Poly. It seems like everyone is doing it these days. As society shifts away from a heteronormative monogamous style to a more open-minded approach, more and more people are giving polyamorous relationship models a try. In fact, poly questions are some of the most common questions that I receive. Today’s column focuses on poly and typical complications that can arise around it.
How Can I Not Feel Excluded When My Partners Have A Date Night Without Me?
“We are attempting a poly relationship and I was wondering if you have any practical tips for when one of us is feeling left out, i.e. couples activities. How can two people hang out without the third person feeling slighted?”–Feeling like a third wheel
Ah, insecurities–they are the fly in the ointment in any relationship, poly or otherwise. Knowing that your loved one is off having an amazing time with someone else can be extremely challenging. The best advice that I can give you is to change your narrative.
When it comes to relationships, your partner is with you because they WANT to be. They find you appealing as a human. Knowing that they desire to be in a relationship with you, in the first place, should be foundation upon which to build your poly house. The fact that they might not be with you every single second of their free time should not affect your relationship . If you find the concept of them interacting with others too challenging to overcome, you might not be ready to attempt poly.
For me, I delight in sharing. Knowing that my partners are having fun fills me with a feeling of warmth and love. When my partners are off having a date night, I revel in that free time. I do self care and catch up on all the things that can fall by the wayside when you are busy tending to a relationship. Catch up on housework. Do some yoga. Answer emails. Relax in comfortable pajamas and give yourself a pedicure. Pay the stacked up bills. Take a bath. Spend time with a friend you haven’t seen lately. The other two halves of your triad are essentially acting as free relationship babysitters for you! You know where they are and what they are doing. Use this free time to invest in yourself and your interests!
Poly relationships aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK. In the end, if the fact that your partners are out having fun without you is too challenging, undertaking a poly relationship might not be the right call for you. But you will never know until you give it a try. It just might be incredibly rewarding.
What Are The Differences Between Polyamorous And Open Relationships?
“What exactly are the the differences between poly vs. open relationships? What are the benefits/challenges? Is there anything we should consider?”–Poly or open?
Polyamorous relationships are emotionally based, open relationships give partners the freedom to interact sexually outside the relationship without emotional entanglements. Both are viable relationship concepts but they are wildly different. Both relationship styles have their own positives and negatives and only you can answer which one is the right one for you.
The concept of an open relationship seems simple enough–you have the freedom to fuck people outside of your relationship as long as you don’t get attached. While that seems simple in theory, a host of questions needs to be resolved: do you tell your partner about your hookups on the side or is it don’t ask, don’t tell? What do you do if your one time hookup develops feelings for you? What will you be doing for protection? How much time is going to be invested in your primary relationship vs. finding new sexual partners?
Polyamorous relationships come with their own set of complications. Here, the issues aren’t finding an open minded fuck buddy that will leave once they have served a purpose. In polyamorous relationships you are actively sharing your partner with someone else. Meals, family gatherings, sleepovers, everything that you would be doing with your partner now has to factor in someone else’s time and feelings.
For myself, an emotional component is crucial for me to enjoy a relationship, so I have always leaned towards poly. However, you may find the concept of figuring out family time and date nights with multiple people not something you personally feel comfortable with. If so, an open relationship model might be right for you. To each their own. Only you and your partner can determine what is right for your relationship.
How Do I Raise Children In A Polyamorous Relationship?
“Do you have any advice for raising children in a poly relationship? Is it something we should even attempt?”–Can we do kids?
Naturally, the worry is that the outside world might view your decision to raise children in a poly environment as weird or questionable. I counter that in a world of divorces, separations, and ever shifting step-parents, poly really isn’t all that different. In fact, showing a healthy and happy family dynamic and putting a positive face on polyamorous relationships can change people’s minds about the entire thing.
Children are remarkably adaptable and do not come with preconceived baggage. Their needs are simple. All they care about is naps, food and attention. Without the outside world informing them that polyamorous relationships are somehow ‘unusual”, they are not going to question being raised in such an environment. It will seem completely normal to them.
I come down strongly in the “pro kids” camp when it comes to poly, based on this concept alone: more babysitters. Through all of human history, the entire tribe raised children communally. It is only in recent times that it has shrunk down to the concept of a nuclear family, and children have suffered as a result.
Look, raising children is hard. Very very hard. It is a full time job in fact. The benefits of poly when it comes to children is that you can always outnumber the children. The more adults you have on hand, the easier raising the kids becomes. In my opinion, the pluses of poly when it comes to children far outweigh any negatives.
So by all means have a poly family with children. Think about how much you will save on babysitting costs alone! Not to mention multiple people cheering your kid on at the school play. It is a win-win as far as I am concerned.