Being polyamorous can be a very rewarding relationship choice, but there are difficulties that come along with it which I feel are often overlooked by those first venturing onto this path. It’s not just new folks who overlook or forget these things, though. We veterans sometimes forget the difficulties we can face as well. Since I have a platform to be able to speak on those concerns, today I have opted to address them rather than my usual More Than Two’s Day post.
It’s not a Buffet
Many step onto this path thinking something along the lines of “I’ll be with him, and her, and that person over there, and it will all be wonderful.” This is very rarely, if ever, the case. Very frequently, we make connections or develop crushes on those who are not at all comfortable with many aspects of polyamory. Perhaps they are monogamous and cannot fathom sharing or (in their mind) stealing a partner. Maybe that crush you have despises your other partner or partners. Maybe they are poly-friendly and willing to see the connection to a certain point without letting their hearts get involved when you want more.
If you are a member of the BDSM community and poly, this becomes even more of a difficulty, especially if you are a submissive. It can be troublesome to find those who are willing to even try to share their power exchange partner with others.
You cannot make others be a part of your polycule just because you find yourself attracted to them. We often cannot choose the people we develop feelings for, but as ethical polyamorists and just decent human beings, we also cannot coerce others into our relationships. This brings a lot of unrequited emotions into the mix that we must figure out how to deal with in a healthy manner. But no one said that playing fair was easy.
It’s not Always Comfortable
“You can’t choose how you feel about something, but you can choose what you do about it.” I can’t recall where I heard that quote or to whom it is attributed, but as a polyamorist, I am always aware of it. It’s a reminder to mind my behavior.
Polyamorous people experience all the same fears and doubts that monogamous people do. We get insecure and fearful. We get jealous and angry. We get hurt and frustrated. Sometimes far more than might happen if were we wired for any other relationship style. Choosing to be polyamorous doesn’t make those issues magically disappear. Your partner may have another partner you can’t stand, or you may be stuck in the middle of two partners who dislike each other. You may find that your partner spends just a little more time with another partner than with you. There are a million ways that these emotions can come about.
However, what we can get away with under the guise of passion in a monogamous world will not work in a polyamorous relationship. It does nothing but cause damage to get worked up into a screaming match or to make demands on another person’s emotions. We have to learn to feel the anger and fear and communicate openly and fairly through it. Many of us find it to be most uncomfortable to look at ourselves with such scrutiny and really dig into what is causing the negative emotions that make us want to scream and demand things from our partners. Yet we must if we want to grow and continue along the path of polyamory and find that happy place in the sun that we dream of.
There are also instances when we develop a crush on someone not quite okay with the full extent of our relationships. How we handle that limerence is of some importance. That person might very well be able to give you that thing you have been longing for but is unwilling to cross into an intimate relationship with another person’s partner. I cannot tell you what an anxiety fest it is to be a grown person with a huge crush on someone in your sphere that you are unable to act on because of the boundaries set in place. Still, we can’t force that person to endure our exaltations at every turn when it crosses a boundary for them — even more so when a friend is the object of our desire.
Loneliness Still Happens!
Just because we have multiple partners does not mean we are never alone. We are not getting laid any more than any monogamous person on a regular basis, just hopping beds and cumming all over the place. Many times our partners are with other partners or traveling or live far away or day-to-day life interferes in some other way to leave us with an abundance of time on our hands. And might I add, a hefty bit of sexual frustration as well.
I have had the displeasure of fielding many an insult because I have not one but two Daddies and was looking for a play partner (whom I found, and he is wonderful!). But here is the reality folks: Daddy lives with me, but he also works a full-time job that is exhausting. He often comes home, eats dinner, and goes straight to bed. He spends as much time with me and his children as he can on the weekends but there are still only about 30 hours to work with there. Much of the Daddying is done by Drake, who lives 300 miles away and has his own full-time job and family to take up his time. Even now with a play partner added to the mix, I still have quite a bit of time on my own to fill. He has a life of his own, after all. I spend more time on my own than most monogamous people that I know.
This is the time many will use for self-care and hanging out with friends, but there is only so much of either that one can do before your friends remind you that they also have lives, and you are bored to death with your self-care methods. At this point, hobbies become a must, several if need be. To navigate the polyamory path, one really must be comfortable and content with one’s own company. When we are not is when those feelings of fear, doubt, jealousy, and insecurity sneak in and start to set up house. And in a poly world, they have a lot of ammo to toss at you and try to break you down.
At the End of the Day…
Polyamory isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are definitely things to consider when stepping on to this path. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is completely worth it if you are able to go with the flow. Love multiplies along this path and blossoms in wonderful, unexpected ways if you tread carefully and stick it out through the rough spots.
And as always, remember: This is your life; live it your way!