What to Know About the Kitchen Table Polyamory Frame



Jhe concept of “chosen family” generally conjures up a close-knit group of friends. For some people who practice polyamoryso can their polycule – the group of people bound by their various partnerships, and those of their partners, or metamours. This dynamic is called “kitchen table polyamory” or KTP, and functions as a community of partners rather than isolated relationships maintained separately.

“KTP describes a relaxed and integrated status for your current polyamorous relationship,” says Morgana K., polyamorous mentor and non-monogamous content creator. “It’s when you feel comfortable enough to hang out with your partners and their partners, metaphorically at the kitchen table.” This metaphorical “kitchen table” can involve as many people as there are in the same polycule.

Unlike some other polyamorous structures that prioritize the separation of relationships, such as parallel polyamory or one don’t ask, don’t tell framework—KTP brings people together, even if they don’t date. “It basically organizes a sort of found family or chosen family dynamic, so there’s a lot of interconnectivity between the polycule and all of its members,” explains Leanne Yaua polyamorous educator and content creator.

“Kitchen table polyamory organizes a sort of found-family or chosen-family dynamic.” -Leanne Yau, polyamory educator and content creator.

Kitchen table polyamory may look different for different polycules, but component of connectivity between all members remains constant, says licensed clinical social worker and poly-affirming therapist Leah Cohen, LCSW. “It is often important to the polycule as a whole that relationships are cultivated between members, whether they are in love or not,” they say. “People practicing kitchen table polyamory often try to befriend their metaloves, or at least maintain open and friendly communication.”

Metaloves being friends or at least friendly “can foster a sense of community and minimize any feelings of exclusion or secrecy,” Morgan K. says. close friendships even among others within the polycule. It could also lead to even deeper bonds and increased commitment to all members of the “found family,” Yau says.

As with any relationship structure, KTP can include a number of moving parts that can manifest as advantages or disadvantages, depending on who is involved and how they choose to go about it. Being aware of these components and how they may uniquely resonate with you can in turn help you assess whether a polyamory kitchen table setting might work for you.

Potential benefits of practicing kitchen table polyamory

Kitchen table polyamory is believed to give people a sense of family, which can be especially powerful for those who may have less strong ties to their biological family members or who could otherwise use an additional family-like presence. in their life. “The main thing is a very secure support network,” says Yau. “This is especially useful if you are married or have children.” She offers examples of partners able to share childcare, support each other on dates, or even care for each other if one of the polycule members fell ill or had a seizure. Beyond the practical benefits of a dynamic KTP, polycules can enjoy “better communication, a greater sense of community…and the ability to access shared resources,” says Cohen.

“[Kitchen table polyamory can lead to] better communication, a greater sense of community…and the ability to access shared resources. —Leah Cohen, LCSW

Partners who choose to engage in KTP may find that the communication network it requires gives way to healthier connections, even when problems arise. “An open dialogue between [metamours] can help with accountability and even conflict resolution,” says Morgan K. Additionally, a sense of obligation to maintain communication and minimize feelings of exclusion or jealousy generally benefits everyone and helps to develop the feeling of support and connection between the whole polycule. It could also lead to increased feelings of compersion, or the term poly for feeling of happiness from your partner’s satisfaction with another partner.

Disadvantages of a polyamory kitchen table to know

There are a number of benefits to feeling a sense of family love and support among members of a polycule, but that doesn’t mean KTP comes without any complications. When all members of the polycule are expected to be equally involved in sharing their lives, members who are not interested may feel uncomfortable.

“Kitchen table polyamory can become toxic if a particular type of interaction is a rigid expectation and doesn’t allow for individual needs or desires,” Cohen says, adding that the more people involved, the bigger the problems. can occur.

Not all metaloves want the same degree of closeness in their relationships with each other, and it’s important that a KTP dynamic leaves room for that nuance. “KTP can also get ugly if the dynamic is forced,” Yau says.

How to decide if kitchen table polyamory is right for you

Ultimately, KTP doesn’t work for everyone. If that doesn’t work for you, but you’re in a relationship with someone who does KTP, that’s not necessarily a sign of the relationship stopping either. “It is possible to start a relationship with someone who practices [KTP] without doing it yourself, but success depends on an individual’s limits or any agreements they may have with other partners, as well as the existing norms in the polycule,” says Cohen. This may mean that your partner may need to check in with the other members of the polycule to get a temperature check on their comfort level, while ensuring that your boundaries and emotional needs also come first.

The most important thing to consider when exploring a KTP dynamic is what’s right for you and your partnerships. If everyone in the polycule is comfortable and ready to try the dynamic, you have a better chance of doing it successfully. As long as everyone’s comfort level and emotional needs are considered, Yau says, “KTP creates opportunities for a strong support network and found family, [and] this creates more opportunities for collaboration and compersion rather than competition.

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