The Infinity Heart Symbol and Polyamory

Here’s a little quiz: five symbols and what they represent….

€      ©    π          

Money (well, the Euro); the copyright sign I’ve attached to text I’ve quoted on the blog; Greek pi, which I always feel weaves a magic spell, mathematically speaking, so I’m not sure what it truly represents; a lemniscate, to indicate infinity; and a red heart — for love. Sometimes, though, the heart and lemniscate are combined or intertwined. Like this….

 infinity heart w.jpg

The infinity heart, a much used symbol of polyamory.

The design is popular with folk who are most definitely monogamous too. They see it as a means of showing affection for one other person only. A declaration of fidelity and of love that will last an eternity. In a polyamorous relationship, though, the heart and lemniscate take on a different meaning. The lemniscate represents openness rather than infinity/ eternity. In some polyam relationships, ‘openness’ means no restrictions. That is, it’s acceptable for those within the group to have relationships with other people if they wish to. That type of openness is probably how many people think that polyamory operates. An excuse for the participants to indulge in free love or be promiscuous. But it isn’t the way the four protagonists in my stories operate. Their relationship is ‘open’ but, simultaneously, it is very ‘closed’. Here’s one of them, ex-cop, Mike Angells, explaining in the second book, Polyamory on Trial.… (Raith is a ceramist and painter, and one of the quad.)

…. for us, openness is about the movements within the group. That’s the point of the infinity sign in our tattoos. It represents an infinite, continuous track that all four of us can travel around, but there aren’t any spurs or sidin’s leadin’ off it. That is, we’re none of us promiscuous. The way Raith designed the tattoos, you can see that the infinity sign cuts the heart in four places only. That’s one for each of us. In all the years we’ve been together, as far as I know, there’s only been one occasion when someone’s strayed and gone outside that infinite track, and, to my shame, it was me. ©Jude Tresswell

I think it’s a very powerful symbol, which is why a variant is on the cover of all my books, broken on one, but intact on the others. (See post Book Covers Tell Polyamorous Tales although, since that post, the series has grown. ) Even the colours are meaningful in poly-speak. The heart is usually shown in red, to represent love and passion, and the lemniscate in blue, for openness and honesty. I’m not sure, but I imagine that the colours and their significance are derived from the Polyamory Pride flag designed and made freely available  by Jim Evans.  The black stripe indicates solidarity with people who must hide their choice of lifestyle from the outside world, and π, the  golden pi sign? Pi for the ‘p’ in polyamory and gold for the value placed on emotional attachments to others, be they friendly, romantic or physical ones.


Attribution Jim Evans [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

You can’t really tweak the flag, but the infinity heart is capable of many variations and just as many applications. Pinterest is full of infinity heart designs — on clothing, as accessories, as jewellery and, as my men use it, as tattoos…. Mike and two of the others, Ross and Phil,  have the tattoo on an arm, but Raith, who regards his skin as just another canvas to create art on, has his tattoo on his neck. That means, of course, that he wouldn’t have been able to join the story’s fictional local police force, Tees, Tyne and Wear, nor the very real  Kent Constabulary nor the MET. No visible tattoos. (At least, visible tattoos were taboo for Kent and the MET at one time. Possibly still.) As Mike recognises, though, explaining the meaning of the design to some of the locals could prove awkward….

here in the North East explainin’ a polyam tattoo mightn’t get you endeared to certain members of the public! Especially the ones that stand on the terraces. You’d be tellin’ them about all the things that the tattoo symbolises—and they’d be thinkin’ we’re a load of dirty buggers who are in and out of each other’s arses all day and night. That’s so far from what we are and what we do. ©Jude Tresswell

To discover who the four men are, and what they do, you’ll have to read the books! There are now six stories in the series, ebooks and paperbacks. They are all available from Amazon. My page, complete with infinity hearts, is

Poly Pride flag: from