Let’s talk about Polyamory

Is it possible to love more than one person?

Let’s face it: love is a weird thing. It comes in so many shapes and forms, and nobody quite understands it. Some say it is purely chemical, and can be explained by science; supported by fact. Others put it down to fate. In our modern day mainstream society, monogamy has become the expected norm.

A nice house, cute kids, a white picket fence – the whole lot. However, this has not always been the case. The existence of polyamorous relationships can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt, where at one point, women were allowed to go into the temple of Amun and have sex with as many people as they desired. In fact, it has even been argued that monogamy only came as a resulting need, arising from industrial capitalism and isolated suburban living. Polyamorous people find emotional fulfilment by not limiting themselves or their partners to one significant other.

Morning Glory Ravenheart Zell, who coined the term Polyamarous in 1990

What is polyamory?
A polyamorous person has open sexual or romantic relationships with more than one other person at a time. Polyamory comes from the Greek word ‘poly’ and the Latin word ‘amor’, which mean, ‘many’ and ‘love’ respectively. The word polyamory was first coined by a pagan priestess called Morning Glory Ravenheart Zell. In 1990, she wrote an article entitled, ‘A Bouquet of Lovers’, which appeared in Green Egg Magazine, referring to the new term as ‘Poly-amorous’. The words “Polyamorous” and “Polyamory” were only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. Polyamory is different to polygamy, as polygamy refers to having multiple spouses. Polyamory can be described as ethical, consensual non-monogamy (CNM). Relationships of this nature rely on trust and openness. It is not the same as cheating, as all parties involved consent to the participation of others.

Polyamory falls under the LGBT+ umbrella. The polyamory flag consists of blue stripes to represent openness; red stripes to signify love and passion, and a black stripe to show solidarity with those who are forced to hide their relationships. Sometimes the symbol for pi is used, or the infinity sign within a heart.

A version of the Polyamory flag featuring an infinity sign within a heart.

Polyamory and the Law
In 2017, Colombia legally recognised the union between three men. As it currently stands, there is no legal method of marriage for people in polyamorous relationships. In theory, this would be different from one person having multiple spouses (Polygamous marriage), as in that situation, there is no legal agreement between each of the partners. In the case of polyamorous marriage, all the people involved would have to have a contractual agreement with each of the other people involved. While marriages between more than two people are not yet legal, the UK will recognise a union or this sort if that marriage was legal in the country it took place. In 2013, two Brazilian women and a man were allowed to enter a three-way civil union, which allowed them to secure their equal rights and contributions to their family life. This is the ultimate goal of legal recognition of any union. Not only does it protect the people in the relationship, but also allows rights to be established, such as access property and pensions.

Ultimately, our concept and understanding of love and marriage is constantly evolving. It can be difficult to understand or comprehend how you could possibly love, or be in a relationship with more than one person. Nevertheless, that is just how some people are. Polyamory essentially follows the belief that we are not possessions to be owned by each other, that love is greater than just two people and their union.

For more information on polyamory, practical guides and FAQ, visit

By Zoya Chishti


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