Recently, a dear friend of mine told me she was not interested in being monogamous any longer. She divorced a decade ago and she has spent that time healing, dating, self-reflecting, and, boy, she has had some disappointments along the way. But how is she so certain about this? And how can she get started?
That’s why I asked her what changed for her. She told me she just did a lot of soul-searching and inner work, so she’s finally at a place where she feels she can be happy and take care of herself. She’s certain in who she is and what she can do.
Additionally, the way she feels like relating to others has changed. She wants intense relationships, something she already practices as work and in her personal life. I believe this state of mind, decided and grounded, is key to being polyamorous. She just started dating a like-minded person and she’s very excited about the adventures to come.
This got me wondering about other people exploring polyamory, such as married couples. How do you get into it? How do you make it something so positive, not just for you but your relationship? Well, I did some research, and here’s what I could learn:
1. You Must Have a Healthy Relationship to Begin With
The key to a healthy relationship and marriage is a healthy attachment. You should feel safe in your relationship and with your partner. Safe to be who you are and safe to explore whatever it is you want to explore. A healthy relationship is necessary for any long-term commitment to be successful.
So, if you want to jump into polyamory, you need to take a look at your relationship. What are your reasons for doing this? Can you trust one another? Do you communicate openly? If not, can you learn? Do you have the same vision of sexual and romantic relationships? What are you most excited about when it comes to polyamory? What are you afraid of? What are you insecure about? These are all questions you need to answer together.
And if you believe polyamory can fix something in your relationship or save it, you might want to think again. Polyamory is a way of life, it’s not a fix for your issues. In fact, it may even make these issues worse than they already are.
2. Determine Why You Want This
This is very important for you two to figure out together and it can only be done through open and honest communication. Why are you making this choice? Is it out of love? Is it because you have a great desire you’ve been hiding? Maybe you want to have more adventure in your lives? Or are you doing it to fix something in your relationship?
Let me just say, if you believe polyamory can fix something in your relationship or save it, you might want to think again. Polyamory is a way of life, it’s not a solution for your issues. In fact, it may even make these issues worse. Nothing can replace the work you need to do to fix these issues, so keep that in mind.
3. Do Your Research
You shouldn’t get into something you’re not familiar with, so do your research! Read books, more articles, and join online communities. Online communities are a great opportunity for you to get some first-hand accounts of what polyamory is like. Read as much as you can about this subject and seek to understand the most confusing things about polyamory.
Do your research about the structure and dynamic of polyamory relationships, the do’s and don’ts, and more. You want to have the knowledge you need to decide if this is a good idea for you!
4. Practice Clear Communication
Communication is essential to any kind of relationship. But for non-monogamous ones, communication is vital. You need to be open, honest, and clear about your emotions, needs, desires, concerns, etc.
You shouldn’t assume anything about your partner and they shouldn’t make assumptions about you either. There can’t be any room for that in a polyamorous relationship. You need to be honest and communicate as you’ve never communicated before.
5. Set Up Rules
Every polyamory relationship has rules and limits, which you must create together. These rules need to come from a positive place, you don’t want them to be based on fear. Polyamory can be daunting, but this is where being communicating and being honest really pays off.
Instead of restricting each other, the rules need to come from a place of love and respect. They must open your relationship up to opportunities while still preserving it and making it safe for you to explore your needs and desires, without creating any problems.
6. Have a Mission of Purpose
A mission or statement of purpose should express your intentions and expectations clearly and specifically. Don’t look at it as a negotiation, look at it as an exchange of desires, hopes, expectations, and ideas. The goal is to find common ground and come to an agreement on the things you want.
It may help to answer questions like: what do we enjoy about our relationship as it is? What do we want to enhance? What values do we share? What are our long-term goals? What are we concerned about? How can we make sure our concerns are not ignored? And so many other vital questions. Once more, being honest and open is key to making a mission of purpose that will be positive for your poly relationship.
7. Cultivate Your Sense of Adventure
Having adventures together deepens the bond you share and allows you to have shared experience. You create powerful memories you’ll cherish forever. This is why you need to cultivate your sense of adventure about polyamory.
You’re about to embark on a journey that’s very exciting and fun, but also difficult. There’s a learning curve to it, but you can’t lose sight of what’s most important and what you’re trying to accomplish. This is why your sense of adventure is so necessary!
8. Take Your Time
When it comes to polyamory, taking your time is one of the most important principles. Remember you’re going into something new, that means you must tread lightly. You don’t want to go too far, so be sure to take baby steps.
Explore polyamory at the pace and level you’re comfortable with. If you’re hesitant about something, perhaps it’s not the right time to do it, and don’t let anyone talk you into it. Scale back and find something you’re more comfortable trying. Don’t push each other or pressure each other into doing things you’re hesitant about.
Polyamory can be a great adventure and it has the potential of making your marriage stronger than ever. But only if you’re open, communicative, honest, and mindful of one another.
This is an experience you’re having together, after all, so you both need to want this. It should be exciting for both of you and you should be on the same page about this. That’s why it’s so important to take these steps and take your time with it.