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Delighting in Your Beloveds’ Other Lovers

Share the love on Metamour Day, February 28.

What are metamours?

People in polyamorous relationships routinely find that existing language lacks the words they need to describe their experiences. As a result, they tend to make up words of their own to explain their emotions and relationships. For instance, they created the word compersion to describe the joyful feeling some polyamorists get when they see their beloved happily involved with someone else. Often explained as the opposite of jealousy, compersion tends to be strongest among metamours who are happy with each other.

Another home-made polyamorous word, metamour is the term for a partner’s partner. Your girlfriend’s sweetie or husband’s boyfriend is a metamour. As friends or chosen family members, metamours are linked through a polyamorous relationship but are not in a romantic relationship with each other. Rather, they are members of the same polycule (a family/small network of people united around a shared polyamorous relationship, not all of whom are lovers but share lovers in common) and hang out together to various degrees.

Image is of three figures silhouetted against a sunset with their fingers held up to make shapes on their heads.
Source: Pixabay

Why are they important?

For more than 20 years I have been studying polyamorous families with kids, and I have seen them face the usual difficulties that come with life – illness, economic challenges, divorce, disability, and the like. What has stood out to me about these families who remain together in long-term polycules – some of them for 60 or more years – is that the metamour relationships make or break the family over the long term. These emotionally intimate, non-sexual chosen family relationships are so important in polyamorous families that I made up the word polyaffective to describe them. I explain different types of polyaffective relationships and their impact on family resilience in other blogs.

Positive polyaffective relationships among metamours who become chosen family over time are the backbone of the poly family. Metamours who can’t stand each other and are never able to establish comfort (much less delight) in each others’ presence are not going to happily coexist over the long term. Metamours who add value to each others’ lives, however, can not only support each other when life inevitably throws them a curve ball, but also support the polyamorous relationship with their mutual partner if it falls on hard times.

Image is of two male-appearing people seated on an outdoor staircase, one seated above and slightly behind the other, touching
Source: Flickr

What is Metamour Day?

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and polyamorous community organizers have proclaimed February 28 to be Metamour Day. NCSF is a non-profit organization dedicated to consensual sexual freedom and focuses especially on consensual non-monogamies and kink/BDSM. By promoting Metamour Day, NCSF hopes “to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours."

If you are lucky enough to have a metamour with whom you share compersion, celebrate them on February 28!

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