Differences between Polygamy, Polyandry and Polyamory

• Relationships can be complex but what is important is understanding that different things work for different people.

Repeated offenders
Image: Courtesy

In modern times, there are different types of relationships that people get into. It is very easy to confuse them as they are almost similar to each other.

The truth is that there is a difference. The most confusing types of relationships are Polygamy, Polyandry, and polyamory.

They are mostly confused as they both involve 'multiple partners'.


Polygamy usually happens when a man marries multiple women.

The wedding can be white or traditional.

The practice has for ages been accepted among Muslims, Luhya, and Maasai among others.

In modern day polygamy has become the norm with some people taking up to three or four wives.

In such a setup, it is not a must for the man to inform others about his decision to take in another wife.

Some do so out of courtesy and for peace to reign in their home.


Polyamory is when a man is romantically linked with many partners (men and women) or when a woman has multiple partners (men or women).

This means that you and your partner can still date other people.

It is most rampant in the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Both types of relationships can work for those involved, but they require open communication, honesty, and mutual respect to thrive.


Polyandry is a practice where a woman has more than one husband.

In recent years Polyandry has been picking up in Africa.

There have been a few cases of women marrying two men.

An example is that of Nellie

 Nellie is a mother of two children and she has three husbands, Jimmy, Danny, and Hassan who have all become best friends.

The woman and her three husbands live in the same house and the men take pride in being with their wives wherever they go.

In an interview with Afrimax, Nellie said she has lived with her three husbands for three years.

"I was married before but my husband died in a car accident after we had two children. I was left with his brother and we continued to live in my husband's house."

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