When it comes to creating a polyamorous relationship structure there is no right or wrong way to create what works for you. Read on to learn more about a type of polyamorous metamour arrangement called kitchen table polyamory (KTP).
What is Kitchen Table Polyamory?
Kitchen table polyamory is a type of polyamorous metamour arrangement in which people involved in a relationship share the concept of being able to sit down at a kitchen table and spend time sharing a meal together or a cup of coffee. Different individuals in the polycules (romantic networks) have a base of communication, friendship, and mutual respect for one another.
This doesn’t mean that all individuals enjoyed spending time in a romantic or sexual relationship with each other; they can still share a close relationship. The individuals in the polycule all believe in the importance of prioritizing each other’s connections and understand that a relationship can exist independently. The respect and prioritization of these connections also extend out to telemours or Meta-metamour (your partner’s partner’s partner).
To practice kitchen table polyamory, there is no “one size fits all”, just like with all poly relationships. These definitions can be helpful as a starting point. You will find on your kitchen table poly journey that these polycules can be customizable to fit your lifestyle. The beauty of polyamory and this type of polyamorous metamour arrangement is you have the opportunity to create your own chosen family. In KTP all individuals function as a community of partners rather than separately maintained, isolated relationships. If you imagine your lifestyle as more communal, then this type of polyamorous metamour arrangement may be right for you.
How is KTP Different from Other Styles of Polyamory?
Polyamory lives on a spectrum under the consensual non-monogamy (CNM) umbrella. This extends to the type of polyamorous metamour arrangement you engage with. So, what makes kitchen table polyamory different from other forms of polyamory? For many, it’s the emphasis on open communication, riendship, love and support (or more) between all partners involved.
Other forms of polyamory include lap siting polyamory, garden polyamory, and parallel polyamory. Lap siting polyamory is very similar to KTP but often these metamours engage with each other as close friends, romantically, sexually, or cohabitate. Garden party polyamory or “birthday party polyamory” is when metamours only see each other or communicate with each other on special occasions and holidays.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is parallel polyamory. In these connections metamours do not interact at all. In this type of metamour arrangement all partners are aware of the multiple romantic relationships, but they have no desire to meet or hear about one another.
Many people who are engaging in polyamory or CNM move through these spectrums throughout their lives. Some individuals may have some parts of the polycule network who engage in one of the following other types of polyamorous metamour arrangement. The core that brings these all together is the foundation of communication, mutual respect, and prioritization of each connection regardless of the connection type.
Is KTP Right for Your Relationship?
The first step in deciding is to take time for self reflection. You might reflect on what you’d like to get out of a KTP dynamic, what benefits you anticipate, and any potential challenges that could arise. Remember, you can create whatever kind of arrangement is right for you and your partner(s). There is no one-size-fits-all way to arrange a KTP relationship, providing all parties feel respected, supported, and feel on the same page.
Step two might be to consider your current emotional regulation skills. Individuals may shy away from KTP because of difficulty with compersion, jealousy, new relationship energy, and other aspects that come with engaging in polyamory. If one does not have skills to regulate and work through emotions, all the communication and reassurance in the world won’t help if one is not taking the time to learn these skills and get to the root sources of their jealousy.
Lastly, a common question is if one chose to be another type of polyamory, for instance, garden party polyamory or parallel polyamory and engages with someone who is KTP, will it work? The short answer is yes, but this is not always a simple answer. There are some considerations that will have to be considered for all involved in the relationship dynamic. For instance, understanding your hinges boundaries and agreements they have with themselves and other members of the polycule.
Exploring KTP Further
Knowledge about relationship structures such as KTP and other types of alternative relationship styles can come with a sense of freedom, especially if monogamous relationship structures have not been your cup of tea. You might also seek out community with others in the polyamorous community to learn more from how others have explored and navigated various poly dynamics in their own relationships.
If you’re looking for more support in setting your relationship(s) up for success, working with a therapist who has experience in polyamory can be a great starting point in navigating these topics. It can be important to ensure any provider you’re working with is sex and alternative relationship positive as you deserve a provider who will not cast judgement and won’t need you to educate them on the fundamentals.