Playing With / Polyamory

Basic Trope: A character has more than one relationship at a time.
  • Straight: Alice and Bob and Charlie are all openly dating each other.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice and Bob are married to or dating a dozen other people. They have a ridiculously large number of these marriages.
    • Everyone in the work, even the background characters and the characters that only appear once, are involved in one huge relationship.
  • Downplayed: Alice and Bob are described as being in or agreeing to an open relationship, but none of their other lovers are ever seen.
  • Justified:
    • Alice, Bob, and Charlie live in a time or place where (for largely pragmatic reasons) this is the norm.
    • Neither Alice nor Bob get jealous easily, playing on the more positive end of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy mentally, and so don't mind if the other has another relationship.
    • They're all in love with each other, like that sort of thing and in the Free-Love Future setting, that's okay.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Alice and Bob seem like they're dating Charlie, but it turns out they're not, and it was just Threesome Subtext.
  • Double Subverted: But they they later do get together with Charlie—their Threesome Subtext was UST leading up to a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Parodied: Alice and Bob have a mass marriage to all their partners. They even end up getting married with a bunch of people they didn't even know, yet they roll along with it just fine!
  • Zig Zagged: Alice, Bob, and Charlie were poly, then Alice and Bob became monogamous. And then Bob cheats on Alice with Diane. And Diane is in relationship with Charlie, and they're polyamorous. Bob and Charlie met again through Diane, fall back in love, and Bob ultimately leaves Alice for Charlie and Diane. Until they find out Charlie was cheating on this them whole time... with Alice, and they all break up. Except for Alice and Charlie, who stay together monogamously.
  • Averted: The work features no dating a all.
  • Enforced: The TV show is being funded by a polyamorous organization specifically to depict a polyamorous relationship.
  • Lampshaded:
    "S—so, the three of them are—"
    "Dating each other? Yep."
    "That's… unorthodox…"
  • Invoked: Alice, Bob and Charlie are in a Love Triangle, and this is how they decide to resolve it. They do this as soon as they realize their situation, because they know being in a Love Triangle is dangerous.
  • Defied: Alice and Bob agree to be romantically and sexually involved with only each other.
  • Discussed: "Y'know, I'm actually kinda happy they decided to go open. Think, I could try scoring with both of them now if I wanted."
  • Conversed: "I'm so glad they're all dating now—I hate those Love Triangle stories."
  • Implied: Threesome Subtext
  • Deconstructed: While there are advantages to multi-partner relationships, there are also disadvantages. The primary ones being the Green-Eyed Monster and favoritism. Not to mention the issue of a culture that regards this setup as "wrong" or "deviant." There may also be an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Reconstructed: Everyone agrees to take the appropriate health precautions. They're careful to give equal attention and affection to all their partners, so no one feels slighted. If someone does get jealous, they will step back, realize that they are loved, and channel that jealousy into something constructive. Those naysayers that tell Alice, Bob, and Charlie that this can't/doesn't/shouldn't work are proven wrong and The Power of Love triumphs.
  • Played For Laughs: Unwanted Harem
  • Played For Drama: Jealousy ensues, and things start getting REALLY ugly, REALLY fast.

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