Even with much knowledge and practice with polyamory and multiple relationships, you will likely face major challenges and unforeseen growth opportunities along the way. I’m sure you already have! These may show up early on if you’re opening up an existing relationship, during the dating process, or later on in established polyam relationships. The issues you encounter may be more individual and specific to you or may reflect unhealthy relationship dynamics, even to the point of abuse.
Similar to non-monogamy generally, multiple romantic relationships can stir up all kinds of emotions. Monogamous friends or family, unless they’re open-minded, may judge or minimize your experiences. Within your polyam community, you may worry about your privacy. That’s an opportune moment to seek support out externally from a relationship professional.
Here are some of common reasons to come in for professional support:
- Navigate the turbulent waters of opening or closing an existing relationship
- Bring compassion to vulnerable points of insecurity that fuel jealousy
- Learn and practice communication that speaks your truth compassionately, nonviolently, and with strength.
- Set boundaries and create agreements that work for you, your partners, and your metamours (and work through disputes about them)
- Children and families – Process how much to share, when, how, and making sure roles and responsibilities for parenting are clear
As you might imagine, there are no cookie-cutter approaches and often no quick and easy answers. Your relationship(s) are unique and my role above-all would be to provide a safe holding space to share vulnerability, process decisions, and level up your skills for healthy relationships.
Resilient Polyamorous Relationships
Core to my philosophy in helping others with their relationships is fostering a sense of resilience. To keep it simple, resilience is your ability to bounce back from difficult experiences. This can be nurtured (i.e. not a trait you either have or don’t). Thus, you don’t have to pretend to be that ‘perfect’ poly person who is impervious to jealousy, communicates perfectly, never bends/oversteps a boundary, etc. However, with a strong sense of self, tools and strategies to navigate trying times, and mindfulness to act ethically with your partners and metamours, you CAN find greater ease and fulfillment whether in a relationship or not.
What about Polyfidelity?
As the name suggests, polyfidelity is a closed form of polyamory. Often this shows up in the form of triads and quads where relationships do not extend beyond that structure (i.e. closed polycule). Because of that fidelity, some of the issues faced can be similar to those faced by monogamous or polyamorous individuals. If you’re in this relationship structure, you may seek support to:
- Feel valued with equal voice as a new partner to an established couple
- Clarify boundaries – does everyone have the same concept of fidelity?
- Recover from affairs or agreement violations
- Open or close the polycule (loosening fidelity requirements or perhaps returning to couplehood)
- Process thorny decisions like fluid bonding, cohabitation, having kids, etc.
What about Asexual Relationships?
Asexual (or ace) individuals can be monogamous or polyamorous. In polyamorous relationships, ace epitomizes how “it’s not all about the sex!” Within polyamory, such relationships will focus more on a strong romantic love bond but not have the sexual desire/activity. Of course, this orientation can also overlap with other identities such as lesbian, gay or transgender. Ace folx, could you use a safe place to process the following?
- Stigma and isolation (often more than non-monogamous individuals face)
- Lack of acceptance by a partner (boundary-pushing or coercion)
- Difficulty finding other truly asexual partners
I’d be glad to hold space for you in your polyamorous journey. You don’t have to face this alone! Let’s talk!
Reach Out for Support
My confidential therapy offers a unique place to grow and heal, addressing polyamorous lifestyle challenges and any mental health concerns that might dovetail together. Ready to get started?