Home Family & Relationship Polyamory vs Open Relationships: What’s the Difference?

Polyamory vs Open Relationships: What’s the Difference?

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Most modern couples prefer monogamy, but that’s not the only available option. For centuries, some people were in open or polyamorous love bonds, simply because it suited them best. You can experience amazing poly relationships online – just join https://www.dating.com/polyamorous/! But before you start, what is the difference between an open relationship and polyamory?

The basic differences

To explain the difference between open relationships and polyamory, let’s compare polyamory vs open relationship point to point. Therefore, you’ll be able to understand which one of them (if any) suits you the best.

Emotional bonding

In polyamorous bonds, people can form deep emotional ties with multiple lovers at the same time. These relationships focus on building strong emotional connections, allowing individuals to have meaningful connections with more than one partner. For instance, someone in a polyamorous bond may deeply love and care for two romantic partners.

In open relationships, individuals may have sexual or romantic interactions with others outside their main partnership, but the emphasis is often more on physical connections rather than emotional ones. For example, a person in an open relationship might have casual sexual encounters with others while still feeling emotionally connected to their main partner.

Communication and honesty

In polyamorous bonds, there’s a strong emphasis on open and honest communication among all partners. This means discussing feelings, desires, and boundaries regularly to ensure everyone’s needs are respected. For example, partners in a polyamorous bond might have frequent conversations about their emotions and the state of their bonds.

Similarly, open relationships also require clear communication, particularly regarding sexual activities outside the main partnership. However, there might be less discussion about emotions or involving all partners in decision-making. For instance, a couple in an open bond might set rules about practicing safe sex and informing each other about other partners but might not delve deeply into emotional connections with those partners.

Rules and limits

Polyamorous couples usually have clear rules and agreements, including guidelines for how much time lovers spend with each other and what kinds of activities are okay. People in a polyamorous bonds might agree on how often they see each other and whether they’re comfortable with their partners having other romantic or sexual partners.

In open relationships, there might be fewer set rules, giving partners more freedom to decide how they interact with others outside their main relationship. Boundaries can vary and might change over time. For instance, a couple in an open relationship might agree to tell each other about their other partners but might not have rules about how often they see those partners.

Main partnership

In some polyamorous bonds, partners have a primary lover or lovers who they share important decisions and commitments with, alongside other partners they’re emotionally connected to. For instance, someone in a polyamorous bond might live with one partner and share finances with them while also having emotional relationships with other partners.

Open bond may or may not involve a main partnership, and how important the main partnership is can vary a lot. For example, a couple in an open relationship might see their outside partners as just as important as their main partner, without favoring one relationship over the others.




Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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