“In my mind, I understand and see the benefits of being in a polyamorous relationship. In practice, it’s really hard because of all of the feelings that come up. Why is this so and what can I do about it?”
Here’s some advice:
Keep in mind that whenever you start something new there is a learning curve. Sometimes what you might think makes sense might not feel good in the process of learning. Why? We are brought up to follow certain societal norms. They can be so deeply ingrained in us that they are more unconscious than conscious. When we step out of the norm, as in polyamory and polyamorous relationships, something inside us begins to stir. That’s the unconscious energy telling us we’re doing something wrong. It’s telling us that we shouldn’t break the rules or else something bad might happen. It’s this fear of doing something wrong and a fear of being judged or unaccepted that keeps many people stuck in unfulfilling relationships.
Trust that when you pay attention to what is important to you AND you address any feelings that come up in the process of following your desires, you are more likely to get what you want. In terms of polyamory it may look something like this:
A single person meets someone who is in an existing polyamorous relationship. The single person is new to polyamory and wants to explore the lifestyle. In the course of their journey, they may experience a myriad of emotions (love, attraction, fear, jealousy, insecurity, excitement, etc). These emotions are natural. Everyone has emotions, so their ability to be polyamorous or not should not be based on what emotions they are having. What’s important here is to be able to recognize the emotions and do something about them. When I say do something about them, I mean pro-actively look at the emotions, experience them, and see what the underlying need might be. When we create a space to look at and experience the emotions, without blaming or shaming them, we give ourselves an opportunity to create a new experience. That new experience may involve having some compassion for ourselves and our experience as well as reaching out for support. Keep in mind that your experience is and will be unique to you. Your experience is valid. The key is to find healthy ways of being with our experience and sharing it with others, all the while taking responsibility for what we need.