How to make polyamorous relationships work, according to a sexologist

Hint: It's much the same as a monogamous relationship

Rachel Hosie
Wednesday 01 November 2017 11:19

With increasing numbers of people expressing interest in polyamory, monogamy seems to be on the decline.

But while the idea of having multiple romantic partners at the same time might sound like an appealing prospect, in practice it can be messy.

Now, however, an expert has spoken out about what a polyamorous relationship needs to be successful.

The key factors? Communication and consent.

Essentially, before introducing a third person into what may have been a monogamous relationship between a couple, both people need to be sure they want to try it equally.

“A common misconception is that polyamorous relationships are about sex,” clinical sexologist and licensed therapist Rena McDaniel, MEd told Refinery29.

But that’s not the truth. Emotions and feelings play equally important parts.

Before testing the waters on polyamory, you need to make sure you’ve thoroughly discussed it with your partner - it’s crucial that both parties clearly state their needs, boundaries and desires.

“Self-responsibility comes about not only when people consider what they want and ultimately choose polyamory, but in how they handle their relationships,” Elisabeth A. Sheff, PhD, wrote last month in Psychology Today.

“Everyone has an ultimate personal responsibility in their relationships - monogamous, polyamorous, or otherwise. Making choices and living with the consequences is part of being self-responsible.”

Much like in a traditional monogamous relationship, it’s important that polyamorous people also regularly check in with their partners, asking them how they’re feeling and whether they have any concerns about the relationship.

A polyamorous relationship needn’t be destined to fail. But it’s more likely to be successful if it’s treated with as much care as most people treat monogamous relationships.

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