Polyamory 101: can you cheat in a polyamorous relationship?

Although poly relationships tend to be more widely accepted and understood in the LGBT+ community, there are still some little-discussed areas of these non-monogamous relationships that throw up questions.

And in the latest exploration of what polyamory means, a question has been thrown up time and time again at PinkNews HQ: if you are polyamorous, can you cheat on your partner?

And just as there is a gross misconception that polyamory is cheating, there are misconceptions about how cheating is categorised too.

In polyamory, couples can enjoy a shared, positive experience that revolves around a great deal of openness and a strong sense of communication.

But of course like any other relationship, if you violate the personal contract agreed within a polyamorous relationship, then that violates the contract between you and your partner.

However, some may prefer to call this “breaking an agreement” rather than infidelity, and like any relationship, monogamous or otherwise, the faculty to resolve the behaviour lies between the unique people at hand.

“I was in a steady relationship with this guy, and in the beginning of our relationship, we established what cheating was for both of us. We agreed if one of us started seeing another person and we don’t tell each other about it, that’s considered cheating,” said one person named Olivia in a polyamorous relationship to VICE.

“If one person in the relationship fails to communicate honestly about an STI, trust and respect are both broken,” adds another named Bear.

And of course, there is a movement towards polyamorous marriages being accepted.

In a PinkNews exclusive, former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has said her party is “open” to discussion on the idea of civil partnership or marriages between three people. 

A study by the US-based organisation Loving More in 2012 found that 65.9% of more than 4,000 polyamorous people said would want to marry multiple people if such marriages were legal.