Switching Gears in Poly Relationships

As my partner and I grow closer, I’m beginning to understand more about the ways in which he experiences our relationship. Our poly dynamic is such that he’s married and the father of three teenage children, while I’m single with no children and no other sexual partners at this time. Because I’m free of the many responsibilities he deals with on a daily basis, I sometimes find myself oblivious to his need to rest and switch gears when we’re together. This has led to conversations about how to make the most of our date nights while still incorporating the transition time he requires to feel relaxed and in the moment. Here are a few of the strategies we’ve come up with.

Set Aside Time to Talk and Decompress
This is a good habit to develop in any relationship, but it’s especially helpful in the world of multiple poly connections. It can be challenging to move from one relationship to the next without taking some time out to relax and catch your present partner up on all that has been happening in your life. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want your entire evening together to become a platform for venting or complaining. Try to mostly discuss things that are relevant to your current partner and that will contribute to your enjoyment of the evening. Talking about larger or long-running issues is important too, but it’s best to hold these topics for longer visits or even have scheduled conversation times. Of course, life doesn’t always work like that and at times you might find that you’ve spent your entire date hashing things out. Just try to be aware and find the balance.

Start with a Back Rub
You can exchange the words “back rub” for any relaxing activity you and your partner might enjoy. I love to give and receive foot massages. I find they often lead to sex, but not always. Sometimes it’s nice just to be close and cuddle with your partner. (And sometimes you’ll want to jump each other the first chance you get.) I used to expect that my partner would have this urgent need to ravage me every time we got together until I realized that he has many pressures in his life and that sex is sometimes the furthest thing from his mind. Taking the time to start out slowly and to encourage relaxation can go a long way towards building intimacy and enjoyment.

Be Respectful of Time Restraints
In a situation like mine where my partner has many demands on his time, I’ve found it really useful to set an alarm. We really only do this during our shorter dates, when he needs to get home or to work at a certain hour, but it frees us up from the distraction of always checking the clock. It also shows that I’m making an effort to acknowledge the many other important aspects of his life that take up his time and attention. As a side note, it can be just as beneficial to have time away from alarms and busy schedules. Try to plan trips together or open-ended dates whenever possible. Nothing can really replace spending time together when it comes to switching gears and being in the moment with your partner.

Easy Ways to Bond with Your Partners

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