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What is Garden Party Polyamory?


people engaging in garden party polyamory

The best part about polyamorous relationships is that you can make them work for you. Polyamorous relationships are not one size fits all and there is no right or wrong way to engage in a polyamorous relationship structure. This article will speak on a type of polyamorous metamour arrangements called Garden Party Polyamory (GPP).


What is Garden Party Polyamory?


Garden party polyamorous (GPP) is a type of polyamory featuring metamour (your partner’s partners) arrangement or “birthday party polyamory”, when members of the group do not have close relationships with one another, but metamours interact on special occasions or big events such as birthdays, holidays, or special life events. It is very similar to a kitchen table polyamory (KTP) relationship style in which there is a common respect for different connections, open communication, honesty, but metamours do not interact outside of special events.


Garden party polyamory share some characteristics of parallel polyamory. For instance, individuals know that their partner has other partners but unlike parallel polyamory that has a “dont ask dont tell” policy regarding partners involved. Garden party polyamorous individuals share some bond in which they are comfortable sharing space for moments that are important.


Those who engage in garden party polyamory understand that it is hard to create separateness and desire to have some form of an amicable relationship with their metamour. Metamours may not want to be friends but understand that their hinge cares for their partners deeply and understand the challenges of having too much separateness.  If you are looking for a more family style type of polyamorous metamour arrangement this one will not give you that but can still be an easier option then a parallel arrangement.


Garden Party polyamory VS. Other Forms of Polyamory


Garden party polyamory is very similar to kitchen table polyamory (KTP) in which there is a common respect for different connections, openness, and honesty. Garden party polyamorous individuals share in KTP values of having some bond in which they are comfortable sharing space for moments that are important. Both value celebration and wanting hinges to not be pulled in different directions for special events.


Now metamours do not interact outside of special events like in KTP. Also, individuals do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships or any form of non-platonic relationship at all like in lap sitting polyamory. For instance, garden party polygamous individuals do not desire to build a home or raise children together with their metamours. They will just see their metamour a few times a year and in some cases call each other to plan the next celebration.


GPP shares some characteristics of parallel polyamory (PP). For instance, individuals know that their partner has other partners, but PP sometimes has a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy feel to it. Parallel polyamorist respects their partners exploration, has a respect for the different connections, but the individuals may not be interested in doing the personal work it takes to engage with their metamour at any capacity.


These individuals are sometimes ok with not having or being at every holiday or special event with others other than their hinge. Parallel polyamorous metamour arrangements may be suited for individuals who are engaging in solo polyamory or for those who have long distance connections that do not have the chance to form a closer bond with their metamour.


Garden party polyamorist individuals are doing the work to be together for special events but may not be ready to engage more intimately with their metamour outside of the capacity of special events or at all.


Is Garden Party Polyamory Right for You?


There are some considerations to consider when engaging in this form of polyamorous metamour arrangement. First you want to figure out boundaries for instance your personal boundaries. Knowing your own personal boundaries before engaging in polyamory is essential. Some examples of personal boundaries are types of physical and sexual boundaries, emotional boundaries, and financial boundaries.  Knowing what you want personally will make it easier in deciding what type of polyamorous metamour arrangement will be right for you.


Though garden party polyamorous metamour arrangement is all about engaging in special events or moments with your metamour there may be some celebrations that you may not want to share. These celebrations may have some importance to you, and you may prefer not to share them with others. Asking questions around what things are special occasions for just you and your partner and what other occasions that are shared all together is something to consider when engaging in a garden party polyamorous metamour arrangement.


Jealousy is another consideration when engaging in a garden party polyamorous metamour arrangement. Garden party arrangements can give you small opportunities to work on jealousy. If you are an individual who wants to at some point move from garden party to a kitchen table polyamorous metamour arrangement this type of arrangement can help you practice different tools and gain insight into these emotional experiences.


Skills to Implement GPP In Your Own Relationship


So, you are at a celebration and your partner is getting lots of love and admiration from your metamour(s). You are not used to being around your metamour(s) often so you are not well seasoned in dealing with jealousy. Some may engage in a parallel or garden party because they may want to shy away from experiencing this emotion. Don’t shy away from jealousy, lean into it. Don’t shame your jealousy. Use jealousy as a tool to become aware of your underlying anxieties and approach jealousy with a sense of curiosity.


Emotional regulation skills are skills that give you the ability to effectively manage and respond to an emotional experience. These skills include but not limited to; the ability to identify emotions, accepting ones emotions, tune into physical symptoms, and mindfulness skills to keep you in the present moment.


Emotional regulation skills are used in most therapeutic modalities, but DBT can be very helpful in cultivating emotional regulation tools. Dialectical behavior therapy website could be a great starting point in learning about emotional regulation skills. This site includes a 10-module series that goes into emotional regulation skills. I would also suggest highly receiving therapy to be able to identify your personal triggers.


Hopefully learning about what garden party polyamory could be a helpful first step. If you want to further explore and learn the skills to have a successful garden party polyamorous experience a therapist with experience in polyamory can help you navigate this topic and exploring relationship structures outside of monogamous relationships.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Emily Martinez, AMFT (she/they) is a clinical associate at Modern Intimacy who works with individuals, couples, and families around myriad mental health and sexuality issues/goals. Emily specializes in working with clients of all backgrounds, especially those who identify within diverse sexual orientation, relationship dynamic, and gender identity backgrounds.



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