You've Heard of Polyamory, but What About Ambiamory?
Ambiamorists may be in polyamorous or monogamous relationships, but they're into relationship structures that fit the individuals involved in them as well as the life situations in which they find themselves.
At this point, practically everyone has heard of polyamory, a form of consensual non-monogamy in which people have multiple romantic and/or sexual partners at one time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. (It's been having a bit of a moment, media-wise.) Yet, far fewer people have heard of ambiamory, a relationship orientation that's actually far more common than most people realize.
What is ambiamory?
Rather than having strict requirements or strong preferences that their relationships be monogamous or polyamorous, people who consider themselves ambiamorous find themselves happy being in either relationship system. It all depends on what's going on in their lives and who they're dating.
Ambiamory challenges a lot of ideas we hold about relationships, including the relationship escalator, a set of internalized beliefs and social norms that many people follow. Essentially, many of us have learned to believe that a relationship should start in a culturally approved, conventional way and progress through a series of milestones in a predictable manner; otherwise, the relationship isn't considered viable or healthy. Under the auspices of the relationship escalator, there is only one right way to have a relationship. You meet. You date. After a certain number of dates, you may have sex. Then, after a prudent length of time passes, you become engaged, get married, move in with one another and have kids, living monogamously ever after.
If you deviate at all from this prototypical relationship, for example if you choose not to have kids or even live with your partner, or if you live together before marriage or decide to have an open relationship or be part of a polyamorous relationship system, then your relationship may be considered flawed, less than, or not "real, true love."
In spite of the number of people who take an escalator view of romantic relationships (although many of them are not even consciously aware that they are doing so), it's not too difficult to find relationships all around us that are violating its norms. It's really all a matter of degree as well as which violations are considered more taboo by society.
Like others open to multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships with the knowledge and consent of all involved, ambiamorous people challenge the notion that monogamy is required for happily ever after. However, ambiamory also rejects the idea that polyamory is necessarily a superior state of relationship utopia.
Instead of adhering to the premise that either monogamy or nonmonogamy is an ideal relationship structure on the relationship escalator, ambiamory advises for relationship structures that instead fit the individuals involved in them as well as the life situations in which they find themselves.
Why might someone identify as ambiamorous?
Ambiamory is of course just one of many forms of relationship beliefs that a person can have that rejects the notion that relationships have to unfold a certain way or have a certain structure to be valuable. There are other popular relationship styles that challenge the relationship escalator. For example, relationship anarchy is a philosophy and approach that maintains that relationships should not be bound by any rules or restrictions that the individuals involved have not explicitly, mutually agreed upon.
So why would a person identify as ambiamorous?