In every relationship there comes a time when you ask yourself where things are at—it’s only natural to want to know. In long-term, monogamous relationships it’s easy to figure it out. All you have to do is consider where you are on the dating-marriage spectrum.
In the polyverse, things are not as straight forward. Here are some questions to ask yourself in your quest to determine the progression of things.
Is Your Relationship Egalitarian or Hierarchical?
In egalitarian relationships, everyone has as much claim to intimacy as everyone else, and ties are free to develop naturally. Hierarchical relationships are a little different because they come with inherent restrictions on how deep things can get with secondary partners.
If you’re a secondary partner and you feel that your relationship has stalled, that might be because you’ve hit the wall of what is emotionally expected of your partner. It’s important to talk about it and see if your needs can be addressed. If they can’t, you might need to seek out additional partners, or re-evaluate your comfort level with being in a hierarchical dynamic.
Have You Talked about Where You Want Your Relationship to Go?
You might feel that it’s an awkward conversation, but it’s a crucial one to have if you want to gauge where your relationship is at. Unlike monogamous relationships—in which you board the commitment escalator at dating and travel on up through marriage to death—polyamory leaves lots of room for detours.
Before assuming the expected trajectory of things, you need to decide what you and your partner want your relationship to entail. Do you want to be casual fuck buddies who see each other occasionally? Do you want to be deeply involved in each other’s lives, right down to living together? Are there, or will there ever be, more partners added to the mix? Decide what you both want to get out of your connection, and go from there.
Are Your Expectations Being Met?
Only once you’ve had the conversation about where you both see things going can you form your expectations. Before that, expectations mean nothing. Based on your understanding of what your partner is willing to give, do you feel satisfied with things?
Being polyamorous, it can be hard not to compare your relationship with ones your partner shares with other people. This can lead to jealousy and a concern that your relationship is not being given the priority it should. Before you let yourself go there, think back to the original set of agreements you signed off on. Are they being met?
What Does Your Gut Tell You?
Beyond all else, trust that little voice inside your head to tell you how things are going. Sometimes everything looks good on paper, but they just don’t feel right. Maybe you thought you wanted a certain kind of relationship but when it comes down to it, you want something different. Maybe you want something more serious, or perhaps polyamory isn’t for you?
Spend some time thinking about your true wants and needs, then lay them out on the table. You might not get everything you want, at least in your current relationships, but you were honest with yourself.
What do you think? Can progress ever be measured in poly relationships? Should it be? Leave your opinions in a comment!