4 Things Science Has Taught Us About Polyamorous Relationships

4 Things Science Has Taught Us About Polyamorous Relationships

During my teaching stint at Harvard a couple of years back, a few colleagues from out of state came to visit me on a lovely spring afternoon. I gave them a brief tour of campus, followed by some bar-hopping through Harvard Square. It was a memorable day for several reasons, but mainly because, over a few drinks at my favorite local dive bar, we laid the groundwork for one of the most ambitious research projects I’ve ever undertaken in my professional career. Specifically, we set out to conduct the largest and most comprehensive scientific investigation of polyamorous relationships to date.

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The Unique Benefits of a Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationship

The Unique Benefits of a Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationship

In a consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationship, the partners involved agree that having more than one sexual and/or romantic partner at the same time is permissible. Although interest in CNM relationships appears to be on the rise, these relationships continue to be widely stigmatized, with people tending to see them as inferior to monogamous relationships in most ways [1]. This is interesting when you consider that research comparing the quality of CNM to monogamous relationships reveals few differences and suggests that CNM relationships are not inherently less satisfying or stable. Findings like this suggest that perhaps those who view CNM relationships as inferior simply have a difficult time imagining the potential benefits that these relationships afford.

So what exactly are the benefits of a CNM relationship anyway? And how are the benefits similar to or different from those afforded by a monogamous relationship?

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