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Polyamory, or consensual non-monogamy has been becoming more popular in recent years. Polyamory is a relationship dynamic that allows the intimate, sexual, and/ or romantic aspect to be shared among multiple partners. A number of couples are interested in the idea of opening up their relationship, but often do not know how or where to start. This article is intended to provide a few tips for those who are considering polyamory, however it is highly recommended that those interested in this relationship structure carry out further research and communicate with their partner before embarking on this journey. Here are five tips to consider before deciding whether you want to try polyamory:

  • Why do you want to try polyamory?

The first question to ask yourselves before embarking on this journey is why you want to try out polyamory in the first place. Are you trying to solve a relationship problem by trying out polyamory? If the answer is yes, then opening up your relationship may not be a good idea. Not only will you be avoiding the current problem, but you will also be facing additional challenges, for which neither of you may be prepared. Instead, try working out any issues that you are currently facing in your relationship in order to have a strong foundation when starting out your polyamorous journey.

  • You need to know your limits

An essential part of transitioning from monogamy to polyamory is discussing relationship rules, limits and boundaries. Perhaps you would like to have casual sexual encounters, while your partner would like to date others seriously. How much information would you like about the person/ people your partner will be dating? Just because the relationship is shifting from a closed to an open one, it does not mean that anything goes. Both you and your partner may have your own limits, and discussing these together is vital for a healthy transition. People can still cheat in polyamory, and this is the case where ground rules or set boundaries are not respected by any individual in the couple.

  • Handling jealousy

A lot of people may think that in order to try out polyamory, you must not be a jealous person. However, this is completely inaccurate as jealousy is a normal human emotion experienced by many. If handled well, jealousy can be worked through in a healthy way, and can bring the individuals in the couple closer together than before. It is important to be self-aware and notice where your jealousy is coming from. Are you feeling insecure, or scared that your partner will leave you for someone better? Communicating this to your partner may be a helpful way to overcome jealousy and work through it together.

  • Love is abundant, time is not

One of the issues couples new to polyamory face when opening up their relationship is that of time. As stated above, although love may be abundant, time is not. Therefore, you need to keep this in mind when trying out polyamory. How many hours/ days a week will you meet your other partner/s? It is also important to set aside some couple time, by for example having a date night once a week where the two of you can reconnect and spend some quality time together. You also need to keep in mind your partner’s needs and make sure that you are able to give each other the focus, attention and affection that you need from each other.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Communication is key for any relationship, and is an essential skill for couples intending to open up their relationship. You need to open a dialogue with your partner that encourages open and honest communication. You will need to discuss some difficult topics; therefore, it is important that the both of you listen to each other attentively and respect each other’s opinions. Communicate your different opinions and see whether you are able to reach a compromise where the two of you are happy with your decision. Make sure to keep the communication channels open throughout the process so that matters can continue to be discussed as they crop up.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Pamela Borg is a counsellor who enjoys working therapeutically with adults experiencing various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing, gender, sexuality, relationship issues. 

References:

Bellesa. (2018). Here’s What You Should Know Before Trying Out Polyamory. Retrieved from: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/bellesa/open-relationship-polyamory-advice_a_23423811/

Duncan, J. (2019). Things to Consider Before Trying Polyamory. Retrieved from: https://psiloveyou.xyz/things-to-consider-before-trying-polyamory-195b4933ba4e

Killoren, C. (2021). Is a Polyamorous Relationship Right for You? 15 Do’s, Don’ts and Things You Should Know. Retrieved from: https://hellorelish.com/articles/polyamorous-dos-donts-things-to-know.html