polyamorous relationship*Online dating giant OkCupid.com is the first to offer polyamorous couples the option to search for additional lovers – taking the still taboo topic to the mainstream to allow its members to list themselves as “in an open relationship,” which enables partners to link their profiles together in order to search for a third mate to share in their openness, according to The Atlantic.

This change comes from OkCupid’s recent data which revealed a rapid increase in the number of couples interested in entering into polyamorous relationships. According to the data, “24 percent of its members have a serious interest in entering into group sex, and 42 percent would consider dating someone in an open or polyamorous relationship.”

However, the topic of polyamory is not so favorable within the African-American community, as many view it as a “formal way of cheating” or “going against what God has intended.”

Lifestyle coach Victoria of Openlifeadvice.com participated in a Q&A with Ebony magazine to squash some of the rumors that the polyamorous community face. Below are excerpts from the interview.

EBONY: What exactly is polyamory? Isn’t it just a bunch of people freaking on each other?

Victoria: Derived from the Greek word “poly,” meaning “many,” and the Latin word “amory,” meaning “love,” polyamory is the practice, state or ability of having more than one loving and/or sexual relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.

While there are often rules and structures within polyamory that are similar to the concept of swinging (multiple partners, threesomes, etc.), poly relationships are generally understood to be more open to the possibility of emotional connection and romantic motivations.

EBONY: But isn’t it a form of “condoned” cheating?

Victoria: Absolutely not! To most people, cheating means a violation of the boundaries/rules of your relationship by being intimate with someone else. Polyamory is the exact opposite of cheating, in that if your relationship boundaries say it’s okay to sleep with other people, then there’s been no deception, no lies, and no rules broken.

EBONY: Jealousy is a human trait though. People can’t seriously be with more than one person and not get jealous!

Victoria: Jealousy. It’s the one topic that comes up every time anybody has ever tried to talk about open relationships. And it’s not without good reason—jealousy is an issue that inevitably develops in any relationship, polyamorous or monogamous. After all, the definition of jealousy—the fear of losing something or somebody that we love—is an obvious (and healthy!) consequence of loving in the first place.

The difference is that while jealousy in monogamous relationships is treated as an obstacle that can be overcome, many people view jealousy in polyamorous arrangements as a fatal flaw that will ultimately doom the relationship. Even though jealousy is often a complicated emotion, the way to deal with it is fairly straightforward: talk it through. Don’t guilt trip. Be supportive. Be forgiving. And above all, be loving.

Click here to read the full interview.