Is A Polyamorous Relationship Right For You?
Table of Contents
19 Do’s, Don’ts, and Other Things You Should Know
A Polyamorous relationship typically involve multiple parties and can also have multiple genders. Polyamorous relationship differ from monogamous relationships in that all participants can have one or several relationships at once. Some polyamorous relationships may open couples’ monogamous relationships to one or many potential partners. Some relationship types begin in a polyamorous way in a poly-advocate form and have many partners as well. Often polyamorous relations like throuples (also known as “three-person couples”) include three individuals within the relationship.
And the learning goes on and on.. And on! Here are 19 tips that can help you discover more about yourself and polyamory before, or even after, you dive in!
Know that it’s okay to experiment with polyamory
There is no right or wrong way to be polyamorous. Very much like other forms of ENM – Ethical Non Monogamy it is basically a choose your own adventure that you make up as you go, learn and experience.
Part of the allure of polyamorous relationships is that it can be fresh and new almost every day if you want them to be and if your dynamics allow for it. So don’t get caught up in a certain label or a version of polyamory that you heard works for someone else. Create your own path and be open to allow it to lead you to your perfect version of a polyamorous relationship.
Research polyamorous relationship prior to diving in
Just like anything in life you are much more likely to be successful if you do your homework prior to diving in. Nobody (and we do mean nobody) has it all figured out so there is no one “how to” guide out there.
Seek out multiple perspectives and glean the golden nuggets that fit your values from everything you read and learn. Also never assume you have learned enough, always be on a path of seeking to understand more about yourself and your polyamory journey or you run the risk of becoming stagnant.
Know your boundaries and limits
Know your limits and play within it! Many people say boundaries are meant to be pushed through but that is not the case for everyone. Get in touch with your own and seek out what your comfort zone is prior to beginning your dive into the unique world of polyamory. Once you do define your boundaries, be prepared to share them with others on your journey. You can not expect them to be honored or adhered to if you are not able to clearly articulate your needs, want, and desires.
Know that not everyone is open to a polyamorous relationship
Not everyone currently in your life or that will enter it in the future will be open to a polyamorous relationship, and that’s ok! Be clear about how and why you are though and stay true to what is best for you throughout. Don’t be afraid to grow apart or grow closer to the people in your life that align with your relationship goals. If you get stuck in a not ideal relationship dynamic you may end up becoming resentful or hurt and that is not a good place to be
Don’t be afraid to change the terms of your relationship
We all change and evolve as we grow and learn and so should the terms of a relationship. This is especially important in a polyamorous dynamic as you and your partners grow and learn from experience. Just like above, revisit your relationship dynamic often, check in with all of your partners and make sure things are still as they should be.
And if they are not – change the terms to suit what works best for all involved! Do not assume that changing your relationship is a bad thing because, in fact, it is a healthy thing that might even make sense to book time for a periodic review with those you love. Communication is always good and in an ENM world, it is the best thing.
Discuss polyamory with your current partner
No, we are not advocating you ambush your partner and tell them you are now poly. We are saying that it’s never too late to explore if it is a fit for your current relationship. We all fantasize and who knows where the subject might lead you? If you are not currently in a relationship then seek out people with knowledge of ENM and the type of relationship dynamic you are interested in to learn more… and potentially meet people who might explore it with you.
Know that polyamory is often oversexualized
The mainstream idea of polyamory is a puppy pile of people and that it’s all about group sex. This is about as far from reality as you can get as far as we are concerned. There are many (and we do mean many) forms of polyamory and some do not even involve any type of sexual interaction. Again this comes back to learning, reading, and speaking to people with actual knowledge that can help guide you about what polyamory really is about.
Know that polyamorous relationships require a LOT of communication
Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more! You can never have enough clarity and reason to seek it than when you are in an ENM relationship. Make time for conversations with everyone in your relationship and make sure you actively listen to everyone’s views and feelings.
Communicating is the key to everything and we strongly suggest it becomes part of who you and your people are.
Ask for what you need
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get…. Unless you ask for it! Nobody we know can read minds, sure some people are intuitive and can understand nuances but you gotta ask for what you need!
Just like the hallmark of any ENM encounter, consent, asking for what you need, want, and desire is the only way to bring it into being. Never assume or expect people to get what you are laying down unless you actually put it into existence with words!
Don’t assume that polyamory will fix existing problems in your relationship
In the swingers world if you ever attend an event or party you can quickly pick out the couple that is not on the same page. One might be much more eager, or they might at times look to be in a heated conversation among other indicators. They really should not be in a space that can ruin an experience for others and the same goes for polyamorous relationships.
You need to have a strong foundational base prior to dipping your toes into a world where strong EQ, communication skills, and evolved thinking are your best tools to have. If you do have some foundation things to work on in your current relationship seek out help. There is a multitude of people out there trained and willing to help you become the best couple version you can be prior to taking on more in your relationship.
Don’t forget to check in with your partner(s)
Consistent check-ins make sure nothing is left to fester into a larger issue. Are you newly dating someone outside of your traditional dynamic? Then check in with your partner(s) to be sure everything is good for them and going as well as you think it is. As simple “hey, is everything good” can and will open up conversations that matter or at the very least show that you do truly care and want the best for your relationship.
Know that you will need to establish ground rules for the relationship
Not only are ground rules important they need to be revisited often to make sure they are effective and still relevant. Seek out rules from all involved that take into account everyone’s wishes. All ground rules are valid so seek to understand why they are important to the person(s) bringing them to the relationship and how you can honor them best.
Ground rules are not meant to confine or control, they are meant to ensure that trust is built and held up and that people feel honored.
Forcing double standards e.g. involuntary mono-poly, or One Penis Policies
While ground rules are important they need to be equitable and fair. Double standards or “do as I say, not as I do” rules will only result in a breakdown of trust and a violation of a person worth in a relationship. If it is good for you why can’t it be good for your partners? If you can not find that common ground maybe you need to take a few steps back and reassess before going forward.
Changing, testing, or violating relationship agreements and boundaries (or refusing to discuss them at all)
Agreements are meant to be honored and not pushed up against or pushed past to “see” how it goes. Going back to communication it is essential that all parties can freely discuss agreements and boundaries and feel confident that they will be heard and respected.
Being an NRE junkie, a ‘collector’, or dating despite polysaturation
We GET that there is a dopamine hit when a new relationship takes shape or someone says yes to a first date. We all love that feeling but we can not chase it at the cost of important relationships already in play.
Before seeking out new relationships ask yourself if you have the bandwidth to fairly and equitably maintain the ones you are already in, if it is fair to your existing commitments and if you even need a new partner in your life. Diving into something new is exciting but can land you in a bad space if you are not able to balance all that you have going on.
Moving way too fast
We all know people that can meet someone and be moving in with them a week later without regard for getting to know them better first. Sometimes moving fast is exhilarating but it can come at a cost. Be thoughtful in your speed of evolving a new relationship and be sure to communicate openly with all involved.
Demanding a Kitchen Table Polyamory (KTP) dynamically
Everyone has different needs, wants, desires, and attractions and a connection has to be built not forced. If KTP is something you want create a space for it to blossom and allow it to, or not. Forcing or demanding will never work out and will create feelings that may not allow for any type of relationship to be cultivated.
Not respecting your privacy, or your other partners’ privacy
What happens in fight club… stays in fight club – the same rings true when it comes to respecting the privacy of those you love and care for. It is not your place to tell others about someone else’s dynamics unless you are given consent to do so. Always respect privacy, people will respect you for it.
Dating as a ‘package deal’ using bait-and-switch and unicorn hunting
This never works out and mostly leads to a bad experience for one or all involved. Be honest always, if you are a couple say so and explain that you want to date as a couple. If one of you is shy that’s ok! But do not send out the fishing lure to bring something home for the shy one, again be honest!
And finally, really dive deep into what a threesome might mean for all involved and understand the ethics before you seek out a third. There is something seedy about unicorn hunting; don’t be seedy!
This list is just a starting point if you are interested in seeing if a polyamorous relationship is right for you. Seek out more information and speak to people with experience to bring together your own thoughts on what is best for you and if this is the right path for you. We suggest even dipping your toes in (after having open honest conversations in your existing relationship) and attending a simple meet and greet to get a feel for who and what is out there.