Poly Relationships

Polyamory Expectations vs Reality

Three Friends in Serious Discussion

I’m an avid journal keeper. My bookshelves are dotted with many an old notebook, and sometimes I get the courage to take one down and poke through it.

What follows is an honest critique of a list I made when I first contemplated being poly. I wrote it seven years ago, before I met my partner, just as I was about to craft my online dating profile.

It’s an inventory of what I thought would be the advantages of non-monogamy. Did I get it right? Let’s find out.

Poly Expectations vs Reality

I will be afforded the perfect mix of social and alone time.

Most of the time, it’s true. I’m free to enjoy my own company, but still feel the comfort of knowing that I’m part of a close-knit family. This appeals to the introvert in me.

What’s not appealing, is that I don’t always get to choose when I will be alone. My partner is married and living with his wife. I generally spend two nights a week in their home and one day on the weekend, but sometimes marriage or family obligations come up that disrupt the schedule, and this can feel shitty.

Read: How to Put Your Needs First in Your Polycule

I will have freedom to pursue emotional connections as they arise.

Yes and no. While I and every other member of my polycule may accept the feelings we have developed for someone, we need to check in with the group before physically acting on them. That’s because we practice polyfidelity, which I am 100% on board with.

Before entering into the poly lifestyle, I had envisioned more of a free love scenario, but I have to say that the way we’ve structured things feels way safer and more authentic to who I am.

Read: Polyfidelity FAQ

I will be both the giver and the recipient of boundless love.

Again, my assumption that we would be living like a bunch of hippies in a commune was a little off base. When I made this list, I didn’t understand the emotional effort it would take to maintain a bunch of relationships simultaneously, and it didn’t occur to me that being an introvert would put a crimp in that plan.

I will say, however, that I have all the love I need and feel wonderful knowing that I can love others freely without being made to feel guilty. (I’m distinguishing between love and sex here because there are plenty of ways to love someone without fucking them.)

Read: Celibacy Inside and Outside Poly Relationships

I will feel less lonely.

I’ve addressed loneliness many times in these blog posts, usually with a cautionary tone that urges you not to think of polyamory as the solution. While I maintain that loneliness will persist until you are willing and able to connect with yourself, polyamory can help you along the way.

I was chronically lonely before meeting my partner and metamour. Now it’s more of an acute issue that surfaces when I get bored or forget to take responsibility for my own happiness.

What do you think? Did your poly dreams come close to the real deal? Leave your thoughts in a comment!

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