Let's just start with a disclaimer right off the bat.
I'm not polyamorous.
I have never been, and I will probably never be.
So why would I write about something that I've never practiced?
Over this crazy topsy turvy year, I've made big strides to challenge as many long-held beliefs as possible.
I've had conversations with all sorts of interesting people from all walks of life.
Just out of pure coincidence I've made friends with more than one polyamorous couple. The conversations we've had have been completely eye-opening.
The struggles they face are the same ones monogamous couples do. But the way they choose to face them is so sensible and wise I can't help but take notes.
Below are some of the biggest takeaways I've gotten.
One of the biggest eye-opening aspects of polyamory is their understanding of jealousy.
I thought jealousy was an emotion but it's actually more of a reaction. People with many partners can also feel pangs of jealousy when one of their partners is out and they are not.
What this means is that jealousy is the fear of missing out.
Realizing that jealousy is rooted in fear. That your needs aren't getting met in the way you want. Allows you to process these feelings more effectively and healthily.
These days, I've felt what I thought was jealously, only on closer inspection have it turn out to be boredom. The potential damage for what was ultimately non-toxic behavior on their part? I wonder how many relationships I have sabotaged by such silly behavior...
One person can't meet all your needs.
It is amazing how normal it is to expect your partner to be: your support network, best friend, lover, co-parent, and housekeeper. Don't forget to add a personal therapist and paying an equal share in the household day-to-day expenses to that list.
Just writing that made me feel slightly overwhelmed. No wonder divorce is so high these days...
People in a polyamorous relationship are more understanding of sharing that load among many people. Separating the sexual needs from the spiritual and emotional ones.
They are accepting of having their needs met by lovers, friends, family members, and the larger society.
As someone who often finds themselves socially isolated from over prioritizing my relationship.
Refocusing my energy on ensuring my needs are met. Not relying solely on my partner; will make me a happier person and a better partner as a result.
It is amazing how you can meet your needs when you finally understand what those needs actually are. And having those needs met by many people ironically leaves you with more time for yourself.
Polyamorous people tend to become more independent as a result.
Couples that rely too much on each other for all levels of support, often struggle to maintain their autonomy.
Learning to not "need" your partner so much can allow you to free up more solo time. The time you can use to recover energy or further work on yourself.
When you finally do decide to spend time with your partner it will be when you are at your best and most energized. Making you a more patient and empathetic partner all around
Cheating in a monogamous relationship is complex and multi-varied.
There is the obvious sleeping with another person bit, but what about less obvious ones?
Sharing intimate conversations could be considered cheating.
Seeking advice from someone of the opposite sex about personal problems could be a breach of that trust...
In a polyamorous relationship, the main way to cheat is to be dishonest or keep secrets about your actions.
Not being open about your actions and behavior not only leaves you feeling miserable in the long run. But doesn't give your partner a chance to address your wants and needs.
Poly couples learn to be clear about their communication, and not make assumptions. They can't assume their partner will join them at an event because they may already have other plans.
Every couple can do with some clearer communication. Learn to talk like a polyamorous couple. It will teach you the most direct and efficient way to speak your intentions to your partner and save a lot of hurts feelings in the long run.
Choosing to not judge people for the way they choose to live their life is difficult. But taking that extra second to listen to what they are actually saying, instead of objecting to their choices. Opens an entirely new way of thinking.
I don't think I'll be practicing Polyamory any time soon, but the lessons my friends have given me are undeniably solid advice.
I hope their advice has given you something you can take away too.
In such strange and new times, maybe a different way of looking at the world isn't a bad idea.