What Is Polygamy and What Is Solo Polyamory: The Differences

May 25 '2023, 1:28 PM | By Chris

If you have wondered what is polygamy and what is polyamory, we will first say that there are two different concepts. Polygamy refers specifically to the practice of having multiple spouses, whereas polyamory refers to the practice of having multiple intimate relationships with the consent of all parties involved. Now, speaking about polyamory, a particular type of it refers to solo polyamory, and it concerns a situation when having multiple partners and still preferring to stay independent. Solo polyamory is a form of polyamory where individuals choose to maintain their independence and autonomy within their relationships without necessarily seeking to live with any partner full-time or prioritize any particular relationship over others. Solo polyamorous individuals typically prioritize their freedom and self-development. They may choose to have multiple romantic and sexual relationships without seeking to merge their lives with any particular partner. Understanding the differences between these relationship styles is essential for individuals who are considering non-monogamous relationships or who are seeking to understand better the diverse ways that people practice ethical non-monogamy. In this article, we'll explore the critical features of polygamy and solo polyamory and the benefits and challenges of each relationship style.

What Is Polygamy

What is polygamy? Well, polygamy is a non-monogamous relationship in which one person has multiple spouses. Throughout human history, this kind of relationship has been practiced across many different cultures, and today it is common in many parts of the world.

Depending on the number and gender of the spouses involved, there are different forms of polygamy; for example, polygyny is a type of polygamy in which one man has multiple wives, while if we refer to polyandry, this includes one woman having multiple husbands. Group marriage is another form of polygamy, in which numerous people are married to each other, while hierarchal polygamy is when one person has multiple spouses. Still, the spouses may not have relationships with each other.

Polygamy’s legal and social status varies widely across different countries and cultures. In some societies, polygamy is considered a standard and accepted practice; in others, it is illegal and stigmatized. For example, polygamy is illegal in the United States, but some religious groups still practice it. In some African and Middle Eastern countries, polygamy is legal and culturally accepted, although ongoing debates exist about its role in modern societies.

What Is Solo Polyamory

Solo polyamory is a relationship style that prioritizes individual autonomy and personal freedom within intimate relationships. It involves having multiple romantic relationships without seeking to live with any partners full-time or form a traditional couple unit.

The term "solo polyamory" refers to the idea that each person in the relationship has a high degree of autonomy and agency and makes their own decisions about their relationships without relying on others to define or validate them. In solo polyamory, clear communication and boundary-setting are critical features of the relationship style. This means that partners must be honest and transparent about their desires, needs, and expectations and establish clear boundaries around issues such as time, emotional energy, and sexual health. Solo polyamorous individuals often emphasize the importance of open and honest communication and mutual respect and support in their relationships.

Among the benefits of solo polyamory, we can speak about allowing individuals to pursue their goals and interests without sacrificing their autonomy or being tied down to a specific partner or relationship structure. In this way, they can have opportunities for personal growth, exploration, and self-discovery, engaging in diverse and meaningful relationships with people they like.

Overall, solo polyamory has become increasingly popular as a relationship style because it allows individuals to explore their desires and preferences while maintaining meaningful connections. While not everyone may fit this style, it provides a valuable alternative to traditional relationship models and allows for greater personal freedom and autonomy.

Differences Between Polygamy and Solo Polyamory

While both polygamy and solo polyamory involve having multiple intimate relationships, there are several critical differences between what is polygamy and what is solo polyamory. First of all, the relationship structure is different, and polygamy typically involves having multiple spouses who may all live together as a family unit. In contrast to polygamy, solo polyamory emphasizes maintaining independence and autonomy within relationships and does not necessarily involve living with any partners full-time.

This emphasis on autonomy and individual needs is a defining feature of solo polyamory. In this relationship style, individuals prioritize their personal growth and fulfillment rather than sacrificing their desires for the sake of the group. This can be in contrast to polygamy, which may involve sacrificing individual freedom to adhere to religious, cultural, or familial obligations.

Another key difference is the legal and social status of each relationship style. While polygamy is often illegal and stigmatized in many countries, solo polyamory may face less legal and social scrutiny. In fact, solo polyamory is increasingly accepted and recognized as a valid relationship style in some areas.

Benefits and Challenges of Each Relationship Style

Both polygamy and solo polyamory come with unique benefits and challenges that individuals should consider when choosing their preferred relationship style. What is polygamy offering to a relationship refers to built-in support networks, shared resources, and the ability to form a close-knit family unit. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who prioritize communal living and strong social connections.

However, polygamy also comes with its own set of challenges. Navigating jealousy and power dynamics among multiple partners can be complicated, and balancing the needs and desires of each spouse can be difficult. In addition, polygamy may face legal and social scrutiny in many areas, which can make it challenging to practice openly.

Solo polyamory, on the other hand, offers individuals personal autonomy and the freedom to pursue multiple relationships without sacrificing their own needs and desires. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who value self-development and personal growth.

However, solo polyamory can also be challenging. Navigating societal expectations and finding acceptance within the larger polyamorous community can be difficult, and individuals may face judgment or misunderstanding from others who do not share their relationship style. Their own family and friends may take a judgmental pose, and sometimes it is hard to talk to family about being polygamous. Additionally, without the built-in support networks of a polygamous family unit, individuals may have to work harder to create and maintain meaningful relationships with their partners.

Ultimately, the benefits and challenges of each relationship style will vary depending on individual preferences and circumstances. It is vital for individuals to carefully consider these factors before choosing a relationship style that is right for them.


Considering all these, polygamy and solo polyamory are particular types of relationships, offering unicity and challenges. While polygamy may offer built-in support networks and shared resources, navigating the dynamics between multiple partners can also be complicated; solo polyamory, on the other hand, provides personal autonomy and the freedom to pursue various relationships but may require more effort to create and maintain meaningful connections. Ultimately, individuals should carefully consider their individual needs and preferences when choosing a relationship style.

Published By: Sister Wives 

Matchmakers Inc


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