There are many types of polyamory families but how do they work?  I will not say the answer is simple but… it can be simpler with commitment, communication and trust.

commitmentThere are two basic components of the poly family.  They are physical structure and environment.  Everything else is seasoning to the taste by the participants that make all poly families unique even if they don’t appear to be to the casual outside observer.

The physical structure is the easiest to explain.  It defines the members of the family.  It can be a triad (three-person poly), four-person or even more.  Technically, a poly family could include every living person on this Earth but that would take a lot of cooperation by a planet that has a history of non-cooperation.  Besides, everyone would also have to be polyamorus.  Not even the United Nations would have any hope of that.

So, in other words, when it comes to the number of members to the poly family – the sky is the limit.  However, here is a caveat to be read: most think that adding one person to a couple would increase the work and effort to exist by 50%.  That is not true.  In reality, a third person will triple the amount of work and effort needed to make the family work.  This does not mean it is impossible.  You just need to enter a poly family with open eyes (and ears).

The most common family sought for is the triad.  Especially what is known as a FMF or female-male-female.  In most cases, it is an already established couple searching for a third.  In this case it is a woman who is also known as the fabled unicorn: a bi-sexual woman who could please both intimately.  The unicorn is one of the hardest potential poly members to find, let alone keep.  It has been my experience that most unicorns do not want to be a second wife where the man commonly wants the same commitment from both ladies.  It is not impossible.  I lived in a FMF triad for 16 years but all three members need to be searching for the same level of commitment.

The opposite grouping, or the MFM, also exists but is a rarer family.  Ironically though, MFM triads have been longer lasting.  Historically, poly triads have worked best when the woman is in control.  The mechanics of relationships are generally the same for both.

The four-person poly usually comes about by two couples joining together.  It is rare to find them under the same roof.  It is more common that they socialize together but live separately.  Again, remember: that an extra member does not add to the difficulty of maintaining a relationship – it multiplies it.  Therefore, a four-person poly will be four times harder to work together than a triad.

The biggest reason for this is communication.  We are trained in our modern society to work together as a pair in the social stratum.  We don’t stop to think if we told one member that we need to tell the other one as well.  It all boils down to keeping each other in the loop.  If a member isn’t kept in the loop, it is easy for that person to feel left out and even left behind.  That is not good if you want to keep an intimate connection with someone.  There were many times over the years where I had told one partner something only to think I had told the other partner as well.  Sometimes, I ended up telling one partner twice and the other not at all.  Communication is key to any relationship.  Not just the poly.

As hinted at before, a poly family can share the same roof and be a full-time family or they can socialize together and become a part-time family.  Most full-time families come from a previous part-time family that has worked well with all members.