Parallel Polyamory, Kitchen Table Polyamory, and Knowing the Details or Not

parallel lines through a crop field
Image by Richard Walker / CC BY

Hi Page, 

Is it common to not want to know anything at all about your partner’s partners? My sweetie often wants to know the details of my other relationships. This is fine, and I don’t mind, but I really don’t want to know about theirs. 

Kitchen Table Versus Parallel Polyamory

How much contact you want with your metamours (a word that polyamorous people often use to describe their partner’s other partners) is something that polyamorous people do vary on.

Some folks really want to meet their metamours and greatly prefer to be comfortable spending time with them. So comfortable that they wouldn’t mind sitting down at the kitchen table and having coffee (or tea or beer or whatever you like) and chatting with them.

This style of metamour contact is often known as “Kitchen Table Polyamory.”

Conversely, there are other folks who would prefer never to meet their metamours and would rather those relationships ran in parallel. There’s a term for that, too: Parallel Polyamory.

When there’s a term for something, you know it’s at least common enough a phenomenon that people needed a label for it.

And in working with polyamorous clients and looking around at all of the polyamorous folks that I’ve known personally, I have known plenty of people who preferred parallel polyamory and plenty who preferred kitchen table polyamory.

Knowing the Details or Not

I’ve personally been more a person who practices kitchen table polyamory just because it makes the logistics quite a bit easier if everyone is comfortable crossing paths. But it does come with its own perils — which I wrote about here in this earlier piece.

And even practicing polyamory kitchen table style, I’ve been in situations where each of my partners would differ in the amount of information they wanted to hear about my other relationships. Some partners wanted to know way more information than others. And I’ve often had partners who had a slight (or more than slight) aversion to information. Here’s a piece I wrote about how delicate a process it can be figuring out how much a partner wants to know and what to share.

That said, everyone has preferences. And what’s key is figuring out what works best and the best way to communicate them.

But no, you’re not the only one who has the preference that you do.

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My new book is out!

Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).

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