Transitions vs. Breakups in Polyamory Relationships

That Cliff is Really Just A Sharp Right Turn:
Ending / Changing /Transitioning Relationships in Polyamory

Breakups. Breakdowns. Happens to the best of us. Happens to the worst of us. Love happens. Life happens. And… of course: shit happens. How do we flush what horrific stuff just went through us both?

Process. Process. Process. There are a million ways, a million thoughts, and a few actions. But ultimately, after all the self-pity and regret and nausea and vexation and mysterious reflection, there are a variety of signs that a relationship has broke on through to the other side, as Jim Morrison would say.

“We must stop having sex together” is the NUMBER ONE tell-tale sign of a drastic shift in the foundation of a relationship. When you hear those words: damn!

Sometimes, all other details being equal, one hopes and wishes you two (or three, etc.) can still be friends. But it depends on if attachment and dependency issues are not clouding the post-sexual festivities. One can’t be clingy and needy and jealousy and creepy and expect their former flame to still want to try and share a normal day.

And contrary to ignorant misunderstanding, polyamorous people are capable of each and every dysfunctional and destructive emotional response and negative impacting intimacy pattern that monogamous people are able to inflict upon each other. Maybe monogamous people have more opportunity to focus their psychological strategy against their opponent and sharpen their daggers and arrows during close quarters combat… but that doesn’t mean that polyamorous people don’t also generate intense and engaging connections that can eradicate self-esteem and sanity just as instantly as any serial monogamist’s madness might! There are pitfalls to both relationship styles, and there are costs and benefits to each style of loving.

But regardless of how much or little energy was invested in the relationship, even one moment’s reflection to spend time with one’s self, and be supportive of the other(s) if they request and you can manage to offer it, is much appreciated.

In polyamory, there tends not to be a linear vision of relationships, where the expectations are not “date me/learn me/put faith in me/engage me/marry me/impregnate me/never divorce me” fairytale that many women are forced to believe is the only path to life and love happiness.

Polyamorous relationships can, and often do, start and stop, and bring in other partners, and end suddenly and possibly start again just as suddenly… and then end, surprisingly. But there isn’t usually as much of a sense of permanent obliteration of a shared future with certain people and certain possibilities. And this is the reason why polyamorous breakups seem to do less damage to the people involved, as well as leave the door open to future potential connections… as well as already coming with the chance to enter the situation with a pre-arranged emotional support group to mitigate the passion damage that may manifest during the quest to connect…

Whether it’s a conversation in a restaurant, a discussion at a neutral location, a heart-to-heart chat at your house (or mine?) or, sadly less desirably (for my values), a text message or an email: there HAS to be some form of communicated conclusion for a relationship to be done.

No muss, no fuss. Just make it CLEAR that you are taking certain, if not all, options off the table. That’s what a considerate lover does. And you never know! Maybe you two (or three or more) will have sex in the future! Hardcore polyamorists I’ve met seem to prefer the term “transitioning” instead of “breaking up”, and that seems to open space and thought for continued transitions.

Maybe you’ll help them meet people. Compersion is awesome!

Meet new poly partners today at!

And if you want your lover to be REALLY happy, and you know that breaking up with them was the key component to them achieving their happiness, wouldn’t you want to separate from them?

I would maybe never see them again and wish them well in life and love, if that was the cost of them finding their most satisfying connections and relationships…

Nothing ends. Things are just always changing. Is your mind changing with it, is the question…

In Love,
Addi Stewart

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