For many, such relationships are ideally built upon values of trust, loyalty, the negotiation of boundaries, and compersion, as well as overcoming jealousy, possessiveness, and the rejection of restrictive cultural standards.
Those who are open to, or emotionally suited for, polyamory may embark on a polyamorous relationship when single or already in a monogamous or open relationship.
Polyamorous arrangements are varied, reflecting the choices and philosophies of the individuals involved, though there is disagreement on how broadly the concept of polyamory applies.
The cornerstone for polyamorous practice is honest and mutually respectful dealings within a network of multiple, emotionally meaningful, romantic, relationships.
An emphasis on ethics, honesty, and transparency all around is widely regarded as the crucial defining characteristic.
As of July 2009, it was estimated that more than 500,000 polyamorous relationships existed in the United States.
Polyamory is a less specific term than polygamy, the practice or condition of having more than one spouse.