Non-Traditional Polyamorous Relationship Structures

examples of healthy polyamory | healthy non-monogamy |what is polyamory

Last week I posted about relationship options in non-monogamy, I wanted to dive in a little further this week to share some of the more specific ways people enact different kinds of open relationships for all of you who are new to polyamory.  

Once you're tailoring your relationships to your unique needs, you get to define the structures as they best fit you. Most successfully polyamorous couples are pretty creative in order to best meet the needs of their evolving relationship.

Here are a few examples of poly relationships most folks never consider:

  • "We're both dating many people because one main relationship doesn't fit with our lives while we travel/go to school/insert-whatever-valid-reason-here.  We're open with everyone we see that we see each other most often and that we're not looking for monogamy."


  • "My husband travels for work.  He's out of the country two weeks every month. We both understand the other may need company or intimacy during that time so we decided to explore non-monogamy.  At this point he has several women he hooks up with when he's lonely and I have a very casual boyfriend who snuggles with me when [husband] is out of town.  It works for us."


  • "My partner and I basically behave like most monogamous couples do 355 days of the year, but once a year he goes to a conference where I know he has many past lovers.  They live far away but stay in contact online and via phone call the rest of the year.  But when they go to conference together I know they might be affectionate, stay together, and it's likely they sleep together."


  • "My wife is bisexual and I am a cisgender man.  We're monogamous in most ways (because we're the only mixed-gender couple in each other's lives and we're the only marriage either of us plan to have) but she has a few girlfriends who help her feel connected to parts of her sexuality I can't fulfill because I'll never be a woman."


  • "My husband and I have threesomes on a semi-regular basis. I feel like we're still monogamous because all the sex we have with other people is a shared and agreed-upon experience."


  • "My wife is bisexual and I am a lesbian.  I didn't want her to give up part of herself when we started getting more serious. I actually really like her part-time-lover.  He watches the game with me when she's working late and now he and I hang out (as friends) almost as often as they go on dates."



  • "My boyfriend is kinky in ways that really turn me off. He has a couple play partners he meets with and I know they're intimate, It's really not a big deal for me."


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

new to polyamory coach | open relationship counselor
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online and in Portland, Oregon. Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.