This is my top ten things you can do for great multiple relationships.
1. Don’t try to be a “good” poly person.
If you’ve been reading online material a lot, you may have developed an idea of what a good polyamorous person should be doing, and you may be trying to tie yourself into knots trying to do that.
Stoppit. You’re allowed to work out between yourself and your loves what you all want your unique relationships to look like. They don’t even have to be Polyamorous Misanthrope Approved1 as long as all of you are happy in it.
2. Get over yourself.
Sure you want the world to be about you. It ain’t. Being ego-centric is a lousy way to have good relationships. A little humility goes a long way.
3. Believe your partners.
One of the biggest relationship monkey wrenches I ever encounter is the terrible habit of trying to interpret what a partner is thinking instead of paying attention to the actual words used. If you act on what your partner actually says, you’re doing two things. You’re not trying to mind-read (always a bad move, because you can get it badly wrong), and you’re training your partner to speak up and say what they genuinely mean.
4. Say what you mean as best you can.
Of course the flip side to #3 is that you need to say what you mean, too. Yes, that means sometimes you’ll have to think before you speak and act.
5. Have fun.
Many people have this idea that relationships are deadly serious. They’re not. Important? Sure. But enjoy your partners. Laugh. Play. Be silly.
6. Be willing to be vulnerable.
This can be really hard, ‘specially if you’ve been hurt a lot. Just be careful not to use that vulnerability as a club to beat someone with. That’s not being genuinely vulnerable, anyway. There’s another name for it and it’s Not Nice.
7. Be willing to be flexible.
Sure, there are some rigid dealbreakers in anyone’s life. If you have more than three or four, I invite you to examine the joys of serendipity. Relationships grow, change and evolve all the time — even monogamous ones. Don’t be too tied into the One Right Way to Be in Love.
8. Roll with it, baby.
There are times when emotions or events can blindside you. It happens and that’s okay. Accepting that you will get zinged by things sometimes is a good way to be prepared not to react in an unloving way when you are. If something smacks you in the expectation, getting indignant isn’t as helpful as calming down and thinking.
9. Remember your loves are separate from you.
Your loves are separate people with different thoughts, feelings and expectations than you have. Get to know them. Get to understand them down into their bones.
10. Is it about love?
It’s a good idea to ask yourself from time to time, “Am I behaving in a loving manner?” Love’s important. I know I’m a cranky old bat and all, but when you get down to it, love is probably the most important force in the world. Love your partners, for pity’s sake. It’s what makes the whole thing worthwhile.
1 And stop pretending to have a heart attack. That joke’s ancient.
13 thoughts on “Ten Tips to Great Poly Relationships”
Great article Thanks! I tweeted about it at @polyweekly.
So very well done! Love the one about believing your partners – so often that ‘analyzing what wasn’t said instead of hearing what was’ happens, and it sucks!
A couple of people in my social circle are going through especially difficult breakups right now, including my own divorce, and this post just hit me so hard… I’d like to put out there that these ten behaviors are also a good touchstone for that process too. We did love these people once, or still do, and they deserve, if nothing else, kindness and honesty and the gift of getting out with their – and our – dignity intact.
Thanks for the info… Im in a relationship with 2 men how do i keep the jelousie down between them
Well, you can’t. Rather, you can’t control other people’s feelings.
When we three broke my heart went too now life seems empty without them
Breakups are indeed pretty painful. For what it’s worth, pain does end with time. In the meantime, would it help to concentrate on non-relationship things?
Its been a few years I keep moving forward but life with them was me being me it cost us alot
I said I would never get into a poly relationship again but I would our circle of love was so special my Selena was my everything and Thomas my king I will love them always in my heart
Posts like this should be mandatory for people trying to get into polyamory. Well written!
Quite brilliant. Probably the first article I’ve ever seen about polyamory that I agree with 100%