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2 Nonnegotiables For Thriving In An Open Relationship, From Esther Perel

Just as a refresher, “polyamory” is a form of consensual or ethical non-monogamy in which people may have romantic and sexual relationships with multiple people at the same time. And when Perel was asked how she’s seen these relationships transpire, she said attachment style matters.

“One criteria that I do think is important for people who want to live in a more plural model of love, or model of sexuality, is there needs to be internally a sense of secure attachment,” she tells mbg. “There needs to be a sense that, ‘If you go to someone else, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to be with me.'”

She goes on to explain that for people in polyamorous relationships who don’t have a secure attachment style, polyamory can bring up a lot of insecurities. People will either shut down and avoid connection (avoidant attachment), or anxiously pursue more (anxious attachment).

“It demands a degree of maturity [and] groundedness, or what other people call a secure attachment,” she says. “That is really important for people.”

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