So you’d like to give polyamory a try. Maybe things have gotten a bit stale between you and your lover, and you’ve heard that adding another person to the mix can really freshen things up?
Maybe you’ve always felt that monogamy isn’t for you, because it’s too restrictive or it just doesn’t make sense to you emotionally? Why love only one person when you can love two?
There are plenty of reasons to consider opening up your relationship to other people and plenty of stories about couples who’ve tried it and either failed miserably, or found a happiness greater than they ever imagined.
So what makes the difference between poly failure and success? Aside from compatibility, a factor that’s crucial to all intimate relationships, the following five attributes are critical if you want to succeed in a poly relationship.
1. The Belief that Love is Abundant
In order to live happily as a poly person, you have to believe with your entire being that love is a limitless resource. It’s so important that you feel, deep down in your bones, that love is multiplied, not divided, between you and each of your partners.
This can be a tough notion to grasp, especially given that most of us have been conditioned to believe that love is scarce and limited and must be snatched up and held tightly. If you can’t see yourself ever letting go of that fear, polyamory is probably not for you.
Being able to empathize with everyone in your polycule is also important to poly bliss. Without empathy, you are more likely to feel emotionally isolated from your partner(s) and metamour(s), giving jealousy a much stronger foothold.
If you aren’t a naturally empathetic person, you might want to consider some self-help work before taking the step of adding others to your relationship. Empathy can be learned, but it takes a lot of work and patience.
3. Communication Skills
This is a big one. If you decide to venture down the poly path, you better be prepared to talk about your relationships a lot. Communication is such an important aspect of poly life that I could dedicate an entire post to it. If you cringe at the thought of talking about feelings, and can’t see yourself ever opening yourself up to it, a poly relationship would probably feel like the darkest pits of hell to you. Just sayin’.
4. Time Management Skills
It takes a lot of organization and consistency to balance all the demands of multiple relationships. You’ve got to be on top of things so that no one feels rejected or disrespected as a result of scheduling mishaps or short-sightedness. People who can multitask and enjoy a challenge are probably better suited to polyamory than those who can’t.
5. A Desire for Autonomy
If you’re someone who likes to spend every waking hour with your partner and prefers a codependent relationship dynamic, polyamory will probably make you miserable. The key to being happy while your partner is off having fun with someone else is to have plenty of your own interests and the strong desire to pursue them on your own.
Don’t count on always filling in your time with lots of other partners because every once in a while a day will come when everyone is out with someone else, and you’ll be left alone with your thoughts. Being able to feel content on your own is so important to poly success because believe it or not, having multiple partners is no cure for loneliness.