A polyamorous relationship is a romantic relationship that involves more than two people. Monogamous relationships have typically been the norm, but today, polyamory is becoming more common and less taboo.
There are different types of polyamorous relationships: open relationships, when couples bring in other partners, relationships that start off polyamorous, or throuples, where three people are involved. No matter which one you’re in, all partners in a polyamorous relationship should be comfortable and on the same page.
Polyamory is excellent for people that are attracted to multiple different sexual identities or feel unfulfilled in monogamous relationships. While there are many benefits to polyamorous relationships, there are some complications too. Because there are more people involved, and because they are less openly discussed, polyamorous relationships can be trickier to navigate than monogamous relationships.
Whether you are a single person considering polyamory, or in a couple where both partners are open to the idea, there are some things that you should know before entering a relationship with more than one person:
1. Do Research Into Polyamory
Before diving into polyamory, it’s a good idea to look into the different types to learn which one might suit you best. (For example, multi-partner, hybrid, or swinging.) There are plenty of forums online where people openly discuss their polyamorous relationships, and it can help you determine whether or not you want to explore it further.
2. Do Ask Yourself If You Can Handle Polyamory
If you’re an overly jealous person, polyamory probably isn’t for you. Sharing partners requires a lot of open-mindedness and feeling secure with yourself. If the idea of multiple partners makes you uneasy, then monogamy is likely the better choice.
3. Do Discuss Polyamory With Your Partner (if You Are in a Relationship)
If you’re already in a relationship but want to explore polyamory, it’s absolutely necessary to discuss it with your partner. They may or may not be open to the idea, and it’s important to respect their decision no matter what. Everyone needs to be on board—otherwise, you’re essentially just cheating. (Of course, if you’re not already in a relationship, no approval is needed.)
4. Do Ask for What You Need
Polyamorous relationships can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time. Whether you have a primary partner or multiple partners, it’s important to maintain good communication. You’ll need to listen to each other and be open and honest about your wants and needs in the relationship.
5. Do Know Your Boundaries and Limits
As with any relationship, you need to know your boundaries and respect those of your partner(s). In a polyamorous relationship, some people are open to knowing who their primary partner’s other partners are, while others maintain a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Decide what works best for your situation and how open you will be with each other.
6. Don’t Consider Polyamory for the Wrong Reasons
Polyamory is not a way to avoid being faithful to a partner. Even in relationships with multiple partners, you still need to respect and stay faithful to them. If you’re interested in polyamory, it’s important to reflect on why it’s appealing to you and make sure you’re considering it for the right reasons.
7. Don’t Assume That Polyamory Will Fix Existing Problems in Your Relationship
Some people are under the impression that introducing polyamory will fix a failing relationship—but that’s not the case. Bringing more people into it will just cause more problems and trust issues. Again, it’s important to choose polyamory for the right reasons, and fixing a broken relationship definitely isn’t one of them.
8. Don’t Forget to Check In With Your Partner(s)
Polyamorous relationships usually entail a lot of different emotions, so be sure to check in with each other to make sure everyone is still on the same page and invested in the relationship.
9. Don’t Seek Validation From Your Relationship
Self-esteem and self-worth should originate from within, not from your relationship.
Whether your relationship is monogamous or polyamorous, make sure you aren’t using it as a source of validation.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Change the Terms of Your Relationship
Just like monogamous relationships, polyamorous ones can evolve and change over time. It’s super necessary for everyone to be on the same page at all times, and if things aren’t going well or your needs have shifted, don’t be afraid to suggest changes. (Just make sure everyone consents!)
11. Know That You Will Need to Establish Ground Rules for the Relationship
Ground rules can be related to types of partnerships, types of intimacy, boundaries, really anything that is important when establishing a new relationship. These are especially important in polyamorous relationships since there are multiple people and emotions involved.
12. Know That Polyamorous Relationships Require a Lot of Communication
Navigating polyamorous relationships requires open communication so that you are on the same page as your partners about boundaries and expectations. You should always be trying to improve your communication skills and feel comfortable enough to be honest about your needs.
13. Know That Not Everyone Is Open to a Polyamorous Relationship
You shouldn’t try to convince your partner to take part in polyamory if they don’t want to. A polyamorous relationship is either for you or it’s not, and it’s not a good idea to try and force someone into it. Some people are willing to give it a try, but if they’re completely against it, they will never feel comfortable doing it. If you currently have a partner, it’s important to respect their decision if they’re not open to it.
Remember, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to feel about polyamory—you either like it or you don’t, and either way is okay!
14. Know That Polyamory Is Often Oversexualized
While polyamory is becoming more mainstream, there is still a lack of general knowledge about what it is. Many people believe stereotypes surrounding it and hypersexualize polyamorous people. While polyaomry is related to sex, it is also related to intimacy, sexual identity and sexual expression. If you are considering polyamory, prepare yourself to come across people that don’t fully understand it.
15. Know That It’s Okay to Experiment With Polyamory
If you believe a polyamorous relationship is right for you, then feel free to experiment with it! There are ways to test the waters either as a single person or as a couple (if you’re both on board). Just remember to remain respectful, open, and honest about boundaries, needs, and feelings from everyone involved.
While there is still some stigma surrounding polyamorous relationships, they are becoming more and more common in modern society. If it’s something you want to pursue, then go for it—do whatever makes you happy!