Many thanks to the people on this forum who contributed their suggestions
on how to treat non-primary partners well in poly/open relationships
. It's proven to be the most popular post on SoloPoly.net
-- read over 14,000 times so far, and daily traffic is still going strong!
Which is great, because that article is a living document, intended to be amended and expanded over time with help from the wider poly/open community.
Today I’ve posted a significant update of this resource, based on reader input and community discussions. It includes two new items on the “DO” list:
- DO expect to be surprised by your own emotional reactions. A commenter observed that you can’t always anticipate what will (or won’t) cause you discomfort. Here’s some advice on handling surprises.
- DO trust what your non-primary partner says about their relationship goals. In many poly forums (including this one), I’ve heard people (especially hetero married poly couples) say they prefer to avoid relationships with single/solo people because they believe solo people will probably “want too much.” While people are of course free to set their priorities and boundaries however they wish, this particular line of reasoning appears to represent a fallacy rooted in competitive monogamist presumptions that probably won’t benefit (and could undermine) any poly network of relationships. In other words, avoiding single/solo partners may not really help primary partners protect their existing relationship or achieve other goals.
Also, I’ve significantly expanded the first item on the “DON’T” list:
- DON’T bail at the first bump. A well respected leader in the poly community told me, “What’s really radical about polyamory is not that you have multiple relationships, or that everyone involved knows about it — but that you don’t automatically jettison new partners when there’s trouble.” I discuss the importance of committing to hanging in there and working together to find solutions and options (or simply to allow your comfort zone to expand), while keeping all of the significant relationships in the network intact.
Again, that article remains a work in progress. If you have suggestions, please comment here, post a comment to the article, or message me through this forum.