Areas of difference arise regarding the degree of commitment, such as in the practice of casual sexual activities, and whether it represents a viewpoint or a relational status quo (i.e., whether a person without current partners should be considered "polyamorous").Polyamorous relationships can be open, where the relational partners agree to permit romantic or sexual relationships with other people, or closed, where those involved do not engage in relationships outside of the defined set of committed partners.Confusion arises when polyamory is misapplied in a broader sense, as an umbrella term for various forms of consensual non-monogamous, multi-partner relationships (including polyamory), or consensual non-exclusive sexual or romantic relationships.
The only form in which polygamy is legally recognised in countries which do so, is for a man to take multiple wives.
In those countries that do not permit polygamy, a person who marries a second person while still being lawfully married is committing the crime of bigamy.
In the global context, acceptance of polygamy is common.
"Polygamy" generally refers to codified forms of multiple marriage (especially those with a traditional/religious basis), while "polyamory" implies a relationship defined by negotiation between its members, rather than by cultural norms.
Polyamory is culturally rooted in such concepts as choice and individuality, rather than in religious traditions. negotiating the ground rules for unconventional relationships, or the question of coming out to family and friends), and the cross-pollination of ideas takes place between the two.