Love, relationships, and intimacy are as diverse as the individuals who experience them. Polyamory, a consensually non-monogamous relationship style, has gained increasing recognition and acceptance in recent years. You’ve probably seen Tik Tok’s, TV shows, blog articles and other media about with couples who are trying polyamory or currently in polyamorous relationships. But despite what you see on social media, is it the right choice for you and your partner? In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when deciding whether a polyamorous relationship is a good fit, as well as some warning signs to watch out for.
What is Polyamory
Polyamory is the practice of maintaining multiple romantic or sexual relationships with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved. It is important to distinguish this from infidelity or cheating, as it emphasizes open and honest communication, trust, and ethical considerations. Each partner is aware of their partner’s sexual openness, needs and actions and both partners are supportive of each other.
When Polyamory Might Be Right For Your Relationship
Open Communication: A cornerstone of any successful polyamorous relationship is open and honest communication. If you and your partner have a strong, transparent line of communication, this is a positive sign. Being able to express your needs, desires, and concerns without judgment is crucial in polyamory.
Strong Foundation: A stable and loving foundation in your current relationship is key. Polyamory should not be seen as a fix for existing issues or as a way to escape a troubled relationship. This is not polyamory. It’s important to ensure your existing relationship is in a good, stable place before adding others into the mix.
Self-Awareness: Both partners should have a deep understanding of their own emotions, insecurities, and boundaries. If you’re aware of your own needs and feelings, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the complexities of a polyamorous relationship. Lack of self-awareness can often lead to actions that cause resentment and other challenges in the primary relationship.
Shared Values: It’s essential that both you and your partner share the same ethical and emotional values when it comes to polyamory. Are you on the same page regarding boundaries, safer sex practices, and the importance of consent? These are all questions that should be discussed and both partners have strong alignment on to have a successful polyamorous relationship.
Supportive Community: It can be beneficial to have access to a supportive community or therapist who specializes in non-monogamous relationships. These resources can help you navigate the complexities and offer guidance when needed. Finding these communities aren’t so difficult one you start looking. Most people in polyamorous relationships are very friendly and welcoming to others who are thinking of joining the lifestyle and are happy to answer questions as well as tell you some things to watch out for.
Also, in our clinic (The Marriage and Family Clinic) Ryan Hicks specializes in non-monogamous relationships if you’d like to setup an appointment with Ryan to see if this could be right for you. Ryan recommends coming to see him before you actively open up your relationship so he can help guide you and your relationship through some of the things instead of stumbling on them along the way
When Polyamory Might Not Be Right for Your Relationship
Insecurity and Jealousy: If you or your partner struggle with excessive jealousy or insecurity, it may be challenging to transition into a polyamorous relationship. These emotions are natural but must be addressed and managed for polyamory to work. This doesn’t mean polyamory won’t work but you just need to address and work on some things before you take the leap.
Lack of Communication: If you and your partner struggle with open and honest communication, polyamory can exacerbate these issues. Lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and relationship conflicts. Remember, polyamory is about openness and consent.
Unwillingness to Set Boundaries: Boundaries are crucial in polyamorous relationships. If either partner is unwilling to discuss and set clear boundaries, it can lead to misunderstandings and potential harm. Also, both partners need to agree to stick to the boundaries set.
Warning Flags to Watch Out For
One-Sided Interest: If only one partner is interested in exploring polyamory, it’s crucial to ensure that both partners are fully on board. One-sided pressure can lead to resentment and hurt feelings.
Dishonesty: Trust is paramount in polyamory. If you or your partner are not forthcoming about other relationships or breaches of boundaries, it can lead to a breakdown in trust and emotional harm.
Overcommitting: It’s common for those new to polyamory to overcommit in terms of the number of partners or the emotional energy required. This can lead to burnout and stress. Start slowly and gradually build your connections.
Deciding whether a polyamorous relationship is right for you and your partner is a deeply personal journey. It requires self-awareness, open communication, and a commitment to ethical, consensual non-monogamy. While polyamory can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling for some, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to assess your own needs, your partner’s needs, and your relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. Remember, the key to success in polyamory is honesty, consent, and open communication. If these values align with your relationship, it might be worth exploring polyamory as an option. However, always be vigilant for warning signs and red flags, and seek support from the polyamorous community. And remember, our therapist Ryan Hicks is always ready to help before and after you decide to take the plunge into the polyamorous lifestyle.