Handling Separation Anxiety in Poly Relationships

Seeing as there are only so many hours in a day, and that it’s impossible to be in more than one place at a time, it’s a given that in a ploy relationship there will be plenty of hours spent away from your partner(s). As someone who values her space and enjoys having scheduled things to look forward to, this aspect of the poly lifestyle really appeals to me; for the most part. I must admit there are times I have yearned for my partner while he was away, particularly when he was gone for lengthy stretches, and that it took some time upon his return for me to feel fully connected to him again. After suffering through this a few times, I realize there are a few things that can be done to help alleviate separation anxiety.

Make a Communication Agreement and Stick to It
Everyone’s idea of “regular communication” is a little different. For some people it means touching base once a day or once a week, for others it means sending lengthy and detailed accounts of every single thing that transpires. How or how often you choose to communicate with your partner doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the two of you agree on a plan. Take some time before your partner leaves to talk about it, and then do your best to honor your agreement. While absence often makes the heart grow fonder, it can also lead to feelings of insecurity and loneliness, two emotions that can be greatly reduced by maintaining a sense of continuity in your relationship.

Focus on Empathizing
This is especially applicable if your partner is off doing something fun or significant with your metamour. Think of how you might feel in the same situation and know the time will come for you and your partner to enjoy a similar experience. My partner and metamour recently travelled to Europe for two weeks, for the dual purpose of strengthening their relationship and spending time with my metamour’s other partner. I missed my partner greatly, but found comfort in the fact that the two of us were planning to travel as well. I also felt better when I thought of the benefits the two of them were experiencing from their time together and the importance of introducing my partner to his long-distance metamour.

Plan Something to Look Forward To
Even though you might have long-term things to be excited about, it’s a good idea to plan something that you can enjoy upon your partner’s return. Even if it’s a relatively small thing, it will give you a positive focus when you’re feeling particularly lonely. Of course, you can also plan things to look forward to that don’t involve your partner at all. Being able to enjoy your own company and to find things that give you joy independently are two really important skills to hone if you’re thinking of engaging in a poly relationship. It obviously helps to have friends and other partners, or an otherwise busy life to keep you occupied. I find that if I have a lot going on, I don’t feel the time and distance as much. Focusing on the future and on your own ability to make yourself happy go a long way toward alleviating the pain of separation.

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