Poly Relationships

4 Types of Polyamory Connections

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If you’re new to polyamory, you might be wondering what some of your options are. In monogamy it’s clear: You meet your soulmate and ascend the relationship escalator together, through courtship to marriage to death.

In poly relationships, the escalator stops moving, leaving you free to run up or down the stairs as you please and to grab the hands of other loves who are headed in the same direction.

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Here’s a brief explanation of some of the connections you might find along the way.

4 Types of Poly Connections

1. The Life Partner

You could be long-time spouses or new loves, married to other people, or free as a bird—all that matters is that you are one-hundred percent, ass-over-teakettle in love and intent on spending your lives together.

Maybe you decide to have a commitment ceremony, and move in together? Maybe you buy a farm in upstate New York, and invite your entire polycule to live there and work the land? Or—and this is the option I have chosen—you remain happily in your tiny one-bedroom flat, enjoying the perfect mix of solitude and connection. Commitment in the polyshere takes on many forms, the key is to find what works for you.

2. The Friend with Benefits

If commitment feels too heavy, maybe all you need is a little no-strings-attached fun? Some poly relationships leave lots of room for casual dalliances, be they with one regular friend with benefits, or several. Just make sure that everyone involved is in the know and on the same page.

As someone who has enjoyed a few of these arrangements in her day, I would suggest choosing someone who you’re attracted to but have little in common with—bonding over shared interests can lead to a deeper connection. If you’re intent on keeping things super casual, it might also help to put a time limit on it. I find that two months works well, but you might feel differently.

3. The Leap-Year Lover

This is a great option for someone who doesn’t have the time or emotional capacity to handle lots of lovers, but still wants something sexy to look forward to. The leap-year lover is a friend with benefits who surfaces very infrequently yet delivers a very intense and worthwhile experience when they do. Perhaps they live in another city and you see them once a year, or you both have demanding jobs and you can only manage to meet on the third Friday of every month.

Leap-year loves are exciting because they consist mostly of anticipation and take much longer to grow stale. They can also be heart-wrenching, though, so be sure to choose someone you won’t miss too much.

4. The Romantic Friend

Unlike the others I’ve mentioned, this kind of relationship isn’t sexual. It’s a very deep friendship that may contain many elements of an intimate relationship such as cuddling, hand holding, and kissing, but that draws the line at sexual intercourse.

This option works well for someone who craves a deep emotional connection, but is unable to achieve one with sexual partners. It’s also an option for couples who were once hot and heavy but lost the spark, as it’s a way to maintain a loving connection without putting sexual pressure on one another.

What other types of poly connects can you think of? There are so many! Share your thoughts in a comment.

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