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B y the time the school year ended this spring, Clara Obermeier knew remote learning was not a good option for her two children. Her year-old daughter had grown withdrawn after going months without seeing her friends. Her year-old son had struggled academically, and due to a Zoom glitch, was frequently blocked from the virtual breakout rooms where the rest of his classmates were ased to work in small groups.
I am asked this question more than almost any other question about polyamory. My short answer — yes, it is possible. If the relationship started as a monogamous one and one partner has changed, it is often very hard for the one who has remained monogamous to manage that shift. It is the polyamorous person who will find themselves with the responsibility to help the monogamous person feel as safe and secure in the relationship as possible.
Good communication, the ability to set boundaries and stellar negotiation skills are essential. If they are truly committed to each other, they must spend time and work at understanding as fully as possible. In order to make them work, both people will have to put in lots of effort.
Not all polyamory is the same. Some relationships are hierarchical — there is a central relationship that takes precedence and other relationships come in after the main list of priorities. Other polyamorous relationships are egalitarian so priorities are juggled regularly.
Some polyamorous relationships involve only casual relationships outside of the original relationship. If you want the type of polyamory where all of your partners and their other partners are friends, you need to be clear with your monogamous partner that this is your expectation.
To be friends with other partners requires a very high level of security as a person and also security in the relationship. The monogamous partner understands that his partner is not seeking other relationships because something is missing in their relationship.
Often the monogamous person feels that his partner would not be looking elsewhere if he was better at x, y or z or if he changed his body shape, hair or something else. This has nothing to do with why the partner is polyamorous. Understanding this le to feeling personally more secure.
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If you believe that your partner finds you lacking and that is why she is looking for another partner, your self-esteem will dip and you will find it hard to feel secure in the relationship. The couple creates rules and boundaries for their relationship and for the other relationships that the polyamorous person enters into.
Lots of monogamous heterosexual couples do not create rules and boundaries for their relationships. They leave most things completely unspoken and have lots of expectations based on their upbringings, relationships, and societal influences. This often le to problems in relationships and difficulty working through issues that arise. Relationships can work for many years before expectations and a lack of clear boundaries become a problem. I see this as the blueprint for the relationship because blueprints are detailed plans with lots of boundaries, measurements, and rules.
Plans can be changed as a building is being constructed. The changes are discussed and agreed and added to the blueprint. Areas that form part of a good blueprint: Time management Will the relationship be prioritized?
Are there special days or events that need to be spent together? Will you spend the night with other partners? Living arrangements Are you living together or are you planning on living together? Can you bring other partners to spend the night in the home you share together if you share a home together?
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Is the plan to get married or form a civil partnership? Children If you already have children together, how will you manage other partners? Will the children meet them or spend time with them? If the poly person is the one who wants children will they have them with another partner? Sexual limits and boundaries Are there activities you reserve only for the two of you? What will you do in relation to safe sex? Will there be fluid bonding between the two of you and with no one else? Information Sharing Will you talk to each other about the other partners in detail? Does the mono person want to hear details?
Does the poly person feel comfortable sharing details? How much information will be shared with other partners? Public acknowledgment of the relationship Will other partners be public? What about social media? What explanation will you give people like family and friends? Partner choosing Will the mono partner have the right to say no to a potential partner who feels threatening to him? Are there limits on who can be chosen based on marital status, age or perceived complications? Desires, wishes, dreams Draw a picture of how you wish the relationships will look in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years.
Look at this plan for non-workable parts, issues that might arise, areas of potential problems and try to find solutions or alter the plans.
There is a lot to consider when creating this blueprint. A coach can help you both find the language and build the negotiating and communication skills and this will give you a better chance of creating a relationship that works for both of you and any partners who come along in the future.
Coaching can also help you gain strategies to manage any intense emotions that arise. Many people have only a small set of emotional management strategies and this can be limiting. You can expand your repertoire and with practice become an expert at managing emotions and stress. Polyamory is often complex and something couples are interested in but need a little help to negotiate the terms so that everyone feels safe.
You can click on the schedule button thee. I have had such a large response from this article that I can no longer respond to individual s. You can purchase an package here US. Or here UK. For more on poly monogamy see my article here.
These relationships can work well however couples need to communicate well and negotiate […]. I am in a real with a partner who is non-monogamous with sexual partners.
I want to be Strickland monogamous but it is clear this will not work for my partner. Do you have suggestions?
If you want to come to a middle ground, you will likely need some help getting there. If you would like to explore how I can help, schedule a 30 minute free discovery session with me by heading to the contact and clicking where it says. I am afraid I have no DIY suggestions.
You will need help to approach the middle with each other. I do this in most of my writing but not when talking about actual cases.
Then I use the gender of the actual person. Geezus no need to be so harsh about it. The example makes sense the way it is. It does not matter how Dr Lori Beth places the partners or spouse in her story. They are only examples. Its up to the reader to place he, she or they as they see fit. Maybe your Feeling guilty? Maybe you are not secure in yourself …huh? I am sorry to hear that this has been your experience. I have worked with couples to help them make it work — but as I said in the article, it is very difficult and takes people who are really good at owning their own feelings and managing them.
I am a very monogamous woman in a long distance relationship with a polyamorous man. Yes it most certainly can work.
Great article! Long distance relationships are always difficult and challenging. But in your case, is there sufficient communication that you know what is happening? I am with a poly girl and while we try to communicate, i find she does not tell me everything although I encourage her to. How do you deal with the feelings of hurt and anger in a way that is still encouraging to the poly? Growing up in a mono-centric society can leave even the most authentic of people feeling as though they have something to hide. Best case scenario, she simply has some baggage to work out regarding the anticipated consequences of being honest with you all the time about her lifestyle.
You certainly deserve at least the same amount of openness that you bestow upon your partner.
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Currently trying this out. I am open poly. My girlfriend is strictly monogamous. Is ok with that. It sounds like there is a lot to negotiate if you are both to be happy with your relationship style.
In most of the poly mono relationships that I have seen work, the monogamous person has accepted that the polyamorous partner will have other partners and they work on exact rules and how to deal with the emotions that arise. The twist is that she identifies as bi-primarily-lesbian. She has even suggested a tri-nogamous right word?