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You’re on a romantic date with your boyfriend of a year. You’re gazing sweetly into each other’s eyes, enjoying the perfect moment. However, you’re not alone. A girl on your left is gazing at you, too. And she’s got her hand resting on your boyfriend’s thigh.

Newsweek.com reports that polyamory—a relationship with multiple partners—is a movement that is fast rising from the underground. Researchers estimate that in the US alone, there are already more than half a million polyamorous families.

The idea of polyamory, although controversial, sounds attractive-you can fool around with different guys with your boyfriend’s consent, making for a spicy, stimulating sex life. And polyamorists say that their arrangement is not just about sex. “Polys” strengthen their bond by practicing open communication so that everyone’s needs are met and feelings are addressed. Some staunch polys even say that their lifestyle values fidelity.

But there are other issues at play, too. Professional counselor John R. Ballew writes in Gay & Lesbian Times that there are certain issues a person should consider before entering a multi-partner setup, some of which are the following

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  • Sharing. If you’re not the generous type, you’re likely to find it hard to share your partner’s time, love, and attention with another individual.
  • Jealousy. If jealousy is one of the greatest relationship killers in monogamy, so is it in polyamory. When a person goes off with a poly partner for one night and excludes the other from their plans, jealousy will rear its ugly head.
  • Mutual feelings. In some polyamorous setups, not all parties are as gung-ho about the arrangement as the others are. If even one person in a polyamorous household is not attracted to another, instability might enter the picture.
Granted, monogamous relationships come with a built-in set of issues that can drive any straight person up the wall. But clearly, adding a third (or fourth or fifth) person in the mix invites its own thorny set of troubles, too.
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