7 PolyAM Terms Everyone Should Know
1. Ethical Non-Monogamy
The practice of engaging in multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships simultaneously with the consent and knowledge of all parties, as opposed to unethical non-monogamy, aka cheating. This is generally regarded as an umbrella term that includes polyamory, open relationships, swinging, solo poly, relationship anarchy, and poly-fi relationships, similar to how queer is the umbrella term that covers gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc. Sometimes also called "consensual" or "responsible" non-monogamy.
2. Polyamory (Polyam)
The practice of engaging in multiple romantic relationships simultaneously with the consent and knowledge of all parties. Poly means many, and amory means love, so this type of ethical non-monogamy usually focuses on having multiple loving relationships, which may or may not include sexual activity.
This is not to be confused with polygamy, like on Big Love, which is the practice of having multiple spouses and tends to be more gender normative/heteronormative and closely tied to religion. There are different ways to structure poly relationships, such as hierarchical versus non-hierarchical, open versus closed, and solo polyversus a more "relationship escalator" oriented approach.
Choosing to not use barrier protection during sex with a partner, usually with an agreement about safer sex with other people (and hopefully after appropriate STI testing). Mono folks fluid-bond, too, but I'd never heard the term before becoming part of the poly community. It's possible to fluid-bond with more than one person in poly relationships, it's just a bit more complicated.
Considered the opposite of jealousy, compersion is the feeling of experiencing joy because another is experiencing joy. While we usually use it in reference to feeling joy when a partner is happy about a metamour (aka your partner's partner), compersion is really the antonym for jealous in any context. That feeling of joy you get when you see a toddler get really excited and joyful? Compersion.
5. Triad & Quad
A triad is a polyamorous relationship between three people. Usually, this refers to a relationship where all three people are actively involved with each other (A is dating B, B is dating C, and A is dating C), also known as a "delta" or "triangle" triad or the more recent "throuple." However, the term can also refer to "vee" relationships, where two people are both dating one person (the hinge) but not each other. These relationships can be either open or closed/poly-fi.
A quad is the same as a triad, only with four people instead of three.
6. Hierarchical Versus Non-Hierarchical Relationships
Hierarchical relationships usually refers to when some relationships are considered more important than others (ex: "my husband will always come before anyone else"), although in some cases it's more of a descriptor, used to describe levels of commitments (ex: "my husband gets a majority of my resources because we live and are raising children together, but that doesn't mean I love or consider him more important than my other partners"). Prescriptive hierarchical relationships are controversial in the poly community, seen by many as inherently unethical.
Non-hierarchical relationships come in various forms, but the factor that ties them together is that no one relationship holds more power than others by default.
7. Primary/Secondary Partner(s) Versus Nesting Partner(s)
Hierarchical relationships tend to use the terms primary, secondary, and sometimes tertiary, describing various levels of importance and commitment. Again, these terms can be either prescriptive ("she is my primary partner, so she will always come before my secondary partner") or descriptive ("I raise children and share finances with my wife, so she is my primary partner, and my girlfriend and I don't have those entanglements, so she is my secondary partner"). Primary partners may or may not co-habitate.
A nesting partner, on the other hand, is a live-in partner (or partners). This person may or may not be a primary partner, as well, but nesting partner is often used to replace the term primary partner while still describing a higher level of entanglement in order to avoid hierarchical language.
A group for Polyamory minded people in Christchurch and surrounding areas. Polyamory (from Greek πολύ poly, "many, several", and Latin amor, "love") is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy". People who identify as polyamorous believe in an open relationship with a conscious management of jealousy; they reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed, long-term loving relationships.