Are you thinking of trying this thing called polyamory that you read about on your Twitter feed? Do you wonder if maybe you could get used to the idea of sleeping with lots of different people while still maintaining your current relationship? Lots of sex! No guilt! Sounds great, right?
I’m going to be a bit of a buzzkill and suggest that polyamory can be just as amazing as it sounds, but only if you don’t recognize yourself in any of the following…
You Fear Loneliness
If you’re considering polyamory because you think it means you’ll never find yourself alone on a Friday night, think again. There will be times when all your partners are out with other people, or busy with their lives, and you’ll be at home by yourself feeling lonelier than ever.
I’ve said it before, but the poly lifestyle is best suited to those who cherish independence and enjoy their own company because—unlike in a monogamous relationship—you won’t be anyone’s singular priority. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, you’d probably hate being a poly partner.
You Have Abandonment Issues
Again, being poly does not guarantee constant companionship. You will spend intense stretches of time bonding with a partner on a trip, or on an extended date, and then leave one another—sometimes reluctantly—to go home by yourself, or to take up with another partner. If you’re in a good head space, the transition won’t feel too jarring; but if you’re struggling with issues of abandonment, you will suffer.
I’m not saying you can’t work on yourself and eventually get to a better place, only that it won’t be easy and that the poly dynamic will continue to hit a nerve.
You Hate Talking about Your Feelings
If you’re averse to lengthy, in-depth conversations about emotional things, you’ll probably want to avoid polyamory. While not all poly dynamics feature tearful group conversations over brunch or drinks, all successful poly relationships do require regular check-ins with each of your partners. If you don’t mind opening up about your feelings, but simply aren’t good at it, the poly lifestyle will give you lots of chances to improve.
The only thing you really need is an open heart and a willingness to learn. If you are self-aware enough to know that the effort required to face such things will exhaust you, or drive you crazy, you’re better off seeking a less-involved relationship dynamic.
You Need to Be the Center of Attention
As stated earlier, polyamory is not for those who need to be someone’s singular focus. Depending on the type of poly connection you have, you could receive a lot more, a lot less, or the exact same amount of attention as everyone else in your polycule.
Egalitarian dynamics offer the same level of involvement to all involved. No one has more pull than anyone else, and no one can claim veto power. Hierarchical dynamics divide partners into primary, secondary, and sometimes even tertiary positions, affording each a diminishing level of involvement based in their place in line. If you need to feel that you have lots of say in your partners’ lives, I would not recommend being a secondary partner.
If you need to have absolute authority over your love life, I’d recommend that you stick with monogamy.