So my boyfriend and I are in a very committed relationship with each other, but there's this girl were kind of in, like, an open relationship with? (We'll call her E.) My bf and I are intimate with E, but only when the three of us are together. We kiss, cuddle, etc. We all love each other A LOT, but E is free to date/be intimate with whoever she wants without us. We don't consider ourselves in a "serious relationship," but we're way more than friends. Is this polyam or just complicated?
P.S. I apologize deeply if I misused any terms, and I did not at all mean to imply that polyam relationships are less serious than monogamous ones, I was referring to our situation individually when I said "we don't consider ourselves in a 'serious relationship.'" Sorry if that came off wrong!
There are more options in the world than “polyam” or “just complicated.” Because it doesn’t sound like your situation is “complicated” at all! It sounds like you all know what you want and how to get it, and that you’ve found a relationship arrangement that works for all parties involved. I wouldn’t call that “complicated” at all!
It’s up to you whether you want to identify your relationship as polyamorous. Here’s my FAQ page on that. If identifying as polyamorous helps you find language and resources to keep things happy and healthy, great! If it doesn’t seem relevant or necessary, great! You might also consider checking out Relationship Anarchy, which is a way of thinking about relationships that makes lots of space for different types of emotions, arrangements, etc. without trying to force them into pre-existing formats and boxes, including “polyamorous!” I’d say this is a pretty great example of RA, personally - people who know how they connect sexually and emotionally, and who don’t assume that those connections mean they have to do everything else a certain way. But I don’t decide what and who you are, you do!
I also really loved the sweet little postscript. It’s rare that I get hurt or offended by a letter-writer’s language (with some notable exceptions); I usually try to gently steer people toward a linguistic re-framing for their sake, not mine. I think it’s clear that you’ve thought intentionally and honestly about the language you use around “commitment” and “serious relationship” and how that applies to your relationship, which is probably one reason it’s working so well for you three. It’s good to recognize that your application of certain terms and ideas doesn’t generalize to other people, and to be considerate with your language. You’re good, letter-writer; keep on keeping on!