4 Common Polyamory Pitfalls to Avoid

There are certain poly pitfalls that are all too common. Learn what to watch for and what to avoid.

What I’m about to share might not be obvious to poly newbies, but I can assure you it’s common knowledge amongst seasoned non-monogamists. When I first joined my polycule, I wished for a sage poly auntie to offer her advice about my relationship woes because let’s be honest, it’s hard to be poly in a mono-centric world.

Now, many years later, I’d like to think I am that auntie, offering you a cup of tea and warning you to beware of these four very common polyamory pitfalls.

Avoid These Pitfalls of Polyamory

Watch out for these potential poly pitfalls as you navigate your relationships.

1. Sacrificing Your Happiness

It’s a common misconception that love and sacrifice are one and the same. Monogamy is a prime example of this: “I want to explore some important parts of my sexuality that aren’t compatible with my current relationship, but I gave my body to my partner when we said, ‘I do’ so I guess I’ll just have to die sad and unsatisfied.”

In polyamory, self-sacrifice might seem like the logical choice, given all the conflicting needs we are confronted with, but putting yourself last will only harm your relationships. Poly success relies on honesty and authenticity, both of which require some selfishness.

Read: How to Put Your Needs First in Your Polycule

2. Fearing/Denying Jealousy

We poly people are not immune to the green-eyed monster. Jealousy happens, and when it does, it’s best to accept it and let yourself feel. Problems with polyamory arise when you start judging your emotions, particularly if doing so leads to fear or denial.

Jealousy is a normal thing for human beings to experience, and the more you lean into it, the less power it will have over your life and your relationships. Acknowledge when you’re feeling jealous, investigate why, then talk to your polycule about how to make things better.

Read: Jealousy Triggers & How to Deal

3. Avoiding Confrontation

Confront your metamour when they do something that pisses you off. I know it’s tempting to use your shared partner as an intermediary, but trust me when I say it’s a bad idea. Your partner doesn’t deserve that kind of drama and you won’t get the results you want if you can’t advocate for yourself.

Get comfortable with having awkward conversations. Polyamory is rife with them, and they are less cringeworthy than your anxiety might have you believe. Foster an environment of openness in your polycule, where everyone has the right to voice their feelings.

Read: How to Handle Conflicts in Your Polycule

4. Feeling the Need to Compete

Way back when, I wrote a post about measuring equality in poly relationships and how it is a useless endeavor. Years later, I still find myself competing with my metamour, especially when it comes to decision making, and I must constantly remind myself that there’s room for us both and that I don’t have to always have the last word.

It can take time and some conscious effort to temper your competitive streak, but it can be done if you feel it’s important to your poly happiness. Yes, power struggles are common in non-monogamous relationships, but they don’t have to lead to all-out war.

Read: Open Relationship Pros and Cons

What poly pitfalls have you fallen into? Please share your experience and tips!

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