Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
While "open relationship" is sometimes used as a synonym for "polyamory" or "polyamorous relationship", the terms are not synonymous.
The "open" in "open relationship" refers to the sexual aspect of a relationship, whereas "polyamory" refers to allowing bonds to form (which may be sexual or otherwise) as additional long-term relationships.
Some believe that open relationships occur more frequently in certain demographics, such as the young rather than the old in America, including, more specifically, the college-educated middle-class, rather than the uneducated working-class, or people of certain ethnic and/or other racial minorities.
Cultural pressure may also dissuade initiating or switching to an open relationship.
There is a commonly held societal stereotype that those involved in open relationships are less committed or mature than those who are in monogamous relationships.
Neither barrier device use (such as condoms) nor more vigilant STI testing and vaccination can eliminate such risk, but can reduce the statistical increase attributable to nonmonogamy.
By taking the time to develop a clear idea of what both partners want out of the openness of a relationship, it allows the parties involved to self-reflect, process their emotions, deal with possible conflicts, and (for those transitioning from monogamy to nonmonogamy) find ways to cope with the change.
Negotiating the details of the open relationship is important throughout the communication process.
This helps to reassure each partner in the relationship that their opinion is important and matters.
However, although ability to veto can be a useful tool in negotiation, a successful negotiation and open relationship can still occur without it.