Polyamory is a format in which a person builds equal relationships with several people at the same time. This format does not imply any fundamental differences from monogamy, but for obvious reasons in this environment it is customary to talk a lot about feelings. Like any other relationship, polyamorous requires mutual commitment, honesty and concern for the comfort of all participants and participants. We asked polyamorous people about how they build relationships and collected some tips.
Text: Al Kowalski
Speak the format of the relationship right from the start
Polyamory is a format that includes several partners or partners at the same time. It can be both romantic or sexual relationships, and queerplatonic relationships, without physical attraction. In addition to polyamory itself, there are other formats that are close to it - for example, open relationships or anarchy of relationships. Since each person puts something of his own into these concepts, it is important to talk it over with specific partners and affiliates.
“For me, polyamory and anarchy of relationships are part of an open relationship, part of one whole,” comments Alina, author of the Alinamoria telegram channel. She understands open relationships as an umbrella, more general term. Gender researcher Bella Rapoport draws the line between open relationships and polyamory by the presence or absence of hierarchy: according to the expert, in the first case, there is a couple in which people remain the main partners or partners for each other. Sex blogger Terin adheres to a similar position, but for him an open relationship is not associated with love attachment to additional partners.
The supporters of anarchy of relations basically refuse any labels and hierarchy. In this case, there may be no clear boundaries between romantic, friendly and other relationships - they will all be on an equal footing. The partnership here does not always involve romantic attraction, and falling in love with a friend does not mean the destruction of a friendship.
Estimate your resources
The number of partners and partners depends on how many people a person has the strength and time for. “For me, polyamory is an opportunity to receive more and give more love. Someone has a resource for one person, someone has a resource for several people. This is a normal thing,”says sex blogger Terin. His polycula (a group of people connected by relationships. - Ed.) Includes seven people, they all know each other, are in romantic and friendly relationships. They can also have other partners or partners along the way.
For some, the maximum is two or three people. “If you can't cope with one relationship, you don't have to start another ten,” says Bella Rapoport. - You need to understand that a relationship is not only support, cute, sex and something else, but also a bunch of resources. And if they are not enough even for one person, then ten more people should not be doing badly”.
She also emphasizes that a polyamorous person does not necessarily have or wants to have many relationships at the same time. During a specific period of time, he or she may practice monogamy or not have any romantic relationships at all. The persona will not cease to be polyamorous from this - she can change the formats of relations depending on the resources and needs at a particular moment.
Discuss what is happening regularly
One of the main rules of ethical polyamory, as in any other relationship, is the ability and willingness to speak "with words through the mouth." Speech about processing - this is the name of the process when participants and participants in a relationship discuss feelings, emotions and reactions to different situations. This also applies to enunciating personal boundaries. Processing helps to understand how the relationship works in each specific case.
“The simplest example is when a partner goes on a date with someone or his feelings for another person flare up, and a storm of emotions begins to tear you apart. Because we live in a mono-normative environment, there are feelings of possessiveness and jealousy, with which it is not clear what to do,”says Alina from Alinamoria.
The concept of processing is applicable not only to polyamorous, but also to monogamous and friendly relationships, but it is more often used in a polyamorous environment. Often people come to this format for a reason, and they have an intention from the very beginning to discuss what is happening.
Alina believes that polyamorous people do not have ready-made solutions and templates and they have to create their own rules. Someone needs to know a minimum of information about how and with whom the other person spends time. It is important for someone to understand what a partner or affiliate feels about other people and how it works for him or her. This allows you to figure out what a person wants, why relationships alone are not enough for him. It is better to say almost every little thing - for others it may turn out to be significant or not obvious.
Work with your own emotions
A comfortable polyamorous relationship is also based on the analysis of one's own emotions, says Bella Rapoport. This saves partners and partners from unnecessary work. “It's not about never getting angry. No, it's okay to be angry. But it is important to work on understanding what is happening to you and to be able to discuss it,”says the gender researcher.
Understanding yourself makes it easier to interact with people, helps you cope with crisis situations and resolve conflicts faster. To better understand partners, it is worth learning about their mental characteristics, for example, increased anxiety, a predisposition to depression, or autistic traits that affect communication and how a person perceives information.
Make a schedule
Polyamorous people can have a schedule with appointments and plans with affiliates and partners. Someone does not need this (for example, if they are in a relationship with a small number of people or do not see each other very often), others do it all the time. This is also useful when the participants and participants of the polycle live in different places, which complicates communication.
“It could be a family chat where you talk about times and appointments. You can throw off funny pictures, make a request that one of the partners is needed then. Some of my friends do google-dock, where they indicate when someone has free time so that everyone can get together. Or that one person with another went somewhere. Such is the communication, time management, "- sex blogger Terin shares his experience.
Be mindful of personal boundaries and your needs
To build personal boundaries, you need, firstly, to be aware of them, and secondly, not to be afraid to communicate them. “You can say that you are not in the resource now and you want to be alone. Or not communicate with anyone at all. Or that now you need the attention of a specific person,”says the author of the Alinamoria telegram channel. Other polyamorous experts and experts adhere to the same position.
It is also important to understand the area of one's own responsibility - for example, if people repeatedly refuse to respect a person's personal boundaries, this is already beyond it. Even in polyamory, not everyone knows how to effectively process relationships. Some may transfer patterns of toxic monogamy there, in which one of the partners or partners can suppress their desires for the sake of another person.
“In a monogamous relationship, I had problems with personal boundaries. There, unfortunately, there was a very strong cult of jealousy and possessiveness, when a person literally furniture. If anything, I'm not saying monogamous relationships are bad. They are also wonderful, if they are not toxic and if there is no such possessiveness, when a person belongs only to you and everything,”says Terin.
Pause if needed
As with any relationship, burnout can occur from polyamory. The reasons for it are not necessarily the presence of several partners or partners. Fatigue can also be affected by other external factors: problems at work, school and the presence of mental disorders or chronic diseases, especially the person himself.
“Now I do not want any relationship, because I am exhausted from falling in love. I do not want to build relationships with anyone, not to get to know anyone, not to get to know anyone, not to talk about myself, or to work on boundaries. Perhaps I will rest and want again, but now I am completely burnt out,”says Bella Rapoport. There is no universal advice on how to avoid this - except perhaps a recommendation to contact a specialist psychotherapist. However, in any relationship, you need to remember first of all about yourself and, if necessary, pause to replenish your own resources.
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