Posts Tagged ‘poly relationship’


I had a look through my top search terms and below some very specific ones, i.e. people looking for me specifically, this question was closest to the top. I thought I’d try it out in Google and my page, in fact, is in the top ten when I type this phrase in.

So I’ll try to answer this question as best as I can.

First of all, there are authors out there who know a hell of a lot more about this stuff than I do. Their wisdom is humbling. Start off by doing some research.

Here’s a basic reading list of books:

Blogs to check out:

As for my advice, based on my own experiences, there are some key points to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether to explore polyamory.

What are your views about sex?

Do you believe that sex is fun, natural and an important part of life? Do you feel that it is a need, something that you have a right to have fulfilled? Is it something you can do without and still feel fulfilled? Do you have any guilt or shame associated with sex, alternative sex practices, homosexuality or paraphilias? Are you currently with a partner who for whatever reason, leaves you feeling sexually unfulfilled? Is polyamory appealing to you because you want to have sex with more than one person, or because you feel constrained within a monogamous relationship? Is your partner’s pleasure important to you? How would you feel if your partner had better sexual chemistry with someone other than you?

The reason these are important questions is because sex is a big part of this. If you are able to honestly assess your sexuality, and openly talk about sex, polyamory will be a lot easier for you. If you have any discomfort about sex, either your own sex life or that of any of your partners, that’s something to work on.

All that said, it’s possible you are not a very sexual person. Maybe you are asexual or demisexual. This does not mean you have to miss out on multiple loves. I have met several people with low sex drives who still live a poly lifestyle. The best part of that is, they do not have to have ‘perfect’ sexual chemistry with each of their partners. They are happy for their partner to find sexual chemistry with someone else, and are happy to have the pressure off them to be more sexual than they want to be.

Are you an honest person?

Do you share everything with your partners? How do you feel about ‘little white lies’ or lying to protect someone’s feelings? Are you able to talk about things which are uncomfortable, awkward or unpleasant? Do you like to keep certain things to yourself, or preserving some privacy?

Honesty is very, very important in polyamory. I cannot stress this enough. If you feel that people have a right to their secrets, or that someone doesn’t have a right to know about something that doesn’t directly affect them, then maybe polyamory is not right for you. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for privacy in polyamory, it’s just that it is something each couple (or triad or whatever configuration) needs to negotiate for themselves. If you prefer a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell arrangement, your partner needs to be comfortable with that. If you don’t want to know details, then if your partner is a sharer, you’re going to have conflict. You just can’t base a decision about whether to share information on how you feel in the moment, whether because of fear of judgement or because witholding that information gives you power. You also cannot make assumptions about what someone ‘needs to know’ or ‘has a right to know’ for them. These kinds of things are best sorted out before there is anything to know. For me, it’s better to err on the side of over-sharing than under-sharing. Nothing feels worse to me than feeling like I’m not getting the whole story. Some people don’t need to know everything, so long as they feel loved and trust that their partner is practicing safe sex. In all cases, lying, either by falsehood or omission takes away a person’s consent, even if that lie is with the best of intentions.

Are you a good communicator?

Do you choose your words carefully? Do you speak your mind without a filter? Can you clearly express your thoughts and ideas, or do you often find yourself struggling to find the right words and often say the wrong thing? When you’re unclear on somebody’s meaning, do you ask them to clarify or do you assume you know what they mean and act accordingly? Are you good at reading someone’s actions when their words don’t add up, and do you ask questions to make sure you don’t misinterpret them?

Communication is hard. If we could hook up our brains to cables, and transmit our thoughts in binary, polyamory would be a walk in the park. Sometimes, even then there would be miscommunications. Sometimes, it’s easy to take what people say at face value. Personally, I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person, and I sometimes miss important information because I listen to what people say rather than reading their actions. I’m getting better at doing the latter, and I’ve been able to avoid some conflict because of this. Communication is essential in creating trust and establishing consent.

How good is your emotional intelligence?

Do you usually know how you feel? Are you able to articulate your feelings or do you tend to react before you think about them? Do you respect the feelings of others, or do you think someone’s feelings are their own problem? Do you allow yourself to have feelings, or do you suppress them to avoid conflict?

As a mother, I’m starting to try to teach my son to identify and express his emotions in a healthy way. I’d rather he say, “I’m angry” than throw things or hit another child. Tantrums are expressions of emotions: frustration, anger, fear, loss, rejection and even embarrassment. In adulthood, we do some of the same things, or we punish people around us for making us feel negative things. Maybe we don’t throw Lego blocks around the room, but we might yell and kick the furniture. We might threaten violence, or use our emotions as a weapon.

In polyamory, we often talk about ‘owning your emotions’ as a key to avoiding jealousy. Jealousy itself is a sign of other, deeper emotions and insecurities. When you own your emotions, you don’t hold them back, saying, “don’t worry about me, I’m just feeling ____.” Or worse, keeping them to yourself because it’s not how you’re “supposed to” feel or you have “no right” to feel that way. This can be very hard to overcome. The ability to identify, communicate and negotiate your emotions is extremely important, and if it’s something you don’t do naturally, you’ve got to be willing to work on it, to try to improve and to forgive others when they mess things up. Owning your emotions means you are able to say “I am feeling some anxiety whenever you’re out with ____, and I’m afraid I’m going to be replaced. This is my own issue and I’m trying to get over it, but it would help me if you call and check in if you’re staying overnight, just until I start feeling more secure.” Statement of feelings, admission that this is not the other person’s fault, and a suggestion of a solution.

By contrast, “I don’t like you staying out with ____. You shouldn’t stay out overnight without checking in.” Doesn’t identify any feelings, and instead of a request, it’s prescriptive and suggests the other person should already have known this would be a problem. Another bad thing would be: “That was really rude that you didn’t check in last night. That made me feel really anxious and I couldn’t sleep.” Here we have an expression of emotions, but also punishment for unspoken expectations, judgement and blaming the other person for those emotions. And possibly the absolute worst. “I’m glad you had fun last night. Don’t worry about me, I was just at home crying in my empty bed while you were out planning your new life with ____.” Gee, passive aggressive much?

Do you know where your boundaries are?

How many second, third or X number of chances do you tend to give? Is there any behaviour that is a hard limit for you? The truth is, in poly relationships people are going to make mistakes. You are going to make mistakes too. Can you forgive these mistakes in others and in yourself? Without a dictated social script, you are going to have to define your boundaries for yourself. I’ve written about rules and boundaries before, and it’s still a very important topic.

I have found my hard limit is dishonesty. Also, breaking a safe sex agreement is difficult for me to get over. Actions that repeatedly show a disregard for or insensitivity to my limits and feelings, another. Even within these, I can be flexible and forgiving. I just need to be assured that the person is willing to work on things, and if it is clear to me they are not, if I get a lot of apologies and not a lot of change, then it’s time to part ways. An important lesson I’ve learned about apologies is that if you are not willing to have someone turn down your apology, it was never a real apology.

Do you know any other polyamorous people?

There are poly enclaves in every city I’ve lived in, with varying levels of cohesion. Sometimes there is just a pocket of a few interconnected folks, sometimes it’s an assumed part of another sub-culture (I’ve found this in the kink community – rather than an assumption of monogamy, there is an assumption of non-monogamy). There are many online communities and groups around. The poly community on Reddit is very active and there are many private and public Facebook groups. But not everyone is comfortable being part of the ‘polyamorous community’. There can be pressure to define yourself by this one facet of your life. There is also usually drama, and often there can be factions and splits.

Whether or not I have been a part of a ‘poly community,’ I’ve always found it helpful to have at least one poly friend who is neither a lover or a metamour. Someone who I can talk to about poly relationship issues who is not directly or indirectly involved. Being a lonely poly island is difficult and it helps to have someone you trust who may have been through similar trials.


Well, I hope that helps. Keep in mind, this list is based on my own experience and preferences. There are a lot of experts out there who might say different things, and it’s important to find the advice that applies to you.

What about you, reader? What advice would you give someone who is just starting out? What sites, groups, books would you recommend?

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Well, I survived.

I survived my paramour’s – that is, my BOYFRIEND’s – month long absence and it was ok!

He actually ended up meeting my parents, which was a bit strange. My mom knows the whole story, but my dad was just happy to meet one of my friends (as he was led to believe). Dear old Pater did the dad-ly, dudely thing and gave my ‘friend’ a tour of the town and took him out for a pint. Things he would still have done for a mono-boyfriend, but was happy to do for ‘just a friend.’ Because of that, I feel no need to break my dad’s innocent ignorance. He’s happy enough to treat my man like a member of the family as is. No need to fill in the details.

Upon his return, my sweetie declared that he was ready to use the official title ‘boyfriend’ since he had met my folks. A move which I found incredibly sweet. It was all NRE all over again, and only a few weeks later, we broke the seal on the “L” word. No, not “long-term” but “love” as in “I love you” and even, “I wuvs you” when we’re feeling particularly disgusting.

There was another interesting development which I meant to write about but didn’t (oh, how life tends to get in the way of blogging…). And that is that my Godparents’ sons and their wife have come out as a poly-triad (open ended, I assume, since she also has a girlfriend). It’s nice to have a bit of my extended family, of sorts, that can validate my lifestyle choice, but it was still very telling to see my family’s reaction. There was no outright shock, but there was a bit of ‘I don’t need to see that’ reaction. We all kind of knew, but there was a sense that they should keep that stuff to themselves. I sent a message voicing my support to them, explaining that I was in the same boat, or at least the same fleet. I was surprised that my brother, in particular, was very judgmental. I think he still sees his friend (one of the brothers) as being exploited by the situation. I don’t know, but I know that they’ve been together for years and they are raising beautiful children together in a house full of love. And that’s all ok by me (even if they are a bit on the hippie side of things).

As far as my son goes, he’s doing very well. His speech is coming along, slowly but surely. He’s seen a speech therapist who thinks he’s probably just delayed, not showing signs of ASD or anything. I’ve been given some strategies which I’m trying to implement, and like I said, he’s making progress. He’s able to sort of say “lemon” “watermelon” and “apple” as well as “house” and as of today, he recognises the letter “D” and says “deeh” when he sees it. So proud.

Husband has started seeing a new lady, with whom I really get along. She’s also great with my son and he has taken to her easily. She crashes over at our house quite a bit since she lives far away, which doesn’t bother me at all. I like her. In fact, I think I’ve got some kind of meta-NRE. I just think she’s fabulous and really good for Husband. He feels happy and relaxed with her and I like to see that. Between the stress of talking about home and Baby when he hangs out with me, and the stress of talking about work when he hangs out with Girlfriend, he deserves to have someone he can just talk about video games and other stuff with. After all, that’s what Boyfriend is for me.

This weekend, Husband’s Girlfriend, Boyfriend and I are going to be running in a 10K fun run. Inspired by HG’s participation in a fun run (during the training for which, I was her gym buddy), I thought it would be great to challenge myself. Between those two and their active lifestyle, I’ve picked up some great healthy habits. I’ve been running, working out and generally just being an active person for several months and I’ve noticed huge changes in my body. I’m fit. Like, really, noticeably fit. And I’m the weight I was when I was in college. Lighter, actually. I wasn’t doing it to lose weight, I was doing it to be healthier and fitter, and I can feel that I really am. It’s great. I’m thirty and I’m in better shape than I was when I was 20. Hot damn.

And I have my poly family to thank.

Who would have thought polyamory could be so good for your health?

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