How many is too many?


New member
So I am currently facing a quad situation that may be amazing. I am giddy with NRE and very excited about where things might go! If my exbf comes around to giving things another try (hubby is very sceptical about things so that might be something to take very slowly) then maybe I would be open to that possibility in the future because we have spent so much time working on things and there are definately positive things that I get out of the relationship with him. There is this woman that both hubby and I are very interested in and I am also giddy when I am around her.....

How many is too many?
Am I just going crazy with this new way of being?
I am I going to burn out if I take on too much?
Has anyone else had this rush of excitement and wanting it all at once?
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Active member
How many is too many?
That completely depends on how many relationships you are FUNCTIONALLY capable of maintaining with the amount of time and resources (emotional, physical, psychological, financial possibly) you have available to utilize.
I couldn't have that many lovers.I definately don't have the time. But I also have 4 kids-so with a husband and a boyfriend that's 6 primary relationships in my home not including my sister wo lives with us or any outside friends!

Am I just going crazy with this new way of being?
Probably. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But definately something to be aware of.

I am I going to burn out if I take on too much?
Only you can know FOR SURE-but if you are trying to START so many relationships at on time, it might be good to remind yourself that MAINTAINING an already established relationship takes less time and attention then is required in starting and stabalizing one. I would be wary of starting so many all at once. There are inevitably complications, misunderstandings and details that need to be ironed out in the beginning of a relationship, and if you have to many starting at once either they will all move very slow getting to a place of stability or you will suffer unnecessary drama in one or more of them due to not putting enoug attention into them or both.

Has anyone else had this rush of excitement and wanting it all at once?
Yep-Maca did. And it only took two months for it to "blow up in his face" and force him to slow down and recognize that each new relationship, experience, situation and major dynamic change requires a good deal of time an energy to establish and become stable. Also that each one changes something about you and/or opens up something hidden within you that also needs addressed and attended to be sure you move to the positive and not drop down a negative path. :)

Good luck! Hope some of that helps or at least gives you food for thought!


Staff member
How many is too many?
Am I just going crazy with this new way of being?
Why not?
I am I going to burn out if I take on too much?
Not if you remember to stop drop and roll!
Has anyone else had this rush of excitement and wanting it all at once?
This is the answer that you can actually take seriously.
And rushing is a great way to stub toes or crack heads open on low doorways. Take your time.

Hopefully others will have more complete and useful answers for all your questions.


New member
I usually refer to it as the "kid in the candy store" phase of discovering polyamory ;)

Oh the possibilities out there, once you begin this journey of open loving and it's so difficult to pick and choose once you don't have to anymore.
Each of us probably has our own individual limits on how much time and energy we have to devote to multiple relationships and no one can really tell you what yours is.

Through trial and error, I've come to believe that my own limits are probably two "primary-type" relationships at the same time, with the possibility of maintaining a couple of less daily-life-entwined love connections.

I do want to echo LovingRadiance's take on starting multiple relationships at the same time though. My personal experience has been that each relationship is better served by having its own time to develop. I feel the need to know that each relationship has a solid foundation before adding others to my life and that takes time to establish.


New member
kid in a candy store

I DO feel like a kid in a candy store lol. I actually didn't imagine that we would be presented with so many options all at the same time! I thought it would be a struggle to find people that were open to it at all.

I know that establishing trust and stability is important as my husband and I have done that for 8 years before opening up our i will try to keep in mind the advice to take it one at a time...

Glad that others have had the same giddy stupid feelings. I feel like amongst all the struggle that poly has brought there is a silly joy in being allowed to just be who I am.

Thanks for the posts...stay grounded with my head in the clouds perhaps


New member
I agree with constlady. Taking the time to develop each relationship is key. I also agree that for me two primaries and a couple of tersiarys is more than enough.

I was trying to juggle a husband, a male OSO (Mono), a tersiary woman and two tersiary men at one point and be an attentive mother. It was far to much.

What it meant was no one got quality time with me and most of all I had no time to attend to my own time. I still struggle with that last one and I have two less now in my life.

The thing with having NRE about poly or what some people call limerence is that it makes us feel un-stoppable and on top of the world. It works out fine to have many relationships at once when the realationships are new because the depth isn't there yet. Trouble is that eventually the next level of relationships is to work on depth and that is when its hard not to be spread too thin.

In my circumstance I found that I had to drop a couple of people (one man and the woman) in order to make way for depth with the three left. I don't regret dropping them at all, but it was hard to say to them that I couldn't spend time with them because I wanted depth with others. I am still friends with the woman and the man and I are still negotiating speaking terms. I would of avoided all that by not jumping into sexual and intimate relationships with them both from early on. My version of poly was different from theirs too and I wished I had negotiated all that before getting invovled with them.

Thankfully there was another man at the time that I didn't become intimately involved with and he ended up being the closest to me in the end. We don't have a sexual relationship, but our friendship depth is deeper because I didn't sleep with him and decided at the last minute to take it slower and work on the relationships I had.

Enjoy your time my friend :) you are in an exciting time. Keep your eye on what you want out of it, because in no time at all it will all die down and you will be sorting out who stays and who goes. Give a lot of thought and time to everyone concerned and draw it out as much as you can in order to make the right choice. This is what I wished I had done. It worked out well for me in the end however as I have just what I need and just as much as I can handle.


New member
i have 3 lovers,
all of whom are very important to me, id say they are all primary, but i hate the term :p

I was aiming for 2, but then the 3rd popped into my life unexpectedly and i did not want to turn him away, i am coping with 3 at moment but having to be very careful how i split my time and energy it is HARD work rewarding but difficult :)

i would not have anymore than 3 relationships, i would maybe take a more casual lover but in reality i prob couldn't have anymore sex than i am currently having - i think i would maybe break if it tried my body would be complainging :p

How many is too many?
it depends on what kind of relationships u are looking for, how you split your time and how much energy each relationship needs,

Am I just going crazy with this new way of being?
yes prob but thats ok

I am I going to burn out if I take on too much?
you are likley to get exhasted

Has anyone else had this rush of excitement and wanting it all at once?
yes i guess i have and do, and i have to think seriously about whats important :)


New member
If my very novice opinion counts; I would say that 'too many' is when you start to feel over-stretched. The capacity for love may be absolutely infinite. But the ability to spend adiquate time and affection on each lover is something that will vary from person to person and lifestyle to lifestyle.

My mother would say that anything that is supposed to be a pleasure should STAY a pleasure.

At the point at which is becomes a stress, it's no longer doing what it should be doing.

Not to say that at the first sign of stress one ought to bow out of loving relationships. But if I were you I'd look not just as 'how much love I can give' but 'can I maintain these relationships in high quality with the time, strength, energy, and responsiblities that I have'.

Hope I didn't sound like a downer there. LOL


New member
question for poly old timers

I am of course newbie to all this.... but I was wondering (from things I have read on here) if there was a tendency on the part of people who felt themselves to be naturally progress into ever more complex relationships just for the sake of it...
For instance a poly in a primary relationship with a mono might first be happy with second partner in a v or triad..but as soon as he /she felt they could handle it might want more and more partners just for the emotional buzz?

And another example: a poly couple might be happy at first with a unicorn but pretty soon feel more fulfilled in a quad; their secondary partners might have primaries or secondaries of their own, and so on and so forth...sorry but my head starts to spin here.

Can love for each stay just as strong or does it get diluted down ? What is the practical limit for a poly?


Something tells me you haven't looked at this thread yet:

Master Thread - links to other threads worth reading

I think you'll find a lot of answers to your questions there, and if you still have questions, you can add them to one of those existing threads. This way, when other new people read this, they can find all those questions in one place and benefit from the question you maybe will have asked.

In other words, one big thread on a topic is better than 20 little threads on one topic.


New member
To me, my 2 boys are quite enough!

I used to say I could probably see myself having maximum 3 lovers. But then I was thinking my husband plus maybe 2 secondaries (or seconary +tertiary). Now that my boyfriend is quickly becoming my second primary instead, I feel that my time and energy will not suffice for more people. And I feel saturated, very unlike when I was with my sort-of-secondary for 4 years and was having small flings on the side.

My boyfriend does not want me to have any more, and neither my husband I think (my boyfriend for emotional reasons, my husband for more practical). Also, we are considering kids and there is work and hobbies... I guess having lots of lovers would be a bit like having friends only with the sexual/romantic part. I love spending time with my many friends, but I just could not do it like that.
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New member
Personally I find that 4 steady partners is the max a person can handle, plus the, well, meaningless (I can't handle any of these). I never had more than 2 at the same time so I can't really say much. Hubby agrees. My perfect picture at this moment is hubby+1 lover


New member
For us the dynamic we have now is all that we can handle. There are 3 adults and 7 children between all of us plus 2 of us work full time and one goes to school full time while being the stay at home parent. Our resources are used up. There would be nothing left to give to another relationship, at least not in the way we would want to. Could one or all of us possibly find something within ourselves to give another person? Sure, we probably could. But it wouldn't be fair to anyone involved.


Official Greeter
Staff member
Re: vodkafan's post ... a polycule can steadily accumulate more partners, and some intimate networks are quite complex. But I don't know whether those networks formed by a process of gradual accumulation, maybe they mostly formed all at once. In any case, it's not necessarily true that poly groups tend to grow larger and larger. Quite a few stay at three (maybe four) adults pretty much for life.

In fact it can go the other way. Many poly groups shed members here and there, as people change and compatibility consequently changes. It's rather common, for instance, for a group to start out as a quad, then shed a member and turn into a triad or a V.

I don't think you could assign a number to the title "Most Poly Partners Allowed." Everyone is different, and different people have different ranges of how much quality time they want to put into each relationship. Heck some people need less sleep than others. I think "two partners" is a very common limit for a lot of people; yet I know of many poly tangles with 7-10+ adults, often with kids.

In short, the answer to, "How many is too many?" depends entirely on who you ask.


Staff member
What sucks is when you think your partner has too many partners, but he doesn't realize he is spreading himself too thin until it's too late.

My situation. One gf, one bf. Gf has one bf. But my (now ex) bf had his wife, and me, and was FWBs with my gf, and kept on dating others as well (once his NRE with me and my gf wore off)! In 12 months he dated 6 others, ending up with an ongoing relationship with a married MF couple, who had 3 kids, and wanted only spontaneous last minute dates (which threw off the routine I'd had with bf). Add to that, the new male partner was jealous of his wife being with my bf. He made a rule for only 3way sex, although he was allowed to come over whenever and have sex dates with my bf one on one. Bf's head was spinning with the work at keeping things on a somewhat even keel in this new relationship, and ended up neglecting me and my gf.

He finally admitted to being in over his head. But by that time, I was so hurt and angry at his neglect of me over the previous year, I was ready to break up with him. And I did.


Well-known member
How many is too many?

However many that goes beyond your resources.

Am I just going crazy with this new way of being?

NRE high. Plus "OMG I am poly shipping for real!" High. :)

I am I going to burn out if I take on too much?

That is the definition of burning out.... Taking on too much.

Has anyone else had this rush of excitement and wanting it all at once

Yup. Maybe these pitfall articles could help you? Enjoy the rush, but keep it doable so you do NOT burn out?

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