What is Polyfidelity and How Does it Work?

As we evolve to accept and understand different ways of expressing, being, and loving, polyfidelity is rising as an intriguing alternative to monogamy and polyamory.

We will explore polyfidelity’s principles, structure, benefits, challenges, and tantalizing nuances. Is this relationship structure right for you?

Polyamorous group holding hands at home

What is polyfidelity?

Polyfidelity is a form of ethical non-monogamy. It’s a romantic structure in which three or more people agree to an equal and closed relationship with each other. This makes it different from other kinds of open relationships.

Polyfidelitous people agree to restrict romantic and/or sexual activity to other members of the group. A polyfidelitous relationship with three members is called a closed triad relationship.

Like monogamy, polyfidelity has the principles of closed commitment combined with the expansive possibilities of polyamory.

Polyfidelitous partners might choose to live together and share household and financial responsibilities. They might live separately, meet together to date, and go on holiday together.

Respect and communication are the foundation of polyfidelity. As long as everyone is informed, honestly communicating, and consenting, these relationships can be as happy, healthy, and durable as any other kind.

Polyfidelity vs polyamory

What’s the difference between polyfidelity and polyamory?

Polyfidelity is a form of polyamory in that it centers around the possibility of having emotional and/or sexual bonds with multiple people. However, not all polyamorous bonds are polyfidelitous.

Happy group of people by the sea

Polyfidelity differs from polyamory in its nonhierarchical structure, while polyamory allows for more flexibility when it comes to forming new connections and the possibility of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ partner configurations.

Polyfidelity tends to have more clearly defined rules. The bonds between polyfidelitous partners, whether in a closed triad relationship or more members, emphasize exclusivity, depth, mutual trust and understanding, responsibility, and faithfulness.

Relationships change all the time. A polyfidelitous closed triad relationship, quad, or another polycule can open up to new bonds or alter its dynamics if wants, needs, or contexts change.

Advantages of polyfidelity

Everyone’s relationship is different and polyfidelitous people will make up their own rules, but the structure of polyfidelity comes with unique advantages.

Emotional and sexual experience

Multiple partners mean more and more varied sexual experiences and romantic bonds.

It allows you to experience the thrill of deep emotional connection with more than one individual, enjoy establishing dynamics, and enjoy the excitement of learning about and from someone new.

Shared support and responsibilities

Deep connections with multiple partners also mean there are more people to offer care and emotional support when you’re down.

Daily tasks like household chores, financial burdens, and parenting may also be shared.

Artistic nude of couple embracing black and white

Personal growth and exploration

More bonds mean more exposure to people’s rich inner worlds, interests, hobbies, and social circles.

You will learn more about yourself and the world. Polyfidelitous people also tend to be highly skilled in relationship skills like openness, conflict management, and empathy because polyfidelity’s structure demands it.

Challenges of polyfidelity

Jealousy and emotions

A closed triad relationship or other kind involving more than two people will have more challenges. And one in which more than two people are sharing romance and sex will have more dynamics, jealousy, and human emotions to consider.

Life can get in the way of even the most well-planned schedules. Accidental circumstances or changing emotions can lead to feelings of neglect or unmet expectations.

Time management

More people means more emotional needs to talk about and tend to. More dates, birthdays, holidays, families…

This can require lots of energy and be draining for some.

Societal misunderstanding

Polyfidelity isn’t yet a widely known type of relationship. As such, people in polyfidelitous partnerships can face misunderstanding or even judgment from people who haven’t been exposed to this way of loving.

Three happy people in bed together

Is polyfidelity right for you?

Because this relationship style demands defined boundaries and expectations, a willingness to be emotionally vulnerable and openly communicate on difficult topics, a desire to deal with jealousy, and an understanding that different people meet others' needs in different ways, polyfidelity isn’t for everyone.

But if the honesty, openness, and connectedness of polyfidelity resonate, it could be right for you.

You can start exploring by discussing desires with your partner, seeking tips and advice from friends in closed triad relationships or other formulations and online communities, and preparing yourself for the challenges, and joys, ahead.