Polyamory is a term we’re becoming more familiar with as the exploration of different relationship dynamics and structures increases.
Perhaps a polyamorous relationship is something you want to try, or maybe you’re already in one and need some advice or guidance on how to make it work. Either way, there are a few polyamorous relationship ‘rules’ that are important to know so you’re not overstepping any boundaries.
It’s completely normal for things to take a little bit of time to navigate – especially if this is your first time in a relationship with multiple partners! Understanding what you can and can’t do in a polyamorous relationship can be the difference between an amazing experience and one you’d rather forget.
So, let’s get into the essential polyamorous relationship ‘rules’ you should follow to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy.
Understand Exactly What a Polyamorous Relationship Is
Polyamory, consensual non-monogamy, open relationships… Nowadays, there are so many different types of romantic arrangements out there that keeping up with all the different terms can sometimes be difficult.
So, let’s start from the very beginning. What exactly is polyamory?
A 2018 study by euroClinix surveying 2000 UK adults found that 19% of those answering identified as polyamorous.Glasgow Guardian
Polyamorous people believe it’s natural to have romantic feelings for more than one person at the same time. As such, they tend to develop relationships allowing them, and all the people involved, to form romantic bonds with several partners.
Differences Between Other Types of Poly Relationships
There are several types of polyamory relationships out there. These are some of the most common ones:
What Polyamorous Relationship ‘Rules’ Do I Need To Know?
Polyamory doesn’t come with a predefined set of boundaries you are supposed to follow. This means it’s up to you to build a fulfilling relationship with all your partners, making sure everyone feels valued and loved.
All polyamorous relationships are different, but there are a few boundaries that tend to apply to most of them. So, let’s analyse a few polyamory relationship rules together.
1. You Can Date As Many People As You Like
Polyamorous people are free to date as many partners as they like, provided that they are honest and respectful with everyone involved.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that some couples tend to have rules regarding how many people each person is allowed to date. This is mainly due to time limitations.
2. Establish Boundaries With Your Multiple Partners…
All polyamorous relationships are unique, so you will have to come up with a set of rules for each one of them.
Common ones concern sexual safety (such as the use of condoms), certain limitations (such as avoiding dating your partner’s close friends or relatives), and technical issues (such as how much time to spend together).
3. …and Don’t Be Afraid to Uphold Them
It’s important to keep in mind that people change, and so do relationships.
Always check in with your partners, and don’t be afraid to change your boundaries if you think they are no longer needed or if extra limitations should be put in place.
Read these tips on how to set your relationship boundaries if you struggle to uphold them.
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
As with every relationship, communication is key, as emotions like jealousy, envy, and insecurities may come up. When this happens, always communicate those feelings to your partners, and don’t be afraid to ask for reassurance.
Remember, repressing your emotions and keeping everything inside is the perfect recipe for a disaster.
So What Should I Not Do in My Poly Relationship?
Great, you now know what you can do in a polyamorous arrangement. But are there things you should avoid? Definitely, yes!
1. Don’t Expect Your Partner to Be the Same as Other Partners
Doing mental comparisons is natural. Sometimes, they can even be healthy as they may help you improve one of your relationships by learning from another. However, expecting your partner to become a copy-paste of the person you are now dating is not healthy.
Avoid passive-aggressive behaviours, such as comments like ‘Mark would have never done that!’ and don’t expect your partner to change all of a sudden to please your new expectations.
2. Don’t Compete With Your Partners
Sometimes when our partner starts to date new people, we feel the urge to do the same. However, in these situations, it is important to first figure out the reasons that led us to such a choice.
Do you really think it is time to look for a new fulfilling connection, or are you just competing with your partner, trying to keep up with his/her dating habits? This will not only be detrimental for you but also for the people you will decide to date, so make sure to avoid it.
3. Make Sure You’re in it for the Right Reasons
Polyamory is not about satisfying your sexual pleasures while avoiding commitment. If this is the only reason you are into this type of arrangement, you got it all wrong.
Polyamory is about acknowledging that we can be in love with more than one person and creating deep romantic bonds with people while being respectful and honest with everyone involved.
Is it Difficult to Be in a Polyamorous Relationship?
For some people, it’s extremely easy and natural; for others, it can be a real challenge.
One thing for sure is that you will have to learn how to deal with jealousy and insecurities, something which can be extremely difficult but also incredibly rewarding. You will soon learn that despite the struggles, having a polyamorous relationship will teach you a lot about yourself.
Being the Third in a Polyamorous Relationship
Being the third in a polyamorous relationship can be a wonderful experience but also quite tough in some cases.
Make sure to discuss what type of arrangement you want to build and step away if you feel that someone involved doesn’t fully consent to the situation but agrees to it only for fear of losing their partner.
Summary: Polyamorous Relationship ‘Rules’ to Follow
Polyamorous relationships can be extremely fulfilling and liberating, allowing you to fully embrace your feelings for all the people you love. The key to success? Learn how to communicate properly, establish boundaries, and be respectful to everyone involved.
Check out the rest of our blog for more conversations and tips on all things relationships.