5 Polyamory Mistakes You Don’t Need To Make
Perfection is an unattainable ideal, babe. So, when stepping into your first polyamorous relationship, brace yourself knowing that navigating multiple people’s feelings at once can (and at some point likely will) be sticky. There will be polyamory mistakes! There will be polyamory problems!
Within the flurry of new crushes, first dates, and debrief conversations, making mistakes will be inevitable, but you don’t have to make the same mistakes that so many before you have already made. In learning from others’ experiences, you can avoid common pitfalls and make some mistakes of your very own.
Here are 5 mistakes commonly experienced by polyamorous and open folks that you don’t have to make yourself.
1. Assuming You’re on the Same Page
Unlike monogamy, which comes with existing narratives and norms, in polyamory we have to create our own, and they change with each relationship dynamic.
Polyamory is like this huge, open field where each blade of grass could represent a potential type or structure. There are so many ways to be polyamorous. While you may have settled on a particular relationship style with your partner, simply labeling it may not be enough to ensure mutual understanding of each other’s needs and desires. In fact, terms like hierarchical polyamory, open relationship, or solo polyamory can have varying interpretations among folks, even those within the community.
To avoid potential misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication, it’s crucial to engage in ongoing conversations and explore what each of you means by the chosen relationship type. Instead of assuming that you both share the same understanding, commit to actively discussing and clarifying the specifics of what it entails. By doing so, you can build a solid foundation of trust and mutual respect where ideally no one is left wondering “is this okay to do in my relationship?”.
2. Getting Swept Up in New Relationship Energy (NRE) and Neglecting Your Long Term Relationships (LTRs)
One of the most exciting aspects of polyamory is the ability to experience new relationship energy again and again. That thrilling feeling of being drawn to a new partner, the electrifying chemistry, and the desire to spend every possible moment together can be incredible. However, it’s important to be mindful of how this new energy may impact your existing relationships.
Often when people believe that polyamory is toxic inherently, it’s because they think it entails abandoning pre-existing partners whenever a new crush appears. But if a new relationship starts to disrupt the balance of your current relationships, it’s essential to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Your other partners may feel hurt and sidelined if they feel like they’ve been put on the backburner because you’re preoccupied with something new and exciting. And consistently neglecting your partners is one of the most commonly cited polyamory red flags.
While it’s natural for your current relationships to shift and change (think scheduling and logistics), it’s crucial to have open and honest communication with your partners to ensure that they feel heard and valued. Discuss how much time you intend to spend with your new partner, consider setting boundaries around communication with one partner in the presence of another, and leave ample space to listen to your partners’ needs and desires. By doing so, you can foster a sense of stability, security, and mutual respect in all of your relationships.
A lot of folks step into polyamory super eager, it’s exciting! While in theory, going on a new date everyday and having a ton of partners sounds like heaven, for most folks, it’s just not possible. You’ve heard it a million times already (because it’s true), fostering multiple relationships simultaneously takes a lot of work. It involves lots of communication, challenging conversations, deep self reflection, and constant learning. While it’s tempting to want to see all of your partners or the folks you’re into on a regular basis, it’s important to recognize that this may not be feasible or sustainable.
It’s important to pay attention to how your pre-existing relationships are functioning. Are you neglecting your other partners or finding that you have less time for yourself and your own interests? These can be signs that you may be overcommitting or experiencing what is known as “polysaturation.” By being mindful of your own needs and limitations, you can ensure that you are not overextending yourself and that your relationships remain healthy and fulfilling for everyone involved.
4. Opening Up a Relationship as a way to Solve Relationship Issues
Opening up a relationship is not a magical solution for pre-existing issues within a relationship, in fact, it can end up highlighting pre-existing issues that now, other folks are around to witness and be affected by.
It’s crucial to address any problems within the relationship before opening it up, and to approach non-monogamy with clear communication and a solid foundation of trust and respect. Opening up a relationship should be a consensual and intentional decision made by everyone involved, and not a last-ditch effort to save a struggling relationship. Polyamory is not a bandaid!
5. Believing You’re Bad at Polyamory if you Experience Jealousy or Have Boundaries
People aren’t polyamorous because they don’t feel jealous, they’re polyamorous because they are committed to sitting with and learning from their jealousy. Feeling as if you are unfit for polyamory because you are not immune to jealousy, have boundaries, or don’t feel okay with something that a partner has asked you for is a myth. Making the mistake of shaming yourself for being a human with needs can be avoided if you allow yourself the grace to experience all of the feelings that come up as you navigate relationships. It can feel super vulnerable to tell a partner that you’re feeling triggered or need affirmations, but you are more than allowed to.
What is the hardest part of polyamory? Finding places to read about and watch conversations about non-monogamous relating! Well have no fear, #open Ed is here:
There are honestly other mistakes you can make, this isn’t an exhaustive list! There’s polyamory metamour issues, polyamory manipulation, polyamory broken trust, etc. Check us out on Youtube for more on healthy ways of being in non-monogamous partnerships.