Language is a funny thing: while definitions seem to be precise and specific, words are often interpreted differently by different people. Such is the case when it comes to defining “open relationship”, “polyamorous” and “swinger”. There are many places to read up on what these mean in more detail, but it isn’t difficult to find conflicting definitions.
I consider “open relationship” to be a broader, umbrella term, that refers to any variation of non-monogamous relationship. Polyamory and swinging are more specific types of open relationships, the former focuses on emotional connection that allows for falling in love, the latter on sexual play between couples that tend to only play together.
But as explored on a recent Swingset post, it’s far less important to worry about the definition of these terms, and what you consider yourself, as it is to ensure you and your significant other(s) are on the same page about your rules and standards. And of course, even if someone or a couple labels themselves as one thing, it is common for that not to remain static over time. Allowing yourself the freedom to explore what feels right, regardless of what it’s called, is one of the joys of open relationships.