We all have our reasons for going the polyamory route. Some of us yearn to break free of monogamy and all the restrictions that come with it. Others suspect we’re poly, or know we are, and just want to live our most authentic lives.
No matter your reason for considering polyamory, there are some basic—yet not always obvious—truths about the lifestyle that are important to consider before going all in.
4 Polyamory Truths
1. Intimacy Takes Many Forms
We’re all familiar with the term “sexual intimacy,” but there are many other ways in which we can get close to others that have been eclipsed by our collective obsession with all things hot and heavy.
If polyamory has taught me anything it’s that every expression of love and support is valid, and that there’s room for more than one kind of connection at once. Sharing and experience, or laughing together can be an incredibly intimate experience, as can surviving a difficult time in your lives and coming out the other side as strong and committed as ever.
Read: How to Build Intimacy in Relationships
2. Compersion Takes Practice
Compersion is the opposite of jealousy. It’s a feeling of joy sparked by another person’s happiness, and it’s one of the building blocks of poly success.
You might assume that poly people have this magical ability to feel compersion automatically, but for many of us, it’s a conscious mindset that takes effort to maintain. It gets easier with time, especially as you begin to experience the benefits of not comparing yourself to others, and of seeing love from the perspective of abundance rather than scarcity.
Read: 4 Ways to Practice Compersion
3. Loneliness Is a Bitch
Do you think that polyamory will cure your loneliness? Think again. Loneliness is a tenacious beast that requires taming from within, and no number of additional partners will make you feel connected if you can’t first connect with yourself.
That said, having emotional support in your life where you might have previously had none can offer a massive leg up in your healing journey—just don’t expect your lovers to “fix” that part of your life.
Before you consider polyamory, get to know and love yourself. Find your own happiness so that you can face those occasional nights alone with joy rather than dread.
Read: How to Cope when You’e Isolated from Your Partners
4. Romance Is a Group Effort
While it’s true that each relationship within your polycule is its own entity with its own set of needs, it takes everyone’s cooperation to make things work.
Romance relies on having time together and feeling that you’re a priority in one another’s life, and these things can’t happen without your group’s willingness to keep a schedule and to respect everyone’s time together.
There might also be occasions when you’re called upon to help plan a special event (like an anniversary party) for your partner and metamour. It’s times like these that make you realize how important teamwork is to poly life.
Are you new to non-monogamy and considering the polyamory lifestyle?
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