Ah, polyamory. It's such a controversial and complicated concept for some, and yet for others of us, it fits right up there with basic common sense. How could you not love more than one person at once?! You love your mom and your dad, right? Both of your siblings at the same time? Your work friends, and your Friday night out friends? Well then you can love more than one partner, too!
As a polyamorist myself, today I wanted to take another break from the the norm and talk about something else that many fellow kinky people practice - polyamory! Even if not polyamory itself, then there are still many, many people in our community who at least practice some form of ethical non-monogamy, such as open relationships, swapping with another couple, or swinging.
Polyamory sounds incredibly complicated sometimes, but it really doesn't need to be. With respect and communication, it's surprising just how easy (and happy) these extra relationships can be. With that being said then poyamory isn't for everyone, and so here is a list of signs that I've compiled to help you decide.
1. Polyamory Might Be For You If... You Too Believe That People Really Can Love More Than One Person At The Same Time
The first time I felt anything like polyamory, I found myself in the midst of an emotional affair with an Australian man called Mark. It wasn't that I'd gone off of Matt but I had so much fun in talking to Mark that I wanted to do it again and again - I thought it was just harmless chat and flirting! I didn't think anything wrong with it until I discovered that you don't need to get into bed with someone to cheat with them. Luckily, Matt and I talked and sorted a bunch of stuff out and we are now a thriving mono-poly couple!
2. Polyamory Might Not Be For You If... You Believe That Monogamy Is The Only Real Love
People show love in different ways, and for some of us then that means that we are capable of loving more than one person at once (and can love our partners even more for letting us do that - aww!). Love is respect, and loving and respecting your partner means respecting however they show love. If you're both monogamous, great! But if they're polyamorous and you're not then there's no gurantees that things will work out without some serious respect, understanding and communication. Sorry.
3. Polyamory Might Be For You If... Seeing Your Partner Happy With Other People Makes You Happy
Oh compersion, you beauty! Compersion is the act of being happy for other people's happiness, namely your partner(s)'s happiness. Compersion means that it doesn't matter if you're not directly involved, you're still happy that they're happy, regardless. You can feel compersion in other areas of life too, like when your wife goes shopping with her friends and buys that perfect new summer dress that she adores. Even if you weren't there, you're still happy that she's happy. That's compersion.
4. Polyamory Might Not Be For You If... You Believe That You Must Be Everything To Your Partner
Here's a fun fact, I can't stand crowds and I hate fairgrounds, so what good am I to a partner who loves concerts or rollercoasters? (Ahem, Matt). In monogamy, and without compromise, then I might go but have a really awful time, or I might guilt Matt into not doing the things that he loves (like going to football matches or festivals) because I don't want to go with him. Now let's look at this another way, what if he met a cute girl who loves rollercoasters and football matches? I can be really happy for him (compersion) and, even if I'm a bit worried that he might pack me in for her, I can accept that insecurity and trust that he won't. We've been together for fourteen years, right? There must be a damn good reason!
5. Polyamory Might Be For You If... You Can Set Healthy Boundaries
It is said that boundaries are what you set for yourself, and rules are what you set for other people. In polyamory, if your partner asks you not to do something then you do not have to fully comply, instead, you can set a boundary for yourself based on your level of respect for your relationship with your partner. For example, Matt doesn't like the idea of me having vaginal sex outside of the marriage because he regards it as sanctimonious between a man and wife, so I won't entertain it with anyone else unless and until I find another partner that I want to have a deep and lasting relationship with (and we've been together a while). He hasn't ruled it out for me, I've set my own boundaries on it, out of respect for him.
6. Polyamory Might Not Be For You If... You Believe In Setting Rules On Your Partner
The second you impose one-sided rules on a relationship, you risk damaging it beyond all repair. Rules only work if you both agree on them, for example, only having protected sex with people outside of your marriage, or not dating your partner's colleagues or friends. Some rules in polyamory are even really unhealthy, like a "One Penis Policy", which stipulates that a female partner can only date other females or AFAB people so that the male partner doesn't feel jealous and insecure. This can build feelings of resentment and frustration in the partner who is resticted by these rules.
7. Polyamory Might Be For You If... You Can Own Your Own Sh*t
Hands up, how many of us have had feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, jealousy, low self-esteem? Frankly, I'd be a bit worried about the people who didn't raise their hand! Insecurity and jealousy are normal human emotions, but what do polyamorists do? We share it, but then we own it and find our own way to overcome it. Partner going out on a date? Have a movie night with friends. Partner spending some time with their other lover? Now is your time to have a video game marathon and a pizza, or go to that new Thai restaurant that you've been meaning to check out. Your boo has a new date and you don't? Take some time to pamper yourself and love you, because who even needs an extra person to love you, anyway?!
8. Polyamory Might Not Be For You If... You Believe Your Partner Should Give You What You Want (And You'll Fight Until You Get It)
Yikes! Someone has a bit of an entitlement complex, huh? In life, we are all entitled to ask for what we want, but none of us are entitled to get what we ask for. Asking for and getting are two very different things, and even if I asked for a pony for my birthday almost every year when I was a child then, well, I'm still waiting. I learned the hard way that sometimes you just have to accept the plastic pony playsets instead, and even be grateful for them. My point being, sometimes you need to be willing to compromise in a relationship in order for you both to be happy.
9. Polyamory Might Be For You If... Love Without Sex Sounds Cool, Too
Gasp! What?! Multiple partners without sex? But Helen... I hear you cry. But nothing. Polyamory stems from a Greek-Latin mix of words, "multiamory" and "polyphilia", which both mean "many loves" - but that is love, not sex! You love your mom without jumping into bed with her, right? I thought so (or at least I hope so!). Okay so it's a bit dramatic and a totally different scenario, but you get my point - you can definitely love someone without having sex with them, and for some many polyamorous people, that's exactly what they do! You might want to have sex with them, but you don't need to have sex with them. Even if nothing else, then masturbation was discovered for a reason.
10. Polyamory Might Not Be For You If... Love Without Sex Seems Pointless To You
Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a ferocious sexual appetite, but if you can't love someone unless they want to jump your bones at least every other day then polyamory just might not be for you. Regular sex can be a part of a healthy, loving relationship, sure, but that's not usually why people fall in love. If you want sex more than the emotional investment then perhaps try an open relationship, or give swinging a go instead? Just be sure to be absolutely crystal clear about what you're after so that nobody gets hurt.
11. Polyamory Might Be For You If... You Can Manage Your Time Effectively
One of the things that I was very aware of in my last relationship was time management. If I had a night with Matt, then I was careful to carve out some time for my other partner, too,. Time when I was free of other distractions (because that's only fair). Just because I don't live with my other partners doesn't mean that they deserve to be treated as any less, and the more partners you have, the more time management you will need to do. Just bear that in mind the next time you think about adding a third, fourth and fifth to your little bundle...
12. Polyamory Might Not Be For You If... You Can Be Forgetful (And Don't Care)
Ouch! If there is one thing that can hurt almost as much as being abused, it's simply being forgotten about. When you forget to keep commitments (like dates and birthdays), it can leave your partner feeling neglected. You would be hurt if a date stood you up or forgot your birthday, yes? So why do it to them? Treat others how you wish to be treated, regardless of how many partners you have.
Bonus: Polyamory Might Be For You If... You Firmly Believe In Safe Sex Practices
A lot of people in polyamory will not have sex with others without protection and recent STII screening, so if you're hot on safe sex, then some extra lovin' might be something for you to explore. You don't need to go wild with it if you don't want to - even I only have two partners!
That's it from me for this post! Are you polyamorous? Have you considered polyamory before? Do you think you could be polyamorous? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to my new fortnightly newsletter for more fun and thought-provoking reads!
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,