If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, why not try something new?
So I did: I entered a polyamorous relationship.
After leaving a very stable and incredibly traditional relationship in my senior year of college, I entered a chapter of complete freedom and experimentation. My attitude wasn’t jaded by any means. I felt feminine, unrestricted, unapologetic, and secure in my skin. My choices were my own.
This led me to my current relationship: a solid three years with my queer partner who introduced me to the world of polyamory and the freedom that can come with love.
When I met my partner, we immediately decided to begin with an open relationship.
An open relationship refers to the agreement that all participants can have free sexual intercourse with other outside partners. Many people in open relationships keep things more secretive, especially since the sex is usually casual. This immediately had repercussions. We agreed to have an open dialogue that produced an honest and guilt-free union — polyamory was our answer.
Polyamory allows for all participants to be an extension of the relationship — I extend my love to my partners’ sexual interest and they extend their love to mine. We have boundaries. We communicate. We don’t freely act upon our sexual instincts without conversing with one another beforehand. We aren’t completely ravenous; we are just going against the grain.
Not sure if polyamory is right for you? Here are a few tips that I took into consideration when starting my journey.
1. Create a Baseline
The most appealing aspect about being in a polyamorous relationship is that there are fewer “rules” and expectations; however, no one should ever put themselves in a situation that makes them uncomfortable.
Just like in a monogamous relationship, envision what this relationship will look like. What about sexual safety? How will dates and timing be managed? Throughout time, these baselines will change and slightly alter from situation to situation, but creating a dialogue of understanding should be the first consideration.
2. Face Your Insecurities and Jealousy
My choice to decide on polyamory began when I admitted to myself that the majority cheat, no relationship is ever perfect, and jealousy will eat away at your happiness.
As a child of divorce, I was well aware of the hurt and emotional turmoil that comes from an affair and dishonest behavior. My insecurities and jealousy have always been demanding and have, in the past, created wide wedges between my partners and I.
However, here, in my polyamorous relationship, jealousy is discussed and laid out on the table, rather than spat out during arguments as a reaction.
3. Understand That Not One Person “Completes You”
Only 3-5% of 5,000 species have monogamous bonds. Pepper Schwartz from the University of Washington in Seattle says, “I don’t think we are a monogamous animal,” and adds that, “Monogamy is invented for order and investment — but not necessarily because it’s ‘natural.’”
The invention of a “soulmate” was appealing to me as a young adult but now, I learn and love from so many individuals in my life — why choose just one?
No person completes me, I’m already whole.
Polyamory may not work for everyone and that’s okay. My partner and I have found something that creates a secure and safe bound for the two (or three or four) of us, and these little tips can help guide your possible dialogue.
Sound off in the comments with your experiences in an open or polyamorous relationship!