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Polyamory advice | Your big questions answered

From time to time, questions land in my inbox and DMs from people asking for polyamory advice. That’s not surprising, considering I write this blog which includes tips and recommendations for non-monogamous relationships. However, I’m not really in the position to give polyamory advice as I’m neither a relationship coach nor a therapist, and, trust me, my friends and exes would have a good giggle at the idea of me being considered a polyamory expert. 

What I am good at is pointing people in the direction of resources. You’ll be relieved to know that whatever way you’re struggling with polyamory, someone else has probably written a book or blog or created a podcast about it. So, below I’ve pulled together some of the most Googled questions about polyamory and provided resources that I would recommend checking out if you find yourself in these common predicaments.

Good luck, and remember: your feelings matter.

Am I polyamorous?

See also: is polyamory right for me, is an open relationship right for me, I want to be polyamorous, how to start a poly relationship, how to be in a polyamorous relationship.

So, you suspect you might not be monogamous, and you’re wondering what other options are out there and which one/s are suitable for you. Firstly, let me congratulate you on doing some research and self-reflection before just getting on the dating apps and blindly giving it a go.

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If you’re a book nerd, then an excellent place to start is by exploring some of the classic tomes of non-monogamy. It’s important to remember that non-monogamy isn’t meant to be prescriptive – there isn’t one right way to do it. So, it’s good to start from a place of self-determination rather than simply selecting another relationship model. 

These books won’t tell you if you are polyamorous or how to find a relationship like this. However, they will help you reflect on ideas around love, ownership/freedom, and our mononormative society, and hopefully, push you to dream big about how you want to have your relationships. 

Here are some excellent titles to try:

If you’re not much of a book person, don’t worry. Multiamory has a great podcast episode made for you called Are you ready to be polyamorous? which explores both sides of the coin to help you work out if this is something you both want and are in the best place for now. 

I don’t want to be polyamorous

See also: how to deal with a polyamorous partner, my boyfriend is polyamorous and I am not, poly under duress, my husband wants an open marriage and I don’t, poly mono marriage, poly mono jealousy.

So, you’ve just discovered that your monogamous partner doesn’t want to be monogamous anymore. Maybe you’re shocked. Perhaps you’re upset. Possibly you’re excited. Either way, you’ve probably ended up here because you’re trying to work out how this relationship can continue.

This is a question that gets answered on the Non-Monogamy Help quite regularly, so I recommend checking out their columns and podcast episodes, such as:

It is possible to have what is known as a ‘mono-poly’ relationship (where one partner prefers to be monogamous, and the other partner prefers to be polyamorous). Still, I think it is a lot to get your head around without having explored and understood what polyamory looks like in practice first. If you feel ready to dive into this specific relationship structure, then try these podcast episodes:

I’m polyamorous, but my partner isn’t

See also: I want an open relationship but he doesn’t, I want an open marriage my husband doesn’t, how to talk about polyamory, how to bring up polyamory, how to tell your partner you’re polyamorous, how to start a conversation about an open relationship.

So, you’re on the opposite side of the above problem. You’re pretty sure that you’re polyamorous, but also, you’re in a relationship with someone you suspect is strictly monogamous. I’ve been there, so I understand how emotionally tough this predicament is.

Again, this is a common question on Non-Monogamy Help, so I recommend checking out some of their columns and podcast episodes, like:

It would be best to talk to your partner about your feelings around relationships. This conversation can be pretty scary, particularly if you feel it could cause you to break up. I recommend spending some time reading, listening to podcasts (see above) and doing some deep thinking to understand what you want. More precisely, how that may differ from your current relationship because this is the main question your partner will have, so best to have some kind of answer prepared, even if it isn’t a definitive one.

I also think it’s best not to surprise them with this conversation. Don’t suddenly bring it up in the supermarket queue or in the car on the way to visit their parents. I recommend letting your partner know that you have something you would like to share with them and making time on an easy-going, not so busy day so that you can both make space to talk about it and have some processing time afterwards.

There are surprisingly few resources for how to have this first conversation (if you know some, give me a shout in the comment section below, and I’ll add them!), so here are some of my recommendations:

  • Be as straightforward as possible about what you want.
  • Don’t expect this one conversation to mean that your relationship is instantly open. Make it the starting point for you to start feeling your way through this process together.
  • Give reassurances that you love your partner and wish to continue having a relationship with them, even if it isn’t a monogamous one.
  • Make space for them to be shocked or upset and to need time to process.
  • Have one or two resources (a book, podcast episode or blog post) that you can share to help them understand what you want your relationships to look like. I suggest that it be introductory and ideally quite gentle in its tone, such as Ruby Rare’s podcast episode about non-monogamy.

Once you’ve had this first conversation (of many) about polyamory with your partner, I recommend listening to Multiamory’s podcast episode Helping Your Partner Open Up to understand how to navigate this ongoing process with them.

Polyamory advice - you are going to be fine CREDIT chris wormhoudt-unsplash

How to open up a relationship

See also: how to transition from monogamy to polyamory, adding polyamory to marriage.

So, you and your partner want to explore polyamory and open up your currently monogamous relationship. How exciting! Before you both go jumping on the dating apps, I strongly recommend working on yourself and your relationship first. Otherwise, you will bring some seriously bad dating karma on yourself if you thoughtlessly engage with other people’s emotions without having explored your own.

Self-confessed ‘relationship geek’ David Bombaça (who wrote my guide to polyamory books) recommends exploring your desire to open up your relationship by reading Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity. If you read this and both still feel non-monogamy is what you want, he recommends reading Kathy Labriola’s Love in Abundance: A Counselor’s Guide to Open Relationships to prepare you both for the journey ahead.

Some other good advice for polyamory newbies can be found here:

Being the third in a polyamorous relationship

See also: throuple advice, triad relationship advice, being the third person in an open relationship. 

So, you’re thinking about dating a couple – or you are a couple thinking about ‘adding a third’. Triad relationships (also known by the cringe-inducing term ‘throuple’) are a common topic for people seeking polyamory advice. The thing is, triads are a notoriously tricky structure to navigate, so it’s like jumping into the deep end of polyamory before you’ve learnt to swim. Or, as Ready of Polyamory calls it, Relationships on Hard Mode.

Triads are an area of polyamory I have zero experience in, so here are a bunch of good resources to explore if you are considering being in a triad relationship:

Dealing with jealousy in polyamory

See also: polyamory and jealousy, jealousy in open relationships. 

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So, you’ve suddenly been hit by a wave of jealousy. Or, you’re worried about trying non-monogamy because you fear feeling it. Here is another area of polyamory advice where there are plenty of resources for you to explore.

Firstly, I recommend getting nerdy and listening to these Multiamory podcast episodes so you can explore what jealousy is and how to navigate it in your relationships:

Another helpful resource with sound strategies for dealing with jealousy is Ready for Polyamory’s podcast episode about precisely that. If you find jealousy to be an ongoing concern for you in your relationships, then Kathy Labriola has created a great resource exactly for this, The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships.

NRE and polyamory

See also: polyamory dealing with NRE, new relationship energy polyamory.

So, you’ve opened up your relationship, met someone new and now you’re feeling all kinds of BIG feelings but aren’t sure what to do. Hello, I’ve been there myself. Concerns about new relationship energy (NRE) are very common, and it can be tricky to navigate (even when you’re pretty experienced at polyamory).

I quite like the KNP podcast episode about New Relationship Energy as well as Making Polyamory Work’s How to NRE episode too, Plus, Multiamory has some beneficial episodes on this subject too:

Dealing with metamours

See also: metamour hates me, meeting metamours, metamour jealousy.

So, your partner is dating someone new, and you don’t get along with them. Or perhaps you haven’t met them yet and are unsure how to approach this connection. Metamours (as in, your partner’s partners) is an area where we all need some form of advice or perspective because it is a relationship that is unique to non-monogamy. 

From kitchen table polyamory to the dreaded veto, there is a lot to learn about metamours simply because understanding how you want to relate to your partner’s partner is as important as the relationship that connects you.

Metamours are another area where there is an abundance of helpful advice for you out there. I particularly like Making Polyamory Work’s podcast episode When your meta don’t wanna and Ready for Polyamory’s episode Relationships With Metamours. I also recommend seeing all the episodes and articles available for this subject on Multiamory and Non-Monogamy Help (there are quite a few to binge on here).

If you find yourself in an ongoing tricky situation, then Page Turner has written the book you need. Dealing with Difficult Metamours provides insights and strategies for helping to ease any issues with your partner’s partners.

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Polyamory advice | Minka Guides

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A lifestyle blog for everyone who questions the norm. From polyamorous relationships and personal growth to queer travel adventures, Minka Guides helps you live a fabulous life with intentionality.

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