Poly relationships can get complicated, we all know that. There are so many needs and emotions to be processed at any given time that it can feel a little overwhelming. In the face of all these demands, it’s pretty common for the super sensitive poly lovers among us to engage in the act of people pleasing. It seems so obvious, that keeping everyone happy is the key to our own happiness… right? Wrong. Although it may seem like a good idea to cater to everyone’s needs, even at the expense of our own, it’s an impossible feat that really only leads to disaster. Here’s why…
Trying to keep everyone happy leaves very little room for down time. How can you go to the gym or spend time practicing your hobbies or even just sit quietly by yourself to regroup, if you’re always busy doing what you feel everyone else wants from you? I’m sure if you asked your partners, they would say that they want you to be fulfilled. It’s not up to you to please everyone. If your partner ever says, “You make me happy,” try to think of it as a compliment, not a job description.
While people pleasing can feel good and at times in harmony with what you really want, often it can feel like a chore. How many times have you found yourself doing something for your partner(s) while your mind wanders to what you really wish you could be doing? It can feel hard to speak up about it, maybe because your time is stretched so thin between everyone that you don’t want to disappoint, or because you fear that your partner(s) won’t love you as much if you say no. The problem with that is that you aren’t being truthful about your own needs, and poly relationships really only work if everyone is up front about their needs and feelings.
It’s a No-Win Strategy
There’s no way to make everybody happy at the same time. It’s a losing battle so you might as well choose the option that takes into account your true wishes. Start thinking about what you want and speak up about it if you need to. Don’t feel guilty about giving up the fight to please. I can pretty much guarantee that your partner(s) can detect the angst you’re feeling as you toil away in vain. Basically, it’s not worth the pain. Things are never going to be perfect, but that’s life.
It’s (Potentially) Self-Serving
This one’s a little less obvious, but sometimes we gain a perverse pleasure from being the martyr. All of our relationship sacrifices can feel like currency in the bank if we think it might be used to gain something bigger in the end. If your partner(s) disappoint you, do you feel more entitled to lay on the guilt because you feel that they owe you? The truth is that even if you’re the biggest people pleaser in the world, there’s nothing to say that everyone else will be, too. Focus more on meeting your own needs, let others do the same for themselves and everyone will be happier for it.