous relationship, you need to stay out of your partner’s business when it comes to who they are with. This doesn’t mean that you avoid them completely. You can have an idea of some things that are going on.
However, be careful not to act as an intrusive third party. Respect your partner’s affairs so that it will not cause conflict in your relationship.
7. Don’t force yourself to do what your partner is doing
One of the mistakes that people in polyamorous relationships make is replicating what their partner is doing. Most people often do this because they want to spite their partner and make them jealous. If your partner has someone else that they are intimate with, you don’t have to do the same.
Be careful not to turn your relationship into a competition because it would not be healthy for all involved parties. If the opportunity comes for you to do it, you can accept. However, do not force it if you don’t get the chance.
8. Communicate clearly
For a polyamorous relationship to function well, communication has to be top-tier. If you are not happy with some things in the relationship, you need to speak out. It is important not to communicate from a place of spite or jealousy.
Rather, let your communication be from a good heart that wants everyone to be happy. While you communicate, ensure it is done honestly and openly. Do not be afraid of revealing your innermost fears and expectations. This would help you and your partner navigate the relationship the right way.
Related Reading: 20 Ways to Improve Communication in a Relationship
How to know the right relationship for you
In a Polyamory vs. polygamy union or relationship, how can you know which one is right for you? With some of these points, you will realize that the signs are the same across the board, irrespective of the type of relationship.
1. You are comfortable with all the parties
Since both- polygamy sexuality and polyamorous sexuality relationship involve multiple partners, you will know if it is right when you are at ease with everyone.
If the reverse is the case, you might need to answer some of the doubtful questions in your mind. When you are not comfortable in the relationship, you will want to pull out.
2. There is trust in the relationship
If you wonder how to know the right polygamy relationships or the perfect polyamorous union, watch out for the trust feature.
You need to ask yourself important questions centered on trust. If you discover that the answer to these questions is positively inclined, you can go ahead with the relationship. On the other hand, if it is vice-versa, you need to address some of your hidden fears with your partner.
Related Reading: 15 Ways on How to Build Trust in a Relationship
Check out these signs of trust in the relationship:
3. You can see a future for everyone
Have you wondered if there’s a future for you and your partners in any relationship? If you do not, you need to evaluate the status of the relationship. Generally, each relationship comes with a list of goals and objectives that all parties would work together to achieve.
Hence, if it looks like everyone is living each day as it comes with no specific purpose in mind, then the relationship might have been a good idea. After carefully assessing your relationship in futuristic terms, make the necessary corrections to ensure that there is a future for everyone in the union.
Related Reading: 10 Signs You Are Not on the Same Page in the Relationship
4. Your partners excite you
No one wants a relationship where their partners do not cause the emergence of butterflies in their belly. You need to feel excited by the thoughts of your partners because it shows that you love and care for them.
However, if your partners are afterthoughts, the relationship needs to be reevaluated properly. You need to point to many reasons that show that your partner is the right person for you. And being excited and happy just by thinking of them is important.
5. You resolve conflicts easily
One important factor you need to consider in polyamory vs. polygamy relationship is how fast you make up with your partners after an argument. If you spend time before walking through fallouts, then there is possibly no understanding and love in the relationship.
If you discover that you or your partners are reluctant to call a truce after a conflict, all the parties do not value one another.
It is important to find solid ways to resolve arguments and conflicts for the relationship to last. However, when you discover that it is hard to achieve this, it is best to reevaluate the existence of the relationship.
To understand more about what Polygamy and Polyamory entail, check out this book by Daniel Young titled Polygamy. You will learn concepts like Polygyny, Polyandry, and Polyamory.
After reading through this polyamory vs. polygamy article, you now know what both types of relationships involve. You need to understand that both relationships can pan out well provided all the parties are ready to work.
If any of the partners are not deliberate about the relationship, it might not last. You can also seek help from relationship counselors or take courses that will help you learn how to handle a relationship the right way.
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