Polyam Perks – Learning How To Share The Love
Sex to me is not an action, or something you do. Sex is an experience, a way to form a unique and ever-evolving bond with someone. It’s a way to communicate how you feel about an individual (or group!) that transcends the confines of language. I don’t have words for what sex is to me, because sex redefines itself for me every day depending on the way I am feeling, and the person I am exploring those feelings with.
The Appeal Of Polyamory & Why People Love It
Before I start answering these questions, I want to make it clear that I cannot speak for every polyamorous person. I can only speak from my own experiences. Polyam means different things for different people, and I think that this is the main reason why so many people love it! I find that monogamous relationships are often put in a clearly defined box, and have so many expectations attached to them. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for people in monogamous relationships – but I believe the reason so many people love polyam is because of how individualised each relationship is. You could be sleeping with one person, platonically dating another, and cohabitating with someone else – and all of these relationships hold the same validity.
With polyamory there is a freedom to redefine what loving someone means to you, and this definition often changes depending on who you are loving at the time. Having relationships entirely on my own terms and without the assumed format of being someone’s “girlfriend” has given me the chance to think about just how many ways I can give my love to a person. I’m really grateful for that skill.
Are There Rules To Set In Polyamorous Relationships?
Short answer: nope!
This is my favourite thing about polyamory. Each relationship is created completely individually, from the ground up, with no assumptions of what each individual participating in the relationship needs.
My only polyam rule is that if and when you need something – tell the person or people you need it from. Communication is the most important part of any relationship, mono or polyam. It’s so important to understand that your partner cannot read your mind no matter how close you feel you are, talk to each other, and if something needs to change – change it.
I also cannot stress enough the importance of ongoing, informed, and enthusiastic consent from all parties involved in the polyamorous relationship. Consistent check-ins make it easy to ensure everyone in the relationship feels heard and cared for and can often solve problems before they even become real problems.
How To Ensure Fairness For All Parties
First of all, I want to acknowledge the elephant in the room:
Polyam people can still experience jealousy. Feeling jealousy does not mean you are bad at polyam.
The key word here is fairness – and fair to one person is not necessarily the same thing as to another. The only way I know of to ensure fairness in all your relationships is to talk to each other. Talk about what you need, talk about how you’re feeling, talk about why a certain action made you feel jealous, and talk about ways that you can all work together to rectify the situation in future.
Many people believe in hierarchical polyamory (a primary partner who you spend most of your time with, and secondary/ternary/more partners who require less of your time and attention). I’m firmly in the relationship anarchy camp on this one, because I don’t believe that it can be fair to everyone if one person is classified as “more important” than others.
Ensure fairness by treating each relationship you have with the same level of respect and care as others. The only way a relationship can be fair is when everyone feels they are being heard, and when everyone works together to find a format that works for them.
Preventing Complications In The Relationship
If someone has figured this out, please tell me because I would give anything to know.
Complication is just something that you learn to deal with. You can put strategies in place, like group chats to make sure everyone feels they are being communicated with enough, shared calendars to ensure nobody is forgotten, or double booked. But when you are sharing love with multiple people, it’s just going to be complex because no one person feels or shows love in exactly the same way as others.
Do’s & Don’ts When Being Polyamorous
Do: Communicate, communicate, communicate.
This is my answer to just about every question I am ever asked about polyamory. It is the only hard and fast rule I will ever live by in my love life. Talk about everything. Talk to your partners, your metamours (your partner’s partners), your family, your friends. Look everywhere you can for advice, your own knowledge is rarely enough to create a truly successful relationship. It’s a team effort.
While you do this though, remember to respect everyone’s privacy. Your partner probably does not want their other lovers to hear every detail of the issues in your relationship. Make sure you know how much each person involved in the relationship is comfortable sharing, and comfortable hearing.
Don’t: Make any assumptions.
Each relationship you have is going to be different. This is a good thing, it expands your knowledge and teaches you so many ways to express love. Coming into a relationship with any assumptions of how it will operate can be disastrous. Don’t assume a partner knows how you are feeling, what you are thinking, or what you need. Until you have told them what you need from the relationship (clearly told them, not dropped hints or danced around the subject) there is no way that they will know exactly how to care for you as an individual.
Polyamorous relationships aren’t all serious discussions and strategizing. Polyam is all about loving without boundaries. So go, love your partners, love your friends, love the cute stranger you saw on the train that one time. Allow yourself to experience love the way you need to experience it. As long as you do that, things usually go okay.