To be polyamorous is a romantic orientation where in a person feels romantic/sexual attraction to more than one person at a time.
This does not always mean this person is going to engage in polyamory, and not everyone who engages in polyamory identifies as polyamorous.
All intimate relationships at their best are a path to higher consciousness and greater self-knowledge, largely because of the valuable feedback-or mirroring effect-one receives from a beloved.
Having more than one partner at a time not only increases the available quantity of feedback but also makes it harder to blame your partner for the problems you might be creating in the relationship.
What all truly polyamorous arrangements have in common — and what makes them distinct from secretive infidelity or "cheating" — is a defining characteristic of the practice: transparency.
Because of the spectra of gender identities, sexualities, physiologies and just general attitudes of individuals, there are multiple forms of polyamory.
There's not a community in the country that hasn't experienced the scandal of extracurricular romance between otherwise ordinary people.
All this begs the question: Is there a functional alternative for those who are not by nature monogamous?
First things first: Maintaining intimate emotional and physical relationships with multiple partners is not for everyone. Hardly a news cycle goes by without the revelation that some celebrity or another has been caught with his (or her) pants down.
American cultural norms steer us toward monogamy — a faithful, one-on-one, forsaking-all-others, 'til-death-do-us-part definition of love and intimacy that usually involves marriage. But cheating isn't reserved for the rich and famous.