For those of you who aren’t familiar with the polyamorous lifestyle, ‘poly’, from Greek, means many, and ‘amorous’ refers to love. So a polyamorous relationship is one where both partners have agreed to have other sexual and romantic partners.
You might be wondering how a polyamorous relationship differs from extramarital affairs or cheating on your partner.
The biggest difference between those situations and a polyamorous relationship is that in the latter, there are no secrets. No hiding your trysts from your partner, no sneaking around behind their back to meet up with your “little something on the side.”
It may sound like these types of relationships are the epitome of freedom and free will but there are multiple challenges involved for those involved in such an equation. Let’s read about polyamorous relationship rules and challenges in detail.
What is a polyamorous relationship?
So, here is a more detailed definition. Polyamorous relationships are consensual non-monogamous arrangements where individuals have multiple romantic and/or sexual partners simultaneously, with the knowledge and consent of all parties involved.
Unlike traditional monogamous relationships, polyamory recognizes the possibility of loving and being committed to more than one person at a time. Polyamorous relationships prioritize open and honest communication, mutual respect, and consent among all parties involved.
This lifestyle choice requires a great deal of emotional maturity, self-awareness, and the ability to manage jealousy and other complex emotions.
10 polyamorous relationship rules according to experts
Polyamorous relationships are becoming increasingly popular and more widely accepted as valid lifestyle choices. However, navigating these relationships can be challenging and requires open communication, honesty, and a willingness to respect the boundaries of all parties involved.
To help make polyamory work, here are ten polyamorous relationship rules that experts recommend.
Communicate openly and honestly
Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and polyamorous relationships are no exception. All partners must be willing to share their feelings, thoughts, and needs openly and honestly. This communication should be ongoing and include discussions about boundaries, expectations, and goals for the relationship.
Related Reading: Open Communication In a Relationship: How to Make it Work
Respect the boundaries of all parties
Each partner in a polyamorous relationship will have different boundaries, needs, and expectations. It is essential to respect these boundaries as polyamorous relationship rules and ensure that all parties feel comfortable and safe in the relationship.
It is also important to understand that boundaries can change over time and to be open to renegotiating them as needed.
Practice safe sex
In a polyamorous relationship, individuals may have sexual relationships with multiple partners. It is important to practice safe sex and follow all polyamorous relationship rules to protect yourself and your partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This includes using condoms and getting regular STI tests.
Take responsibility for your own emotions
How to be in a poly relationship? Be in charge of how you feel.
Polyamorous relationships can be challenging emotionally, and it is essential to take responsibility for your own emotions. This means understanding and managing your own jealousy, insecurity, and other complex feelings.
It is also important to recognize that your emotions are your own and should not be used to control or manipulate others.
Be honest about your intentions
Honesty is crucial in polyamorous relationships, and it is essential to be clear about your intentions from the beginning. If you are not interested in a long-term commitment, it is important to communicate this with your partners.
If you are looking for a primary partner, it is also important to be clear about this and ensure that all parties are on the same page. It is one of the most important polyamorous relationship rules.
When talking about the rules of polyamory, this one is crucial.
In some polyamorous relationships, individuals may have primary partners and secondary partners. While this may work for some relationships, it is important to avoid creating a hierarchy that prioritizes one partner over another. All partners should be treated equally, and their needs and boundaries should be respected.
Practice ethical non-monogamy
Polyamorous relationships are consensual and ethically non-monogamous relationships. This means that all parties involved should be aware of and agree to the relationship arrangement. It is important to avoid cheating or engaging in non-consensual non-monogamy, which can cause harm to all parties involved.
Be open to growth and change
Polyamorous dating rules call for constant development. Such relationships can be dynamic and change over time. It is important to be open to growth and change and to be willing to adapt to the needs and boundaries of all parties involved. This may require ongoing communication and renegotiation of boundaries.
Related Reading: 10 Opportunities for Relationship Growth
Privacy is essential in any relationship, including all successful polyamorous relationships. It is important to respect the privacy of all parties involved and to avoid sharing private information or details about the relationship without consent.
Polyamorous relationships can be challenging, and it is important to seek support when needed. This may include therapy, support groups, or seeking advice from other polyamorous individuals or communities.
It is also important to prioritize self-care and ensure that you are taking care of your own emotional and physical needs. Do not hesitate to seek out couples counseling if you feel it is getting overwhelming for you.
Starting a polyamorous relationship
Interested in trying this out?
A good place to start is by using one of the several dating platforms built to include polyamorous people, such as BiCupid.com, FetLife.com, Feeld.com, and Polyfinda.com. Tinder has a “seeking a third” section, OkCupid does as well.
Be upfront that you are polyamorous and seeking the same.
How to be polyamorous
Experienced polyamorous people will all tell you that you need to be very organized and fair while following polyamory rules and giving time to all your partners.
Make sure you can support their emotional, sexual, and social needs.
Just starting out? You may want to start slowly by adding only one additional partner to ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed.
How to deal with a polyamorous partner
Sometimes polyamorous people become involved with monogamous people and that can cause a hindrance while following polyamorous rules.
As long as everyone is honest about needs and expectations, these arrangements can work. If you are a monogamous person involved with a polyamorous partner, be sure, to be honest with yourself.
Check your level of jealousy, and talk about it if you find yourself resenting the time your partner is spending with other partners.
Are you happy? Are your needs being met? If so, this may be working for you. If not, don’t expect the polyamorous partner to change.
Related Reading: 8 Tips on Asking Your Partner for a Polyamorous Relationship
Polyamorous relationship problems
Polyamorous relationships have problems just like monogamous relationships.
Some are shared: disputes about whose turn it is to take the recycling to the curb, who isn’t pulling their weight with the household chores, and who forgot, once again, to put the toilet seat down.
But some are unique to the multiple-partner structure:
- It takes a lot of time and energy to be attentive to multiple partners
- There is no protective legal status for polyamorous relationships, unlike domestic partners. Should one partner leave the relationship or die, there are no rights for the other partner(s).
- Humans are human, and jealousy can occur.
- Boundaries need to be continually defined and redefined
Do polyamorous relationships last?
Just like any other type of relationship, the longevity of a polyamorous relationship depends on various factors, including communication, honesty, respect, and compatibility. Polyamorous relationships can last for years, just as monogamous relationships can.
However, they may also face unique challenges that require more effort to navigate successfully. Ultimately, the success of a polyamorous relationship depends on the individuals involved and their willingness to work together to build a strong, healthy, and fulfilling relationship.
Commonly asked questions
Let’s take a look at some more questions and their answers dealing with the topic of polyamorous relationship rules and challenges that might come in handy for you.
What are some healthy boundaries for a polyamorous relationship?
Healthy boundaries for a polyamorous relationship may include clear communication, mutual respect, practicing safe sex, respecting privacy, avoiding hierarchy, and being honest about intentions.
It is also important to respect the boundaries and needs of all partners involved and to be open to renegotiating boundaries as needed. Each partner may have different boundaries, and it is important to respect and honor them.
Toxic polyamory can be defined as a form of non-monogamy that involves unhealthy and harmful behaviors, such as controlling, manipulating, and pressuring partners to conform to certain expectations.
It can also involve dishonesty, lack of respect, and a disregard for the boundaries and needs of others. Toxic polyamory can cause emotional and psychological harm to all parties involved and should be avoided in any relationship.
Be careful and you will navigate through it
Polyamorous relationships can be rewarding and fulfilling for all parties involved when they are based on open communication, honesty, respect, and ethical non-monogamy. By following the polyamorous relationship rules mentioned in this article, individuals can navigate these relationships successfully and build long-lasting connections with multiple partners.