How to Discuss Polyamory With Your Partner

How to Discuss Polyamory With Your Partner

By Rebecca, 05.09.2022

Polyamory can be a difficult subject to approach, especially if you are currently in a monogamous relationship.

Polyamory can be a difficult subject to approach, especially if you are currently in a monogamous relationship. First, you have to come to the realization that you are polyamorous, and then you have to discuss it with your partner. This can be scary for many reasons, including not wanting to hurt your partner. Often (not always) monogamous-inclined people do not understand what it means to be polyamorous and the negative connotations can be pretty hurtful. Even if someone does understand polyamory, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are okay with it for themselves. Discussing polyamory can be tough, so we put together a basic guide to help approach the subject.

1. Discuss It With Yourself

If you are going to discuss the idea of polyamory with your partner, then you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the topic. You need to do your research and attempt to understand exactly what the lifestyle entails. If you are bringing up this subject, then you need to be sure that the conversation is worth it. No matter what – whether you end up acting out polyamory or just discussing it – it will most likely change your relationship with your partner.

2. Decide Your Conditions

There is no one-way to be polyamorous, so you need to figure out what you are hoping to achieve by bringing up the topic. Is this something you want to explore together? Do you want to have a new non-sexual but emotionally attached partner? Do you want to sleep with many, many people? Do you want to keep your partners separate or aim to have everyone become friends? You need to figure out your ideal scenario – what you are going to be compromising and negotiating for. This will be easier to decide if you read articles and books directed towards the poly lifestyle, or if you can discuss the ideas with someone in your life that might already be poly.

3. Realize Where You Are Coming From

An important thing to note before having the initial discussion is that you and your partner are coming from different experiences. It is possible you have been struggling with this topic for years, but your partner has never considered it. That means that the entire idea of polyamory will be new to them. You are most likely dropping big news onto your partner, so you need to be patient, understanding and gentle.

4. Make It Comfortable

As the person who is bringing up the topic of polyamory, you need to do everything in your power to make your partner feel secure in your relationship. Make sure that you find a time where your partner feels comfortable and you won’t be interrupted. You need to start the discussion with the intent to understand your partner instead of having your partner understand you or even understand polyamory. You need to avoid reacting badly or defensively. You need to be willing to hear their thoughts and fears, watch them cry and still be there to support them. You need to show that you love and care for your partner.

5. Start Slow

This will be the first of many conversations. Do not expect your partner to accept it right away. You can start off by saying that you’ve read about the poly lifestyle and it might be something you are interested in exploring together. Emphasize that it is something you want to figure out with your partner. Ensure that they understand that you are not trying to leave them or that you love them less.  In fact, you can tell them that you love them even more for having this conversation with you without judgment. Do not start with the fact that you want to experiment right away. The first conversation is just talking about what polyamory means and bringing up the subject. Talking about it and rushing your partner to act on it are two very different things. These conversations might last for months or years before you are both comfortable enough to explore polyamory. Whatever you do, do not pressure your partner and do not rush any decision-making.

6. Compromise

If your partner decides that they are okay with you being polyamorous but they want to remain monogamous, then there obviously needs to be some compromising on your end. You are asking your partner to accept your polyamory, so you need to accept that they will have some needs. In order to keep the trust, make sure that you can actually uphold anything you agree to.

If your partner decides that they also want to be polyamorous, then you need to discuss your personal definitions of polyamory. They will probably be different and you might still need to compromise. If your partner is not accepting of your polyamory, then that is an entirely different conversation to be had. Either you compromise yourself and stay monogamous, or you realize that this particular relationship won’t work for you.

If you’re hoping to bring up polyamory with your partner, use this little guide as a starting point but make sure you look up other sources to help guide the conversation. Really, it is all about communication and trust, just like any type of relationship should be.

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