Do you ever wish you could board a time machine and do over some of your most painful poly relationship blunders? I sure do!
Being a poly person can be challenging, and because polyamory is only now making its way into the mainstream, many of us don’t have an older friend or relative we can sit down with over tea to glean the fruits of their wisdom.
Here’s what I would tell my younger poly self, if given the chance.
You Can Ask for What You Want
As a chronic people pleaser, I used to feel that my wants and needs were insignificant as compared to those of my polycule. I felt that strength came in the form of sacrifice and that love meant putting everyone else first.
Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I can see how wrong I was. Allowing my wants and needs to go unacknowledged only lead to resentment, and ultimately, emotional shutdown. Speak up if you need something from your partner(s)! Give them the chance to come through for you.
Comparison Is Useless
No two relationships are alike, and therefore cannot be held up against one another, but that didn’t stop me from feeling hurt or angry whenever I witnessed what I felt was inequality between the relationship I share with my partner and the one he shares with his wife.
It took me a while to figure out that the only thing that can be measured in poly relationships is the degree to which a partner is committed to making things work. I don’t share as many deep ties with my partner as his wife does. We haven’t been married for twenty-seven years and we don’t have children together, but I know we love one another tremendously and that he’s equally committed to me and his marriage.
Jealousy Isn’t Permanent
Even if it feels deep and never ending in the moment, jealousy does pass eventually. The secret is to bring it out into the open. Tell your polycule what you’re going through, and what you need to feel better.
Once I realized that jealousy was an emotion like any other, in that it flows in and out of my heart depending on how I’m feeling physically, or on how other aspects of my life are going, it lost almost all of its power over me.
Stop Keeping Score
Much like comparing, score keeping is a damaging and useless endeavor in poly relationships. I used to subconsciously count the hours my partner spent with me, and keep track of the kinds of things we did on dates, using this information to determine my worth in his eyes.
Eventually I realized the importance of developing my own sense of self-worth. Now I just enjoy being in the moment on our dates, with the understanding that everything balances out over time.
What advice would you give to your poly self if you could go back in time? Leave us a comment!
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