Polyamory is a slang term for being in a romantic relationship with more than one person at the same time. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about polyamory out there, which can make it difficult to talk about with your partner about your relationship. Don’t be concerned. We’ve provided a number of suggestions for how you and your partner can prepare for this important conversation so that you can have an open and productive discussion.
1. Brainstorm what kinds of questions your partner will have.
Extensive research on polyamory and what it entails should be conducted before you begin your relationship. Your partner is likely to have a lot of questions, such as what polyamory is and how it works. They might also inquire as to whether polyamory is synonymous with cheating, or whether you are simply not ready for a long-term relationship. Prepare answers to these types of questions ahead of time so that you aren’t caught off guard during your conversation.
Alternatively, you could explain that cheating is based on deception and lying, whereas polyamory is founded on open communication.
You might mention that polyamory still entails a significant amount of commitment, particularly in the case of a long-term relationship.
2. Predict different possible reactions.
Don’t make any assumptions about how your partner will react to the conversation, positive or negative. Your partner may be enthusiastic about the prospect of a polyamorous relationship, or they may be completely opposed to it. Alternatively, your partner might simply want more information and not be emotionally invested in either side of the argument. You should be prepared for any of the reactions listed above so that you are not caught off guard.
The ability to be adaptable is essential, especially when you are unsure of how your partner will react. If your partner isn’t ready to have the conversation, it’s perfectly acceptable to put it on hold.
You might say something like, “I’m truly sorry. The last thing I wanted to do was cause you any inconvenience. Why don’t we talk about it again another time?”
3. Pick a private time when you and your partner are calm.
Polyamory is a serious topic that should not be brought up on the spur of the moment. Decide on a time when both you and your partner are calm and relaxed, and both of you are in a good mood. It is best not to bring up the subject when either of you is feeling anxious or upset, as the conversation is unlikely to progress very far.
Suppose you bring up the subject in the evening, after your partner has had time to relax and unwind after a long day at work, and your partner responds positively.
4. Speak with “I” statements.
“I” statements allow you to express yourself without transferring responsibility. Inform your partner of your reasons for being interested in polyamory. Make an effort to be as open and friendly as possible in order to avoid making your partner feel intimidated.
It is possible that you will say, “I’ve been reading about different kinds of relationships online, and it appears that I might identify as non-monogamous.”
You could also say something like, “I really enjoy being with you, and I wanted to share something that’s been on my mind recently.” What are your thoughts on polyamory?” you might wonder.
5. Remind your partner that they’ve done nothing wrong.
Your partner may experience feelings of jealousy or the belief that they aren’t good enough for you. Your partner’s reactions are completely normal and valid, especially if he or she is unfamiliar with polyamorous relationships. Assure them that you value their friendship and that being polyamorous will have no effect on your feelings for them. It’s also a good idea to ask your partner some encouraging, open-ended questions to encourage them to share their thoughts more freely.
It is possible that you will inquire, “Are you concerned that I will care for someone else more and end things with you?” or “Are you concerned that other people will judge you?”
You could also inquire, “Are you concerned that you were the cause of this?” “Does polyamory make you feel as if you aren’t in control?” for example.
6. Create ground rules for an open relationship.
Some of your partner’s concerns may be alleviated if you establish ground rules. Create a list of what you and your partner both want. Decide whether you want to be one another’s primary partner or whether you’d prefer to keep things more casual. Also, confirm whether or not you would like to meet your partner’s lovers, and whether or not your partner would be comfortable with you meeting their lover. Even though these ground rules may seem awkward at first, following them will help you avoid a lot of awkward and uncomfortable situations in the future.
For example, you and your partner might agree to always celebrate birthdays and major holidays together.
Make a note of these ground rules somewhere so that you and your partner can easily refer back to them.
7. Discuss STI prevention.
If you exercise caution, it is possible to avoid contracting an STD. Agree to use a condom or dental dam whenever possible with any other partners to avoid contracting or spreading anything unintentionally. In order to avoid sharing and spreading as many bodily fluids as possible during your intimate moments, you could also be a little more inventive.
Kissing, petting, and certain types of foreplay are all excellent, risk-free ways to be intimate with someone.
8. Look for a compromise.
If you’re looking to shake things up in your relationship, polyamory isn’t the only way to do it. You could try a consensual non-monogamous relationship, in which you and your partner can hook up on a casual basis without committing to a long-term partnership. Another activity that you and your partner might enjoy doing together is attending an intimate dinner party with other people who are interested in sex.
9. Provide support and flexibility.
It is possible that your partner will require some time to adjust to the idea of polyamory. Remind them that you are available to speak with them whenever they want. You and your partner could read some useful articles and resources about polyamory together, or you could offer to accompany them to a polyamory therapist’s office.
If you want to send your partner a well-researched article about polyamorous relationships, you could do so. After that, you and your partner can both read and discuss the article.
10. Reaffirm your identity.
No matter how the conversation turns out, keep reminding yourself that you are important. If you are polyamorous, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, and wanting to be in a different type of relationship does not make you any less of a person or a partner. Continue to reaffirm to your partner that you have nothing to be ashamed of as they process the conversation.
For example, you might tell yourself, “I deserve to be happy” or “Polyamory is a healthy and fulfilling way to have romance in my life.”
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