What do you do if you start dating a new boyfriend and he suggests that he wants to have a polyamorous relationship? You may have a thousand questions running through your head like, what does polyamorous mean. What are the risks? Why would he even want something like that?
An open relationship is where a committed couple decides to have sexual experiences with other people. With polyamory, you may have multiple partners simultaneously.
Meaning a person who is polyamorous is dating more than one person, not just having sex with other people.
Sex does not have to be the focus of polyamory
It can be engaging in the emotional, romantic or intimate aspects of loving another person. There is an emphasis on open communication and individually stated boundaries.
But because of the complex nature of human emotion, this dynamic can put a vulnerable person in danger of being exploited. If communication is not clear, upfront and honest, there may be painful misunderstandings.
Although polyamory is not associated with sex addictions, someone who is struggling with sexual addiction may be drawn to a polyamorous lifestyle.
If this is the case, there is a higher risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Some people argue that there is an evolutionary benefit to having more than one partner for males and females and that our pheromones suggest that is natural for humans.
Polyamory can be a way to discover different ways of experiencing love
Ideally, polyamory has the characteristics of being non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical. It can be choice made to combat social norms and discover different ways of experiencing love and intimacy.
If you are comfortable with your partner loving and engaging romantically with another person and wish to explore those things yourself, polyamory may be a right decision for you.
Polyamory may bring some additional difficulties in a relationship
If you or your partner are currently unhealthy emotionally or struggling with mental illness. Polyamory may present some additional difficulties. Learning to identify emotional manipulation or abuse is essential for everybody, but especially important if your partner is pressuring you on your decision.
Many women and men experience at some point in their life dating abuse, so protect yourself by exploring common signs of emotional or psychological manipulation and decide if going into a polyamorous relationship may further complicate or exacerbate these issues.
An increased risk of contracting an STD
One of the significant risks in polyamory, or any circumstance where you have multiple sexual partners, is the increased risk of contracting an STD.
You should be careful always to use protection and that you and your partner take it very seriously.
If you or your partner tends to forget to be cautious in the heat of the moment, be sure always to have condoms available.
You may also want to have routine blood tests for STD infections so that in the event you do contract something you can get the medical attention you need quickly. STD’s like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and HIV are prevalent, and anyone can have it. They may or may not even be aware they are carrying it.
Another aspect that may be emotionally stressful is the cycle of having to get retested and waiting to find out the results. If you’re someone who is prone to anxiety or depression, this may be a deal breaker for you if the idea of having to get tested every month or even every other week is too much.
Polyamory is not for everyone, make a healthy decision
Polyamory is not for everyone but could bring you both fulfilment in exploring intimacy and love in an unconventional way.
On the other hand, if you feel pressured to accept polyamory at the threat of being abandoned or are afraid of emotional or verbal abuse being the consequence of being no, then these are red flags.
If your partner is set on the decision to try, but you’re not convinced, continue to research and communicate about the topic.
Let them know you need more time to think about it, if they are respecting your boundaries and not emotionally abusive, that answer should be accepted. There are risks associated with having multiple sexual partners, and the emotional trauma could take a considerable toll.
Learn what you can to stay safe and make healthy decisions for you.