If you’re in a polyamorous relationship, there’s a good chance you’re in a meta-amorous relationship. Who is this person and what is their relationship with their metallove?

On February 28th, the Day of your Metamor is celebrated, proposed by the NCSF and polyamorous groups . Metamor is another of the many words created in the non-monogamous environment to name experiences that until now had no name: polycule, polyfidelity, unicorn, relational anarchy, new relationship energy


Who is your target?

If you are in a polyamorous or relationship anarchy relationship, metallove would be your lover’s love, the other relationship of the person you are in a relationship with. And you, in turn, would be meta-love of your partner’s other relationship. In other words, if Ana has two partners, Bea and Carlos, (who would not have any kind of romantic relationship with each other), Bea would be Carlos’ metalove and Carlos would be Bea’s metalove.

Metamor is not a modernized version of the “beloved for a lifetime”, it has nothing to do with having lovers, or as in the old saying , «to be the chapel in front of the cathedral». We are talking about simultaneous relationships that are not the result of deception, resignation or imposition, but of consensus.

Metalove is the love of your love, the other relationship of the person you are in a relationship with


Metamor (metamour , in English) is a term constructed with the prefix meta- to mean “beyond”, as in the words metaphysics, metadata or metastasis. It is a pity that in the translation the wordplay is lost with a word that already existed before and in which it seems to have been inspired, lover, which is an archaic term to refer to loversespecially for those who were married, without their spouse knowing.

While it sounds so good (known)LOVE, that doesn’t mean the relationship with your metallove will be all love, nor is it necessarily good. Sometimes shifters don’t like each other, as is often the case with a family member we relate to as diplomatically as possible. They can also ignore or compete with each other. As in all human relationships, the relationship can be good, bad, regular or go through different phases. The outcome in such an unusual situation is unpredictable.

But sometimes something happens between metaloves that doesn’t happen in other relationships: the experience of polyaffectivityif we literally translate the concept polyaffective , coined by Elisabeth Sheff in 2006researcher of polyamorous relationships since the nineties.


Metamores and polyaffectivity

Although it may seem like it, polyaffectivity does not refer to what we commonly know as affect, but to a specific experience for which a better word has not yet been found. According to what those who experience it define it, they do not feel it as friendship, but something deeper, but also without being a couple relationship. Very succinctly, Sheff defines it in 2006 as “relationships emotionally intimate and non-sexual among polyamorous people” (1)

He later expanded the definition by referring to a “polyaffective triad”, defining it as “a group of three people who have not had sexual relations with each other, but who relate to each other on an emotionally intimate level and consider themselves a family” (2). .

Polyaffectivity is not experienced as friendship, but something deeper, without also being a relationship.


On her blog recently, Sheff said that “many polyamorous people maintain emotional continuity when changing relationship settings, placing less emphasis on sexuality. Instead, they often prioritize polyaffective relationships, where polyamorous people define their family by choosing who is a part of it among relevant people in their lives, but do not have sex with them, either because they never had a sexual connection or because their sexual connection ended. (temporarily or permanently) and they continue to maintain emotional intimacy” (3).

Polyaffectivity is not a higher level, a nirvana of polyamory, a state to be reached in non-monogamy, but something that sometimes happens and sometimes doesn’t. It is something that happens depending on the relationship and circumstances of these people, but it is very curious when experienced. It’s rare to feel something so deep, resistant to illness and bad times, with people who don’t fit into the two very narrow categories we tend to classify relationships into: friendship or partner.

They are ways of creating family networks that, as Sheff says, can be useful to understand relationships in a different way after a divorce or separation, but where a common education is maintained, or for those who depend on the same source of income. end up forming a family, or for those who decide to be for a thousand reasons, as is already possible in some US cities for a few months .



  1. Poly-Hegemonic Masculinities
  2. “polyaffective triad” (…) “a group of three people who were not all sexually involved, but who related on an emotionally intimate level and considered themselves to be family” and exhibit a “much greater degree of emotional intimacy between non-sexual partners”
    Source: Resistant Utopias: Gender Difference and Radical Queer Subjectivity in Post-Gay American Drama (Sarah Crockarell, 2013)
  3. Resilient family outcomes through polyaffectivity

Photograph: William A. Passache