When it comes to love, most of us are looking for the same things: we want to feel a genuine connection with another human being. We want to feel excited, turned on, safe and content.
Some people can find all this in a traditional monogamous relationship while others find it more easily in a polyamorous one. A polyamorous relationship is one where the people in that relationship agree that it is okay for everyone to have multiple romantic partners. These relationships aren’t just about sex; they are about building a genuine, romantic relationship with more than one person at a time.
As you can imagine, polyamorous relationships can be incredibly fulfilling and exciting to many people. But if you are new to the specific dynamics, they can also be a bit tricky to navigate.
Being in a relationship with one other person can be complicated enough, but add more people into the mix and you suddenly have a TV sitcom where all of you wonder who’s going to sleep where, who’s responsible for food shopping, who cleans the litter boxes and how are you going to remember everyone’s commitment’s and engagements?
Here’s what I can tell you: There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to navigating polyamorous relationships, just as there isn’t for navigating monogamous ones. Having said that, there are some tips that might help you keep your relationship a lighthearted sitcom instead of allowing it turn into an HBO drama!
Let’s face it, it’s often hard enough to find enough time in our day to spend with just one person. How the heck do you manage your days so you can spend quality time with more than one person?
In my experience, time management becomes a whole lot easier when everyone, partners and partners of partners, get along with one another. While you will certainly want to have some “alone time” with your romantic partners, it will make your life much simpler if everyone can get together and enjoy each other’s company at the same time.
For instance, you might all enjoy having “movie night” together or going out to dinner together once a week. My clients and I have found that the most successful polyamorous relationships are those where everyone knows and appreciates that not all of the time you spend with someone will be one-on-one time. And to be honest, polyamorous relationships is a great way to make new friends! (And as an added bonus, there’s always someone to drive you to the airport).
It might be that all of you don’t live under the same roof and you have one-on-one time at someone’s apartment or home. But there are those groups that do choose to live under the same roof. How do you make this work?
One of the easiest ways to handle this is to make sure everyone has their own bedroom, so everyone has privacy when needed. Depending on how large your group is, it may sometimes be hard to find a home with enough bedrooms.
There are those situations where the people feel comfortable, and quite happy, sharing the same “master bedroom.” Every adult in the relationship can either have their own bed in that room, or you can squeeze 3 or 4 of you into one large bed. In this scenario, it’s then a good idea to have the guest room in the house be used for those times when people need their alone time, or if they have a restless night and don’t want to impact other’s sleep schedule.
And finally, if your family group is made up of distinct couples, then you can easily have couple bedrooms in your house. This may make it easier finding a place with enough bedrooms if everyone doesn’t have to have their own.
Make a Chore Chart
Being in a polyamorous relationship with everyone living under the same roof is not all that different than living in your home growing up. Well, okay, it’s a little different. But I mean, there will be chores that need to be done to maintain the living space.
Don’t be vague about this. Sit down with everyone and decide who is going to do what, then write up a chart so everyone knows from week to week what they are responsible for. Trust me, this will make your life easier!
This is probably the single most important factor. Some tips that can assist polyamorous relationships is not to assume, be honest, be open, and be willing to productively address issues as soon as they come up. A tactic that has shown to be have significant importance is scheduling a “CEO Meeting”. This is where once a week all members in the relationship come together and can share successes they had in lives, challenges, and make requests for additional support. And sometimes it’s just a great way to organize the dreaded grocery list or chore chart!
For some people, polyamorous relationships are the ideal situation. But know going in that you will need to navigate some new waters. But if you follow these tips, it should be smooth sailing!