There’s no “one way” to do polyamory
Your journey and your poly experience will be unique to you and those you choose to be in a relationship with. There may be some similarities; however, how you handle what comes up, and the choices you make along the way, will be unique to you and your situation.
There’s no “one way” to describe who you are and what you are doing
The concept of polyamory and ethical non-monogamy is becoming more common. More people are interested in exploring the lifestyle and what it has to offer. Ethical non-monogamy can be presented in a variety of ways, and a variety of terms are often used interchangeably; open relationship, polyamory, monogamish, relationship anarchy, to name a few. People tend to gravitate to a specific identity in order to relate with other people. This is a natural part of being human. That said, it’s important to consider other people’s viewpoints and perspectives on how they view what they are doing. Many people are doing the same (or similar things), and they use a different term to describe what they do. Some people firmly attach to a label and judge others based on their label. It’s worth considering (and rejecting) all labels in general. Offer information, and ask questions, in service of understanding who someone is and where they are coming from. You’d be surprised how liberating it is to free oneself of attachment to identity.
Be prepared for growth on all fronts
Living and practicing a polyamorous lifestyle is an invitation (practically a requirement) to show up. Open relationships and polyamory will uncover parts of yourself you never thought possible. In order to thrive in this way of living and loving, you will face your fears, face your shadow, and learn to speak up. You will find and express your true authentic nature, familiarize yourself with what it’s like to be vulnerable, to be real, and so much more! It’s amazing how much personal growth is possible as a result of living this way. The phrase “know thyself” is one of the treasures a polyamorous lifestyle has to offer. It isn’t always easy; and for me, it continues to be the most liberating aspect of being alive.
Communication is essential
Your willingness and ability to communicate effectively, clearly, and openly will make or break your experience. It is crucial that all parties involved practice being open and transparent with their experience, their desires, their feelings, and their actions. Learning to communicate in ways that respect yourself and others is a lifelong endeavor. There are lots of resources out there. It is incredibly important to seek out what is needed and to empower yourself, your relationships, and your community with effective, compassionate communication.
It’s okay to have feelings
Feelings are a natural part of being human; they come and they go just like a cloud passing through a clear blue sky. Some feelings are easier to be with than others. Jealousy gets a bad wrap in polyamorous relationships. Jealousy is a normal human emotion. Rather than judge the emotion, or judge the person who is experiencing it, ask a question: “I see you’re having a reaction to something. Can you tell me more?” Learning to be with someone’s emotion, without taking it on, and without fixing it, is an essential skill in poly relationships.
You are not alone
The polyamory community is growing rapidly. Resources are available online, in bookstores, on social media, in-person meet-ups, etc. If you are considering a polyamorous lifestyle, educate yourself, ask questions, and reach out to others who can offer their perspective and support. It’s an amazing journey. Share it with others.
Enjoy the ride!
Choosing to live in an open lifestyle, and taking the steps to do so in a healthy way, will open the door to a sea of possibilities – some sexual, some not. You will have opportunities to explore new territory, face challenges, learn valuable lessons, and discover what’s most important to you, your relationships, and your life.