Making Polyamorous Relationships Work

The Secret To Making Polyamorous Relationships Work, brought to you by a Philadelphian sex therapist:  There are three essential components to making a polyamorous relationship work: trust, honesty, and open communication. These three characteristics are significantly interconnected. If one facet is missing then it can potentially cause an imbalance or even a break within the relationship.

 Trust: Security in a relationship is based heavily on trust. How can your partner trust you if you lie, are dishonest, or not direct? When more than one person is involved romantically, sexually, or emotionally, it can be easy at times to spend more time or energy on one partner, while unintentionally neglecting the other person(s). This is when mistrust or insecurity begins to surface. It is so important to make sure each person, especially the primary partner feels valued, is not neglected, and his or her needs are met. This is a crucial way of enhancing the level of trust within the relationship.

Honesty: Even though it may seem strange, the key to a healthy, polyamorous relationship is being not only honest, but forthright with your partner about everything. For example, it is up to you to share with your partner how many people you are sleeping with, what your needs are, how emotionally or sexually satisfied you within the relationship, and what your boundaries are. Waiting to be asked is not appropriate. Furthermore, deceiving or going behind your partner’s back will most likely ensure your relationship to fail. If you are unable to be honest and straightforward with your partner then polyamory will not work and may be not be an ideal lifestyle for you. Lying or withholding information from your partner creates a barrier which can lead to deception or betrayal, or even lead to acts of infidelity.

Open Communication: One of the ways polyamorous couples maintain a successful relationship is by keeping the lines of communication open and talk about everything. Ideally, no issue should be avoided or taboo. In actuality, one of the reasons why ground rules are established is so partners can discuss in detail about what is acceptable, what is frowned upon, and what are the deal-breakers. As the couple’s relationship or any subsequent relationship develops, it may be helpful for the couple to revisit these rules from time to time and make revisions when necessary. If individuals or couples are unable to adhere to the set guidelines, then a poly relationship will not work.  We strongly encourage establishing weekly or monthly “check ins” with your partner(s) to process how each person is feeling in the relationship.  What is going well? What is not going well? What would each person like to be getting out of the relationship? Etc.

In summary the secret to making a polyamorous relationship work is trust, honesty and open communication.

This tip was developed for the Center for Growth / Sex Therapy in Philadelphia. If you and your partner(s) are struggling and would like help, call today to speak with one of our relationship counselors.