Kitchen Table Polyamory, Parallel Polyamory, and Etiquette

Kitchen Table Polyamory is a new term even in poly circles. It refers to poly relationships where everyone in the polycule is comfortable sitting together at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Folks who prefer kitchen table polyamory want to know their metamours and be friends with them. They may want their kids and their metamours kids to spend time together, or their metamour’s other partners to be comfortable calling them up to plan a surprise party together.

Parallel Polyamory is a companion term to kitchen table polyamory. It refers to poly relationships where the relationships run in parallel and don’t interact. I’m in a relationship with you, and you are in a relationship with your other partner, but the two of us aren’t friends and may never meet. Our two separate relationships progress without connecting to each other.

Of course, there’s an undefined middle. You know a bit about your metamours (and maybe their other partners), might friend them on social media, send them a card on their birthday. But you and they wouldn’t be comfortable hanging out in each other’s kitchens.

Each of these approaches to polyamory raises some interesting etiquette questions. So for the next few weeks we’ll be looking at:

Polyamory Etiquette at the Kitchen Table
The Etiquette of Running in Parallel
When One Person Wants Parallel and One Person Wants Kitchen Table
Establishing a Middle Ground

This post is part of the Polyamory Etiquette blog series.

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One response to “Kitchen Table Polyamory, Parallel Polyamory, and Etiquette

  1. Oh, how interesting! I look forward to seeing this!

    I’m a kitchen-table person all the way — not necessarily interested in multiple live-in partners (for myself or any partner I shared a home with), but I’m always happiest and most comfortable when my partners’ partners and I are on good terms (helps us feel like we’re on the “same team.”)

    When I was in a lengthy mono-poly relationship, my mono partner didn’t want to meet my long-distance poly partners, and wasn’t even keen on me talking about them. I felt really unhappily compartmentalized, and it contributed to the dissatisfaction of that arrangement for me.

    When that relationship ended, I was THRILLED that the next person I dated (my now-ex, who I was with for 7 years) enjoyed spending time with my LD partners and I (we even traveled to visit them together sometimes.) I felt so good about being able to have my family-of-choice all together in one place, often literally at the kitchen table 🙂

    At this point, I will not be initiating any new relationships with people who are unwilling to meet my existing partners, or who are uncomfortable with me talking about them (daily-life stuff, I don’t particularly share sexual matters that don’t have to do with safety.)

    I don’t ask that a new partner feel like they’re being forced to become friends, or that they have to travel to meet my LD partners in person — but I require that they at least be able to be civil and friendly if we all talk via phone/Skype/e-mail.

    It goes both ways for me — I was in a (legit, I met the other partner once to confirm) DADT relationship when I was new to poly, and while that relationship was amazing in many ways, and was overall a huge positive in my life, I did regret that his other partner chose to be no-contact with myself and the other person he was dating.

    So, yeah — kitchen-table all the way for me, as long as we have our separate homes/spaces to go to afterward! 😉

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