By and large, monogamous couples don’t need to ask themselves what commitment looks like. Everyone knows it’s comprised of a very well-worn set of steps, beginning with coffee and ending in, “Till death do us part.”
In poly relationships, it’s a bit more complicated. Being in love and choosing to spend your lives together can take on many different forms once you open up your life to more than one intimate partner.
Here are some examples of what commitment might look like within the context of ethical nonmonogamy.
4 Expressions of Commitment in Poly Relationships
1. Fluid Bonding
Although this term sounds like something you might read about in a chemistry textbook, it’s one of the strongest indicators that you and your poly partners are committed to one another.
If you’re fluid bonded, it means that you trust the members of your poly circle enough to engage in unprotected sex. This decision is not taken lightly, and usually comes into practice after much communication and STI testing. If your polycule wants to include you in their fluid bond, you know you’re part of the inner sanctum.
2. Space Sharing
Unlike in monogamous relationships where space sharing typically involves co-habitation, poly space sharing can include a number of things. In my case, I spend one night a week at my partner and metamour’s home, in a room that my partner and I have set aside as our own. It’s a way of honoring our relationship, and of carving out a space for us in the larger context of his life.
We don’t need to live together full time in order to feel fulfilled. Having our own room in his home feels just as meaningful, and isn’t that what being poly is all about? Finding expressions of love that are specific to those involved.
3. Scheduled Transparency
Many polycules find that sharing a Google calendar helps to keep everyone in the loop. If you’ve been granted access to the calendar, and invited to share the events of your life with everyone, you can interpret that as a sign of commitment.
It means that the members of your polycule consider you an integral part of the group, and that the things you do have an impact on them. It’s a way to be part of each other’s daily experiences, giving you an opportunity to offer support when needed, or simply to bear witness to the routine aspects of life.
4. Involvement in Future Planning
A natural predecessor of calendar sharing, being involved in future planning, is a sure sign of commitment in poly relationships. It means you’re expected to be part of the group for a long time to come. Some partners might not care for this level of involvement, wishing instead for a more independent lifestyle.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about how to be committed in a poly relationship. What matters is that everyone agrees to their role in the relationship dynamic, and by extension, feels respected and happy.
What does poly commitment look like to you? Leave us a comment!