It seems that people are talking about polyamory now more than ever.
Earlier this year, OKCupid added a search option for users seeking multiple partners, and a 2014 study estimated that between 1.2 and 2.4 million Americans identify as polyamorous. And yet, people who identify as polyamorous still hesitate to be open about their lifestyle with friends and loved ones.
In an effort to share a handful of their stories, we gathered 20 coming-out experiences from polyamorous people who posted on secret-sharing app Whisper.
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One user was specifically worried about being called a "whore" — another was just excited to finally realize that polyamory existed, even if it wasn't possible to be "out" yet. Some have sadly lost relationships; others have been met with nothing but support.
For the most part, people tend to feel relief, no matter what reaction they get.
Read on for 20 personal stories of coming out — and living — as a polyamorous person.
The term "polyamorous" can refer to the nature of a person's relationships at some point in time or to a philosophy or relationship orientation (much like gender or sexual orientation).
The word is sometimes used in a broader sense, as an umbrella term that covers various forms of multiple relationships, or forms of sexual or romantic relationships that are not sexually exclusive.
Polyamorous arrangements are varied, reflecting the choices and philosophies of the individuals involved, though there is disagreement on how broadly the concept of polyamory applies.
An emphasis on ethics, honesty, and transparency all around is widely regarded as the crucial defining characteristic.
As of July 2009, it was estimated that more than 500,000 polyamorous relationships existed in the United States.
People who identify as polyamorous typically reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed, long-term loving relationships.