Navigating Polyamorous Relationships

March 20, 2023 /

When I hear people talk about polyamorous relationships, I hear a lot about “rules”. Oftentimes people will discuss the types of rules you should have in a polyamorous relationship, what is and isn’t allowed. In my opinion, this is a simplified way to talk about boundaries. In any relationship, boundaries are very important. It takes communication, consent, and an understanding of boundaries in order to properly balance a relationship.

These are, in my opinion, the three most important things in any relationship. Especially so for polyamorous ones however. polyamorous relationships can be difficult, and require you to understand your own boundaries as well as your partners. It’s multiplicative, in that for every person within the relationship, there’s more chance for miscommunication or an overstepping of boundaries. 

Therefore, communication with all parties involved can reduce a lot of stress within a relationship. Understanding yourself and your own boundaries is also very important. Your own boundaries allow you to know whether or not a polyamorous relationship is for you. Some people are just monogamous, and that’s just fine. 

If you feel you need more time with your partner, or more attention, be sure to communicate that. If that still doesn’t seem to alleviate your jealousy, it may be time to take a step back and look at other solutions. Jealousy within a relationship can be healthy, but if you feel that your levels of jealousy are unmanageable, it may be time to look inward rather than at your partner’s behavior. Are you monogamous, or perhaps insecure? Is there something you could be doing to alleviate your jealousy? Do you feel like your boundaries aren’t being respected? 

Boundaries can be things like how much contact you want to have with a Metamour (your partner’s partner), or what kind of relationships you and your partner want to foster. Understanding your own boundaries, and feeling comfortable in your relationship is important. Insecurities can get the best of us even in monogamous relationships, and it’s important to be able to handle those issues. 

Dealing with jealousy can be different for every person, but something you can do is try and trace the jealousy to the source. Are you jealous because you feel your partner likes someone more than you? Asking for reassurance and comfort can be helpful in this situation. But if the jealousy is coming from feeling inferior to another person, it may be time to try and look inwards to why you feel that way. You can also try spinning the situation to be more positive – a new Metamour can also be a new friend and source of support for you, not just your partner.

I personally have three partners, when I do feel jealous I like to watch my partners talking to each other. While this may seem counterintuitive at first, I find that watching them find joy in each other’s presence also gives me joy. I love seeing my partners getting along, it gives me a fulfilling sense of belonging. 

Of course, there’s many different types of polyamorous relationships. Perhaps you and your partner are looking for a third partner to enter the relationship, or perhaps you and your partner are looking for separate partners for each other. However, the basis to keeping these relationships intact is communication, conset, and boundaries.

Communication is another thing to discuss with your partner. What are you both looking for? How often do you want to check in with each other? What is considered cheating vs fine under your new relationship status? If you don’t want your partner bringing other people over without informing you first, that’s an important thing to note in your relationship.

Having your needs met, and your boundaries understood requires communication with a partner. This is true for monogamy, and is equally true for polyamorous relationships. polyamorous relationships, however, require you to communicate with more than one person,which can leave room for miscommunication. That’s why it’s important to check in, and update one another on how you are feeling currently within the relationship.

It’s important that everyone gets equal amounts of respect within the relationship, and that all parties equally consent to the relationship, communicate their needs and understand one another’s boundaries. Often times within the polyamorous community, there will be couples who do a thing called “unicorn hunting.” While there is nothing wrong with this, it can often be confusing due to couples looking for a third partner not properly communicating what they want in the relationship, giving them a bad reputation within the polyamorous community. 

Many times these couples also do not give their third partner the same amount of respect as they do to each other, treating the third partner as a tacked-on partner that can be replaced. They may treat their third as expendable, and put many rules on the person, making them feel less important and more restricted than the couple. This leads to an imbalance within the relationship, as that person’s needs may not be met, and boundaries may be walked over.

Ultimately, a polyamorous relationship isn’t all that different from a monogamous one. At least in my opinion, many people think differently. Any relationship should have commutation, respect for boundaries, and consent. polyamorous relationships just take more effort and time than monogamous ones, simply due to the fact that more people are involved. However, the love within the relationship is still the same as any other type of relationship.

Of course, every individual is different, making each relationship different as well. Your relationship with one person will be different from your relationship with another, regardless of whether it’s a platonic or romantic relationship. Thus, it’s important to not get too hung up on the “proper” way to do things. Rather, you should navigate your relationships in the way that works best for you and your partners. 

Whether we are gay or straight, monogamous or polyamorous, our relationships will continue to be unique because of our differences. It’s important to remember this, and respect these differences within people. It’s these differences which allow love to blossom in many of its form, and allowing for the space can be a beautiful thing.