Can the Term “Metamour” Also Be Used to Describe Friendamours or Your Partner’s Friends?

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Hi Page, 

I really enjoyed your article on friendamours. I did have a question about something though. My metamour and I ended up in a debate, and I wanted to write in and see if you could resolve it for us. 

I won’t tell you whose side is whose (so you can remain impartial), but here’s what we were debating about: We both agree that metamour means “a partner’s other partner” and agree with your definition of friendamour (” a close friend of a partner that’s a lot like a metamour in terms of importance”).

But here’s what we are arguing about: Are they necessarily separate groups? Could you call all of the people who are close to your partners your “metamours” and not distinguish between whether they are romantic partners or friends?

And if you did that, what purpose would the “friendamour” label serve?

We had a pretty lively discussion about this but were very curious to hear your thoughts on this as well as your personal preference. 

Thank you for your blog and your books.

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Uh oh. Acting as a debate judge. Better tread lightly, stay neutral. Easy to make enemies of you both. Although it’s worth noting that Nadine Gordimer once wrote, “A truly living human being cannot remain neutral.” And I’m inclined to agree with her about that — shit, just took a side. Hehe. (To be fair, Gordimer was writing about some pretty hefty human rights stuff, not a debate among friends. But yeah.)

In all seriousness, typically polyamorous folks do tend to use the label metamour to indicate other people their partners are dating and not for their friends. But this is typical use, not the only allowable use. I’m not saying you can’t use it in a more universal way to include your friends. Have at it!

I will say, however, that it might have some (potentially) unintended consequences if you do use the word metamour to include your close friends. Chiefly, other polyamorous people will likely assume that you are dating those friends until you tell them otherwise. If you and/or your friend don’t care that people make that assumption, no big deal at all. Again, have at it. I don’t see any harm, really, other than the potential for a bit of confusion.

As for your for final question, even if you do opt to use metamour that way, friendamour could still very well have utility as a term in situations where you want to stress the lack of a romantic and/or sexual partnership with the friend in question.

I should also note, however, that there are aromantic and/or asexual polyamorous people. And depending on the way that they conduct relationships, some of them do have metamour situations where the difference between a friendamour and a metamour may not seem meaningful to other people (although it might be crucial to the individuals involved).  So it gets messy with labels. I mean, it always gets messy with labels. Such is life.

My Personal Preference

Now, that’s my general thoughts on whether you can use metamour that way. What about my personal preference?

I’m personally very unlikely to call someone my partner isn’t dating a metamour. In my own life, it’s always just been easier to limit the use of metamours to refer to people my partners are dating, and if I want to be more inclusive of the friends of close partners, I can call them collectively all my “chosen family,” “people,” “squad,” “fam,” or something. Even potentially including a friendamour as part of my relationships system (sometimes called a polycule, web etc.).

And when referring to them singularly, I’m likely to call them a friendamour or my partner’s friend.

But I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to it until now.

I don’t know if that helps settle the debate. But thanks for the question.

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Have a question about a post? Maybe need some advice about a relationship or situation? Write me. I love getting messages from you.

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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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