Various versions and similar relationships to throuples have been around for centuries in different guises; however, the term and life approach seems to be growing in popularity and more widely accepted within the LGBTQ+ community. A throuple typically refers to a committed polyamorous relationship that consists of three partners. The relationship can consist of three people from the same gender, a mix of genders, or from various non-gender-conforming individuals. All those involved in the throuple are making a commitment to one another when forming the relationship.
No - polyamory is the term used to refer to individuals who are in relationships with more than one person. The practice has been around for centuries, and within many ancient civilisations, it was considered the norm within society. In ancient Greece or Rome, though marriages were only permitted between two individuals, many would take multiple concubines and partners with members of the same or opposite sex, while still married. In the Ottoman and Persian empires, it was commonplace for the Sultan or Emirs to take multiple wives, all of which would cohabit in areas known as harems. In the 1800s, polyamorous encounters have even endorsed by governments. Paraguay was involved in a six-year-long battle with its neighbours Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in 1879 known as the “War of the Triple Alliance”. After the war, Paraguay had lost over 300 thousand men and as a result, had a larger population of women than men. Men, women, and even celibate priests were encouraged to take multiple female partners to help repopulate the country.
Let’s first look at the various types of relationships and terms and then the legal status. There are many terms related to relationships involving multiple partners. Polyamory relates to a relationship, similar to boyfriend or girlfriend status with numerous partners, while polygamy traditionally refers to marriage, a legal relationship between a man and multiple female wives. Bigamy is a legal term for when someone marries, while they are already married to another person. Many countries recognise marriage as a commitment and relationship between two people at any given point in time, to marry someone new, the individual would be required to divorce or terminate their first marriage, without doing so would be considered illegal. Polyandry is the term used for when a woman is married to multiple male partners. So, in terms of marriage, it often comes down to the laws that exist within any given country. In 2020, 46 countries legally recognise polygamy:
- 20% (46) of all countries around the world allow polygamy
- 2% (4) of all countries allow polygamy only when the marriage relates to individuals that identify as Muslims
- 54% are from Africa countries, 43% from Asian countries and only 1 (or 2%) are from Oceania
- None of the countries that permit polygamy, also do not recognise same-sex unions, partnerships or marriages
- The remaining 183 countries (78%) classify polygamy as a crime, in which individuals would likely be prosecuted under the law
- The 46 countries that allow polygamy are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, The Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Zambia
- The 4 countries that allow polygamy for Muslims are India, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore
Many of the countries that legally recognise polygamy are either Islamic countries or have large populations of Muslims, as polygamy still exists in many religions and practices. Sunni and Shia Muslim men are allowed to marry up to four wives, subject to strict rules. Mormon, Buddhism, Evangelical Lutherans and Hindu faiths all allow polygamy, however, it is subject to the country in which the individuals are located as to whether it is legally recognised. If any of the countries that currently permit polygamous marriages were to recognise same-sex unions, partnerships or marriages, then technically LGBTQ+ individuals would be able to form polygamous marriages with their partners legally.
All throuples within the LGBTQ+ community will be polyamory. Polyamorous relationships are typically not illegal; however, these types of relationship do not have any legal status or protection for the partners. For example, if one partner died, though any shared assets would be transferred to the surviving partners, they would be subject to taxes on the assets, something which often does not apply between surviving spouses. One question usually asked by many interested in polyamorous relationships relates to love and whether all of the partners love each other equally. Most throuples would answer that there is a lot of love; however, the love that they share for one another is different. The easiest way is to liken this is to all the people you love or have loved in your life. You will likely love each person but differently. For each partner, it might be an attraction, their personality, specific characteristics, and for family, shared genetics, history and support. So, with throuples, each person loves each partner; however, likely for different reasons.
Though there are no official statistics or estimates with regards to the number of throuples around the world, according to the media and specialist websites and smartphone applications, these types of relationships are growing in popularity amongst heterosexual and LGBTQ+ individuals. Specialist services which help connect people from around the globe have been developed to meet the growing demand, such as:
All of these services offer a place for like-minded individuals to meet and to help them form new relationships.
In a world full of uncertainty, the rise of far-right politics and pandemics, groups who love one another and hurt no one cannot be ranked low on the morality scale. Though these types of relationships may not suit everyone, they have been around for centuries. As we evolve as societies, we likely become more accepting and respectful of people’s choices and lifestyles, especially when it has no impact on us or our daily lives.
Ultimately, if everyone is consenting and of legal age, it does not matter who you love, just that you love