8 Common Mistakes College Students Consistently Make About Polyamory

Unless you've been living under a tinder-free rock, you've heard of polyamory or non-monogamy. Although they are often used synonymously polyamory or non-monogamy are not necessarily the same.

Scarleteen, a fabulous sex ed website, defines polyamory as, "Being interested in or pursuing intimate relationships (emotional and/or sexual) with more than one person at the same time, in a consensual, open, informed setting."

Personally, I had never heard of polyamory or poly until college. At first, it was a just word I noticed in a tinder bio. Later, a friend of mine mentioned they wanted to pursue a poly relationship.

I'm still exploring my sexuality and polyamory is something I've found incredibly interesting for a few years. I have spent this time learning about and exploring polyamory.

Here are 8 common mistakes college students make about polyamory:

1. Polyamory is NOT polygamy.

Oh hey there, sister wives.

Although polyamory and polygamy sound like the same word, they are very different relationship dynamics. Polygamy tends to have religious ties, like in TLC's show, "Sister Wives" and is usually between one man and multiple women. Although polyamorous folks may choose to live together and build a family, it is not a core tenant like in many polygamous relationships.

2. Polyamory is not cheating.

From the definition above, we learned that polyamory is consensual, open and informed. By definition, it is not cheating. Relationships with multiple partners that are not consensual, open or informed may be cheating, but then they are not polyamorous.

3. Polyamory is not the same for all poly folks.

There are many different types of poly relationships.

You may be familiar with Hierarchical polyamory, "Characterized by a "primary" or "anchor" relationship with a close level of personal and possibly financial entanglement (living together, for example), and "secondary" partners beyond that relationship. A "secondary" partner isn't necessarily less important but may be a smaller part of someone's daily life."

Alternatively, someone might be a solo polyamory arrangement where they have multiple partners, but do not seek a "primary" relationship with any of them.

TDLR; just because you've met one poly person, doesn't mean you understand all poly people.

4. Polyamory is not *necessarily* risky behavior.

College students equate multiple partners with a high risk of STI/STD. While that definitely can be the case, it is still possible to practice safe sex with multiple partners. If everyone involved is practicing safe sex and regularly getting tested that equals a safer environment. Like most things in a relationship, communication is key.

5. Polyamory isn't about having—more—sex.

While poly relationships can be sexual, it doesn't make it "about" sex. Relationship building takes a lot of work and energy. It is not a shortcut to having more sex.

6. Not all poly people have multiple partners.

Just because someone identifies as poly, doesn't necessarily mean that they are currently in multiple relationships. You're still *insert sexual orientation here* even when you don't have a partner.

7. Polyamory is not about avoiding commitment.

Polyamory can be more commitment than monogamy depending on your arrangement. Committing to multiple people means taking care to multiple people's needs, wants and desires. It can certainly be less of a commitment too. It's all about what you want.

Polyamorous people get married, nest and have kids just like monogamous folks.

8. Polyamory is not always easy.

Relationships aren't easy. Polyamory isn't easier because you 'have the ability to be with more people. Poly folks still have to build and maintain healthy relationships and that's never simple.

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

Subtle Ways You May Be Disrespecting Your Friend's Relationship

If they make your friend happy, you shouldn't be doing these things.


No ones significant other wants to tell them they don't like their friends. And trying to tell anyone not to hang out with the people they're closest too is a disaster waiting to happen.

Some people really just don't like their friend's partner, but others have no idea the damage they may be doing to the relationship. If you are more aware of some things to avoid, hopefully, you, your friend, and their partner can all get along in peace.

1. When you see your friend, make sure to acknowledge their partner.

To be honest, this is a basic courtesy. If you go to say hi to anyone in a group of people, it is polite to greet, or at least acknowledge, everyone there. If you completely ignore that your friend's partner is even there, it will make them feel awkward and neglected. Just say hi.

2. Don't be overly touchy-feely with your friend, especially around their partner.

Obviously, this mostly applies to friends of the opposite sex (for heterosexual couples). Look, there is nothing wrong with having friends of the opposite sex but just know your boundaries. You may think your friend's partner is being jealous for no reason, but are you doing anything that might make them uncomfortable?

You don't need to always have your arm around them or be leaned up against them. It is really inappropriate to kiss them on the cheek or give them super long hugs, even if that is something you did before they had a partner, and even if it is completely platonic.

You can still hug and be close to your friend, just be respectful of their boundaries. If you don't give their partner any reason to be jealous then they will have no basis to dislike you.

3. If you invite your friend somewhere, it is polite to also invite their partner.

Even if you assume your friend's partner is going to come, it is nice to make them feel welcomed. And if you don't want their partner to come, make sure they are not together or planning to be together when you invite your friend.

You don't have to always have their partner around, but don't make it a habit of not inviting them. If they don't feel welcomed around their partner's friends, then they probably won't feel as confident in their relationship.

4. Don't ever bring up your friend's past relationships, especially around their partner.

Even if they are on good terms. Even if you are still friends with their ex. Just don't bring them up. No one wants to hear about their partner's past relationships or flings. It is embarrassing and uncomfortable to have to hear about your partner's exes.

5. If you are all out together, don't try to separate your friend from their partner.

There is a good chance that if you are out with your friend and their partner, their partner does not know many people there. If that is the case, don't try to separate your friend from their partner.

There may be an exception if their partner has friends around too, or if they are outgoing and can talk to anybody easily, but otherwise, it is really awkward to be in that situation alone. They are with their partner for a reason, and it is nice to make their partner feel included as well.

Just don't make it a habit to always pull your friend away.

6. Don't put your friend in any awkward or risky situations.

If your friend is a cheater, that is not really any fault of yours. But don't be the friend who is known for putting your partnered friend in risky situations.

There is nothing wrong with going out occasionally with your friends, but it does not need to be a regular occurrence, especially if it makes their partner uncomfortable.

Along the same lines, if you know an ex-partner or fling will be there, you don't need to put your friend in that awkward situation. Just be aware of the situation and how it might make their partner feel.

To wrap up, you don't need to completely change your relationship with your friend just to make their partner happy; just make sure to be polite and respectful of their partner and their relationship.

These are some subtle things you may be doing that are hurting your friend's relationship that you don't even realize have negative consequences. Simply be more aware of some of these situations and how they could potentially make your friend's partner feel. After all, the best relationships are the ones where your partner's friends also become your friends.

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My BF And I Were 'Just Friends' And Now We're Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary

Dating my best friend was the best decision I have ever made.


In August 2017, Brendan and I met. A group of friends invited him and me to go to Wendy's after a meeting for a school club. We talked the whole time — the conversation seemed endless in the best way possible. Later that night, I called him to ask him what water balloons I should buy for a celebration the next day. From that day forward, I cannot remember a day where I have not called him. It started off as nothing more as a platonic relationship from my perspective, but he would advocate otherwise.

Fast-forward to January 2018, Brendan and I started seeing each other outside of school. We would make up excuses and white lies to our friends and parents, saying that we were going to the library to study when really we would just sit in the parking lot and talk for hours until he had to drive me home. He became my best friend. I wanted to tell him everything — good news, bad news, stupid rants, my blonde moments, random and unfiltered thoughts. However, day-in and day-out, I kept denying that it was anything more than a friendship. Again, he would argue otherwise.

On April 27, 2018, I gave in.

We were sitting in his parked Dodge Durango, listening to a pop radio station. I was leaning over the center console to rest my head on his shoulder, and we were waiting for the sun to go down at a park. Abruptly, I looked over at him and ironically asked if he would be my boyfriend. For some reason, we did not tell our family or friends for about a month (sorry, Mum and Dad). I wish I would have realized it sooner, but regardless of timing, dating my best friend was the best decision I have ever made.

Christmas 2018Olivia Zidzik

Since then, our relationship has overcome insane distances.

Being 12 miles away turned into 1,601 miles when he went on a service trip to Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic this past summer. It went back to 12 miles for a little while. However, at the end of the summer, it turned into 413 miles when I moved to the University of Kentucky. In October, we were only a few feet apart as I hid behind his car in his school parking lot to surprise him. After I have returned and left home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break, he decided it was time for him to come to Lexington in March 2019.

All the time spent together and apart brings us to our one year — April 27, 2019.

Hey, Brendan: Although we will be 413 miles apart for it, happy one-year. You have been my rock and my best friend for the past 20-some months, and there are not enough thank you's that I can say to express how thankful I am that God put you in my life. I am so beyond grateful and appreciative for everything you have done and sacrificed for me and for us. I cannot wait to see where our journey will go next, but until then — here's to me and you. I love you. See you very very soon.

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