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5 Lessons Monogamous Couples Could Learn From Polygamous Relationships

The idea of being in a relationship with multiple people can sound promiscuous and taboo to some, but according to a relationship coach,  people who are in a polyamorous relationship tend to have a better grasp on a few basic elements of a relationship that we could all learn.

Honesty and trust are two qualities between our significant others that are simple to have but hard to get back once it’s taken away. But for people who practice “ethical polyamory ” tend to be a little more transparent with their significant others than people who only have ‘one bae’ are not.

Kelly Gonsalves is a sex writer who spent two years in a polyamorous relationship.  Gonsalves acknowledges polyamory is not for everyone, especially if you’re someone who gets caught up in your emotions.  I mean how many of us can be comfortable with knowingly sharing our man or lady with someone else?  However, that  during that time Gonsalves  wrote that  she learned “more about love and how to keep a relationship healthy during than she had in  all of her years of “dating and being in long-term relationships the traditional, monogamous way.” She spoke to relationship coach, who outlines a few those lessons for MindBodyGreen that we could take back to own one-on-one situations. No other people are required, unless you’re into that sort of thing, for one night. (Yes we’re talking about threesomes!)

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1. One key factor is to first define what your relationship is.

“Monogamy is a one-size-fits-all structure that’s heavily prescribed by society, and it comes with its own default settings. We believe in this narrative that if we overcome all the obstacles and look really hard and search high and low that we’re going to meet this one person who is ‘the one.’ And once we find that person, we’re going to live happily ever after.”

Blue adds that monogamous couples tend to live by a ‘one- size element’ principle, which does not work because people’s views vary on different situations.  For instance, “ One person just wants sex while the other wants a serious relationship; one person wants a committed partner but isn’t interested in marriage, while the person they’re dating sees marriage as an end goal; one person thinks being in a relationship means spending all your time together, while the other person thinks two dates a week is a healthy balance. Cheating is bad, all monogamous people agree, but what is cheating? Can you get dinner with an attractive friend? Can you flirt? Everyone has very different rules about these issues.”

However, for polyamorous couples, there are no rules, and open communications become not only a demand but a need.

Blue explains, “What’s different with non-monogamous relationships is that we don’t have this one value of fidelity defining the relationship. You remove this one value that’s supposed to be The Glue that holds it together or The Value that defines the relationship. Now you have a clean slate. You don’t have that one value, so I think at that point, people get to pick and decide. ‘Here’s my relationship. Here’s what defines this relationship. Here’s my expectations from this relationship. Here’s what’s available in this relationship. Here’s what I can and want to give to this relationship.”

2.  Being in a relationship does not mean losing your individual identity

“We” is a not a word that polyamorous couples typically use.

“Because you have multiple relationships, people have a bit of a sense of separation, a sense of more individuality, and a lot more ‘I’ sentences more than ‘we’ sentences,’ Blue says. She goes on to explain how ‘we’ can weaken communication and hinder your significant other from being “heard or able to hear.”

Recognizing each other’s individuality allows for couples to constantly practice active communication and listening skills.

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3. Learning how to divide your time between your relationship and your friendships

According to Blue, most polyamorous couples keep relationship couples to keep up with their multiple partners and the allotted time they spend with them. However Blue says monogamous couples can adopt this same practice. But instead of arranging your multiple partners, you can use your calendar to track how often you and your significant are making time for each other.

Blue explains, “Some couples value social time and nesting and hosting and friends—so putting time in the calendar that you’re going to invite friends and have a dinner party together. It’s solid in the calendar. You’re gonna do it. For some people, it’s learning and growing and connecting. Make sure that you’re attending two or three workshops a month. It’s in the calendar, and you’re structured with it. You’re learning things together, and you’re doing things together. You wanna travel? You’re into traveling and seeing the world? Put it on your calendar. Make sure it’s there, it’s visible, something to look forward to, something to plan around.”

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4. Set time aside to take about the progress of your relationship

Blue explains how polyamorous people talk about the status of their relationship.

“Once a month we sit down, and we sort of check-in,” she says. “How are we doing? How are things? Are we having our needs met? Are we seeing each other enough? How is everybody doing?  Just because you’re monogamous doesn’t mean you don’t need a check-in. What’s going on? How are we doing?”

Check-ins allow for couples to address issues early on before situations get out of hand. And the topics do not always have to be about problems. Blue suggests bringing up subjects such as kids, mental health and sex. Talking to your significant others about these topics allows you to see where you two match up on particular morals and ideas. For example, you may want kids and family; he may not.

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5. Understanding your capacity to love

When dealing with multiple people at the same time, factors such as jealousy are not as big of an issue as they are with someone who is only involved with one person. For polyamorous couples, jealousy is one part of human nature and the need to be “protective of one’s people and possessions and to feel insecure or threatened by the idea of losing them.”

“It’s part of our survival system,” Blue says. “Other than the mushy feelings of love, it actually serves a purpose. It’s about bonding. It’s about connecting. It’s about safety in numbers. It’s about the survival of the species. This idea of love and bonding is hard-coded into our lives.”

Blue explains that people with a poly-view tend to focus on the more positive aspects of our human emotion such as empathy, compassion, and understanding. So even if hooking up with various people at the same time is not your thing, a few of their practices could help us have a stronger monogamous union.


By Alexia McKay
Twitter: @alexiamckayprod