When Poly Shows Up In Real Life

Earlier today, I read a post posted to a private Facebook group of which I am a part.

“My boyfriend informed me today that he is going to start having hookups with men a few times each month.  He’s bisexual has decided he needs that in his life – not just a woman.  I told him that was okay but given we are now “open” that I would start having my own relationship – men or women.  He flipped out saying I could only have relationships with women – not men.  Things got bad as we debated this.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

I seriously read it all while shaking my head.

How many ways is this wrong? Let me count the ways……

  1. If you are in a monogamous relationship, one partner cannot one day decide the relationship is open and inform the other partner.  That is not how things work.  One partner cannot decide something this big that impacts BOTH partners without a discussion and agreement to go forth.  Sure, you can say, “you know, I have this need that is not being met, I would like to consider X” – that is conversation – that is negotiation.  Coming into it and saying “I’m doing this without your consideration or feedback” is just an invitation for trouble.
  2. If you are going to decide the change for the relationship, you cannot get pissed if your partner agrees but has her own terms.  Seriously. If you expect your partner to be without issues in terms of your decisions, you cannot expect the partner to act as if you have had discussions and negotiations over the conditions of which what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
  3. One penis policy, which is what this person was trying to implement, screams “I’M INSECURE” while at the same time telling the other person they cannot be insecure.  Look, if the guy is truly bisexual, it means the risk he could meet someone who causes him to leave his partner is the same as if the partner did the same thing.  If you expect your partner to assume the risk, you need to be willing to assume the same risk.
  4. Monogamy until someone decides they are not is the same “party foul” as it is if someone tells everyone they are polyamorous until they find the person they want to be monogamous with.  It’s misleading. It’s bad negotiations. It’s starting a relationship under false pretenses.  It can happen, but it needs to include a LOT of negotiations.  It needs to have a lot of communications.  And it needs to be understood that the risk is that the other person says “no, that is not who I am or what I want”.  And if that is said, you need to be humble not an asshole about it.  You changed the rules; the other person did not.
  5. If you decide you need to be open, you need to be understanding and willing to risk the relationship.  The other person has the right to be upset.  The other person has the right to feel like they cannot agree to such terms.  The other person has the right to say “this is what I need too” — and it should be accepted without judgement just like you are expecting the partner to accept what you are saying without judgement.  Saying what you need is not easy – you cannot flip out of your needs are met with their needs.  That is not fair.  The relationship is about the people in it – not just all about one person’s needs.

Thankfully by the time I read the post and the comments, post people said the same thing.  I was happy that so many people got it – no one said “polyamory is bad” but instead said “what he did was bad”.  Too many times polyamory is implicated as bad when it is actually the person who fucked up – not the concept.  It was great this was not the case.  People judged, instead, the person involved vs polyamory.

I hope they get this figured out.  I really hope they do.  It sucks to invest in a relationship as much as they were only to have something like this cause the end.

All I have to say is communicate.

If you think maybe polyamory is the right way for you? Communicate. Talk about it. Know that the risk of bringing it up to a partner who had not expressed the same thing is that they may say they cannot handle it.  And that’s not a negative for them – it’s just their truth.  Also, be wary of labels. Sometimes the labels create more issues than just figuring it out in the terms that makes sense for both partners.

What do you think?

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