I read a post on fet today about the time given to poly partners not needing to be fair or equal. You can read it here https://fetlife.com/users/1065014/posts/2191958
The post is an excellent read and got me to thinking about that very thing in poly. As a fairly new poly person (well, not exactly new. I’ve always been poly, I just didn’t know it was a thing), I hear a lot about how all the partners in a poly relationship should be equal or should have equal access to each other. This has always seemed a bit exhausting to me. Full time relationships are very demanding, even good ones. So, to believe that every person you may involve yourself with will need that amount of attention is quite daunting.
The thing I love most about living an alternative lifestyle to monogamy, is that there is truly no one way, no right way to do it. You and your partners get to set the parameters, the boundaries, the limits. You and your partners get to determine who gets what and when. You get to decide to live together or not, or live together part time. You get to decide the rules that will be used when one partner wants to consider bringing in another possible partner. It’s up to you and your partners to determine the best way to communicate with each other. The entire dynamic can be created exactly how it will work best for you. Use the advice others give, use your experiences, but in the end develop something that works for you, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.
I love how, in poly, all of the different relationships a person can engage in have their own dynamics, their own intensity, their own demands and needs and joys. Every relationship will be different and different in ways that make them nearly impossible to set up and make comparisons (which is a fairly toxic activity, so best to be avoided anyway). Each of your partners will require different things from you and most likely they will offer things to you that your other partners do not. They will require a certain amount of time, of energy, of attention… sexual and non-sexual. Each of the relationships needs to be fostered, nurtured, and maintained in such a way that it can grow and be a healthy addition to each person’s life.
I love all of the different relationships she mentions. I can relate totally to her style of poly. I have my husband. He is my primary partner and he always will be. He is the one who will receive the majority of my time, attention, affection, intimacy. But I also have my pretty girl, lover. She spends a lot of time with us so she gets quite a lot of my time and attention too. There is room in both of us for many other, less demanding relationships, every thing from somewhere between a friend and lover, to an occasional playmate, to those who keep us company throughout the day. To me, the relationships developed in poly do not all have to be all consuming, they don’t all have to be sexual, they don’t even all have to be local or real life. I have had many very, very close friendships that developed purely online. Life is filled with infinite connections with other people. The joys of alternative lifestyles allow us to follow the rabbit trails and explore those connections. Many wonderful, amazing, relationships on all sorts of varying levels come from those explorations and our lives are made richer for the experiences.
Many people wonder how in the world with kids, a job, baseball season, a husband and a girlfriend I could ever find time or energy in my life to have more relationships than that. I admit, I’ve struggled with this question as well. But, that’s because people (and I include myself in this group) assume that all of your poly relationships will require as much from you as your primary and / or secondary ones do. But that’s just not true… at least, it doesn’t have to be true. There is still plenty of time for friends, family and additional lovers. A few days ago I heard it explained as poly bandwith or emotional bandwith. While there is an unending amount of love built into human beings, making it impossible to give all of our love away, our time and our energy will run dry if we are not careful. Being mindful of what each relationship needs from you, will help you to maintain your allotted poly bandwith.
Each relationship should be managed with it’s own uniqueness in mind. If they were all the same or all required the same things, it would defeat the joy of variety that poly provides. Some relationships such as your primary may be a marriage or a situation where you live together. That person will generally receive the largest amount of your emotional bandwith. Your secondary, especially if they are a live in, will receive usually the next largest amount. After that there could be any number of different types of relationships, online partners who may keep you company in the social media forums, play partners that you might enjoy the company of on occasion when time permits, Some are a couple steps up from just friends. Some could just be fuck buddies. There might be a weekend warrior in your life that gets you for one or two weekends a month. Communication with your partners and an occasional look into your needs and your relationships will help you determine what each of your relationships need and how you all can best meet those needs.
The diversity of poly can be a treacherous trail to venture down but the scenery and the adventure make it worth the potential dangers. The more you know, the easier it becomes. The more you communicate, the better your poly will be. The more aware you are of what you need from your partners, the better partner you will be for them.
Enjoy the diversity of poly, adventure and play and live and love. We only get one go round. Make it count. Have all the experiences. Love to the fullest.