Tips & Advice

5 Polyamory Mistakes I’ve Made

Couple Sitting Apart on Couch

We all make mistakes, and those of us in polyamorous relationships are no exception.

This could be a book that almost anyone who has been in polyamory for more than a few months, if not a few years, has the ability to write.

Why We Make Mistakes in Polyamory

There aren’t many movies that teach people how to model their relationships, there aren’t many songs that teach lessons, we do NOT learn it in school that’s for sure.

We don’t often meet polyamory people who know how to functionally do polyamory because it’s not widely accepted in our society. We’re getting there, but we still have a LONG way to go.

Imagine all our parents and grandparents who cheated and had mistresses and secret affairs—all the stress and problematic behavior and outright relationship mistakes that humans engage in when they don’t know how to navigate their non-monogamous instincts and intentions!

Polyamory is not an easy road. Accidents WILL happen. You will make more polyamory mistakes than I can list. You will make mistakes I’ve never made, or make mistakes I’ve made a half-dozen times.

Let me share some of those.

5 Mistakes I’ve Made in Polyamory

1. Moving Too Fast Too Soon

Kind of a rookie mistake, but it’s TOTALLY understandable.

I’ve got to keep reminding myself to not do it whenever I meet new people in polyamory, especially because I’ve got two decades of experience in polyamory. Kinda like someone wanting to play basketball against Lebron James or Scottie Pippen, ha ha.

I can move fast, but I need to slow down and meet people in the middle of where they are and where I am, most hopefully.

I can’t just say, “I’m poly,” and rush people through their process of emotional connection. That’s a basic polyamory mistake that needs to be avoided, it’s not fair to people.

Definitely don’t move as slow as a monogamous relationship if that’s not your speed of emotional connection, cause that’s NOT mine for damn sure, but don’t rush selfishly.

Read: Super Polyamory: Moving at the Speed of Love

2. Dismissing People who Aren’t Poly

You may be focused on learning about polyamory and different lifestyles, and finding “your people.” That’s cool and all, but make sure you don’t get snobbish and self-righteous towards other people’s choices.

Polyamory is so diverse—there are many dynamics and types of poly connections—so it’s not that simple to try and separate people in a binary sense and ignore anyone who isn’t into your way of life.

I love my poly people, but none of us are perfect either. There’s no point in not making space in your life for people who aren’t poly… as friends, of course.

3. Not Communicating Needs and Wants

If you don’t make it clear when your needs are not being met, either physically or emotionally, resentment often builds. Jealousy may follow if you or a partner closes down or turns to another to have those needs met, resulting in conflicts that could have been avoided.

Lack of communication is a recurring theme and regular accident that happens in poly relationships. It happens when people struggle to express their desires, when lives get busy and disrupted, and any number of reasons. And there is no rule (unless you make one now) that says: “We must discuss our needs and wants every two weeks of our relationship!”

Say it when you think it, not months after. Trust.

Read: Tips for Maintaining Communication

4. Failing to Do Emotional Check-ins

You can’t always predict when you’ll have fun times beyond expectation, and even if you have a play party that you’ve told your partner about beforehand, you don’t know exactly what will happen until the night HAPPENS. And sometimes you have to deal with the emotional aftermath of the situation with what you did, not what you wanted to do, even though that may have become a factor in what eventually happened. There are levels to this shit.

I can’t predict it all, but I can predict that failing to have a clear and intimate conversation with a partner after a major (or minor) sexual event with another partner WILL lead to turmoil, confusion, chaos, despair, and trouble! Open relationships and alike don’t just run themselves—they require boundaries and regular check-ins.

Read: How Do You Apologize for a Mistake?

5. Being Greedy and Irresponsible

This is a rookie polyamory mistake, but a natural thing for any human to do before they learn boundaries and understand that it’s impossible to have an appetite smaller than your eyes and hands, ha ha.

If you try to be with everyone in the world, it just won’t work. You won’t be able to return all the calls, make all the dates, have all the sex, and do all the things you dream of with everyone at the same time. It’s not possible.

Read: 4 Things to Consider before Adding a New Partner

If you get too greedy in polyamory, you start defeating the purpose of your relationships, and you begin to lose the people you love. It will happen, especially if you struggle with time management or are emotionally irresponsible. There’s a system that can be worked out—shared calendars, check-ins, daily texts—whatever works to make everyone involved feel emotionally safe.

You can also mess up in the other direction and be TOO generous and lose someone that way, ha ha ha! Welcome to the wonderful world of polyamory, dear friends.

For more polyamory pitfalls to avoid, read: Polyamory Relationship Mistakes

Sincerely,
Addi “Malcolm Lovejoy” Stewart

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