A few weeks ago, I noticed that my partner was stressed out. He was having a hard time balancing all the demands of his life and work, and had cancelled a few of our dates. I was hurt and concerned, so we talked about it.
It turns out he was feeling awful about never having any alone time, ever, so I offered to give up one of our date nights a week. I thought I was being sensitive and giving, but it turns out that by agreeing to these changes on the spot, we were both creating a larger problem. Why? Neither of us had considered how our decision would affect the other people in our polycule.
That’s really the biggest difference between mono and poly relationships, in the polysphere, everything you do affects everybody else. Here are some steps you can take to avoid a similar issue…
1. Express Your Desire for Change
Don’t expect your partner(s) to read your mind. If the current schedule isn’t working for you, speak up! This will cut down on painful misunderstandings when you start to cancel, or cut your dates short. Many times, feeling rejected is the result of unrealistic expectations. Your partners will feel much more secure in their relationships with you if you can follow through with things, and sometimes that means dialing back on what you are expected to deliver.
2. Spell Out What You Want or Need
Again, no one is going to know what you need unless you spell it out in a very specific way. This might require some thought, or a conversation with a partner or therapist to really figure it out. Once you have a clear idea, bring it up in your next poly check-in. It’s important that everyone be present for the conversation (especially if you have that kind of close knit, kitchen-table dynamic).
3. Discuss the Impacts
Give everyone a chance to express how they might be affected by the changes you would like to make. Don’t feel that you’re asking for permission, it’s not like that. It’s more a gesture of kindness and respect. In our case, my matamour’s other partner was concerned that he might end up having less time with my metamour, now that her husband (my partner) would be home more often. It just took a bit of explaining to resolve things.
4. Agree on a New Schedule
Maybe the changes you would like to make actually open this up a little? See if anyone else would like to switch things up. Life isn’t static and poly schedules need to be revised now and then. Take this opportunity to make changes all around, or keep things the same! The important thing is that everyone leaves the table feeling good about things.
5. Check in After a Week or So
See how everything worked out. Did the changes offer you what you hoped they would? Do you need to make further adjustments or is everyone good to go? Depending on the nature of your poly dynamic, this step might seem a bit unnecessary. Every polycule has differing levels of emotional needs and connections, so always go more by your own group’s vibe more than anything else.
Do you have any advice about changing up your poly routine? Leave us a comment!