Someone recently asked me the following: “How do you ‘do’ polyamory?”
My response: “We make it up as we go along.”
I have come to believe the truth in this statement because there really is no one way to “do” polyamory. We can read books, articles, and blogs that specialize in non-monogamy, open relationship, and polyamory. We can listen to podcasts on polyamory and special interviews with people who specialize in open relationship coaching and offer polyamory coaching services. We can even watch videos, tv shows and movies where speakers share tips for polyamorous dating and poly lifestyles. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s easy to get lost in the sea of possibilities. I love that because I strongly believe polyamory is, and can be, what you want it to be for yourself and for your partners. And, a key part of my polyamorous coaching practice is to help people answer the question for themselves, “what exactly is polyamory?”
In my opinion, polyamory is an evolution of self, an evolution of a relationship, and an evolution of how individuals show up in the relationship with each other. As we venture out of monogamy and into non-monogamy and polyamorous relationships, we find ourselves confronted with all kinds of things, positive and negative. New experiences on the outside (relationships, dating, life events) breed new experiences on the inside (thoughts, feelings, stories, etc).
The best preparation for anyone who is interested in polyamory and polyamorous relationships is to know themselves. This is a key aspect of my work as a poly coach. When we know who we are, we begin to see what makes us happy. We are more in tune with what we want and we make choices that serve our highest intentions.
Here are a few tips to help you on your polyamorous journey:
In order for polyamory to work, we need to be honest with ourselves and with others. Being poly asks that we take a close look at where we are in our lives and in our relationships. We need to consider what we want in a relationship, what’s important to us, and what brings us joy. Some people like the security of monogamy, others like the freedom of polyamory. Both are valid. It really depends on what feels right. This is an individual choice, and that choice may change over time.
Polyamory is not for the quiet, shy, hidden, secretive types. A functional, sustainable polyamorous lifestyle asks, better yet requires, that we be open, honest and transparent about what we are doing and with whom. This is much different from the “don’t ask don’t tell” mindset. The way to create, nourish, and sustain any kind of relationship is to give oneself permission to ask and to give oneself permission to tell. This can be risky for some. We are programmed to question ourselves and to judge our experiences. In the face of difficult circumstances, it is often easier for people to shut down rather than to show up. Polyamory asks us to show up, communicate, listen, and support others in doing the same.
As challenging as it is at times, we have to own our experience and own our emotions. It’s okay to have feelings. Feelings are a normal part of being human. There’s no need to push them aside, pretend they are not there, or dump them on someone else. Taking responsibly for our experience allows us to create the experiences we want to have.
It’s all about choice. Polyamory will challenge our notion of what is right and what is wrong. This is good. It helps us choose our own path. Many people are raised to create a box, get in the box, stay in the box, and fear anything that’s outside of the box. It’s as if the box is in charge of us rather than the other way around. Polyamory empowers us to choose what kind of relationships we want to cultivate in our life. We always have a choice.
What about your experience? Where are you on your path? Are you curious about open relationships, polyamory, and ethical non-monogamy? Are you looking for support from an experienced Poly-Coach? Would you like to learn more about what makes polyamory work?