For those of us who have never identified with traditional relationships or monogamy, or who left monogamous relationships because they felt unnatural, discovering the world of polyamory may have felt like a revelation. Or like a homecoming.
Others were disillusioned by one-on-one relationships, or an experience of loss when they held deep feelings for more than one person and had to make a choice. They came to polyamory seeking solutions and found them.
When the concept of polyamory felt so right and solved so many problems, it can feel downright cataclysmic to feel upended again from disappointment and disillusion in the poly lifestyle.
If you sincerely believed that dishonesty, betrayal, cheating, manipulation, rivalry, jealousy, and emotional blackmail was behind you, you can end up hurt or angry.
How to Cope with Disillusion and Disappointment
Understand that polyamory is not paradise.
It might FEEL like it is sometimes, because you don’t have to choose between “temptations” but can engage with many lovers and experience relationship and pleasure in many ways. You don’t have to feel sick or conflicted about having feelings in more than one direction.
But polyamorous people are the same people in the same world as anyone else. Polyamory as a concept can solve some problems and bring many benefits, but it isn’t a cure-all or a magic bullet. People are complicated and the world is imperfect.
Knowing that there are also disadvantages to polyamory can help you through the rocky times.
One relationship can be hard to master. Juggling many can be even trickier.
Polyamory can actually amplify the odds of problems in love and dating. While it removes some of the sex drama by broadening the rules outside of possession, there is ultimately more room for sex drama and any other kind of human conflict because you have several relationships to work through instead of just one.
Remember that your lovers are real people, with their own drama and bad patterns.
Polyamory as a lifestyle strives to be ethical, consensual, and eschew jealousy and ownership games. But we are as flawed and vulnerable as any other people, with our own unique set of bad habits, fears, negative experiences, and personal growth trajectory.
Polyamorous people have the same struggles of character and heart as other people. We have complicated motivations and wrestle with failure and unrequited love and personal insecurities, and all the ways that those things play out.
Recognize that polyamory does not mean “not feeling.”
Some people come to polyamory because they are wounded. It’s like a rebound relationship. You may feel that you can outrun a broken heart or stop experiencing painful emotions like jealousy or insecurity.
However, t’s a mistake to think that loving more than one person means feeling less for both of them. It’s not true that losing one lover won’t hurt when you have three more. That’s not how it works.
Have you experienced disillusion or disappointment in your poly life?