Is a polyamorous relationship right for you?

Polyamorous relationships involve being in love with more than one person. And by being in love, we mean having an intimate relationship. But is a polyamorous relationship right for you? If you and your partner have looked into it and you're both ready, willing, and looking to act on it, you could be the right candidates for this type of romance. But before you jump into a polyamorous relationship, experts say it's be a good idea to sit down with your partner so that you're both clear about what it entails.

Relationship experts say that polyamorous relationships aren't exactly well defined. "A polyamorous relationship might include three or more relatively equal partners in an ongoing romantic emotional relationship either sharing a home or dating," relationship therapist Matt Lundquist told Women's Health. "Or there are also relationships where one or both partners have a more casual relationship 'on the side.'"

New York-based relationship expert Susan Winter explained to the Independent that "the fundamental philosophy of polyamory is that sexual love shouldn't be confined to the strictures of monogamy, but expressed freely and fully." Another important aspect of polyamorous relationships is that individuals involved are aware of each other's lovers.

Polyamorous relationships can cause plenty of confusion

The fluid nature of polyamory can explain why the concept seems so confusing to those who don't practice it. Polyamorous relationships are not open relationships. That's because, as the Independent noted, polyamory isn't really just about sex, while an open relationship is all about having sexual encounters that don't become relationships. Neither concept should also confused with polygamy, which is more tied to religion and the patriarchy, and usually has to do with a man having several wives (via Women's Health).

The key condition of a polyamorous relationship is that the partners involved have talked the whole thing through. "Thoughtful polyamorous relationships often come with rules and agreements ironed out early on," Lundquist told Women's Health. He suggested that couples talk about how they both feel about this potential development, if polyamory is something they both want, why they are motivated to go into this type of relationship, how secure their relationship is, whether there are rules they want the other to follow, and whether this time might influence the future of their relationship.

Both sides also need to be fully aware of unintended consequences, of which jealousy plays the biggest part. "This is the most obvious question but also the most important and the hardest to answer," Lundquist stated. "Even when a given partner doesn't want to be jealous or possessive, monogamy is so heavily ingrained in our culture some people just can't get there."