Sexual incompatibility, boredom, or the urge to explore another gender can be reasons to break up, but they can also be the grounds for opening up a relationship. Here's a list of things to consider before trying out polyamory.
If you or your partner have paper-thin skin, polyamory may not be the best option for you. In poly relationships, either one or both parties keep multiple partners. This means you'll have to deal with knowing he's out with another chick, or he'll have to sit tight while you get it on with another dude. There is of course, the possibility that both members of the relationship will be seeing other people, but two being equal doesn't mean jealousy can't transpire.
photo by Paul Keller via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license
Love bare-backing? Those days will be behind you upon going poly. More partners means more risks– and more responsibility. Getting tested regularly and using protection as well as contraception is a must when you're sexually active with multiple people.
Poly relationships take a lot of it. Imagine working, going to school, checking in with family, seeing your significant other, and dating. And if the dating goes well, penciling one or more additional people into your schedule. What if you and all your partners live inconveniently far from each other? If you're already having trouble juggling one relationship with the rest of your life, now may not be the best time to add another.
While each relationship within a poly triangle (or quadrangle, hectagon, etc) generally exists independently or separate from the others, communication within each pairing is a must. Couples must first learn how to open up to each other before opening up their relationship. Communication is what differentiates being poly from cheating.
Will your polyamorous relationships have any? Is dating okay but hooking up a no-no? What separates a one-night stand from getting to know someone? Can you only see other people when your partner is too? Rules and boundaries must be established before and during any poly relationship to keep everyone on the same page. And again, you can't set boundaries without communicating.
Is this something you're interested in trying, but not for the long haul? What will be the duration of this trial period? Make start and end dates clear if this is the case, and be sure all your and their partners are aware things may be short-lived.
Why go poly? Is there something your current relationship is lacking? Do you or your partner want something neither of you can give? Will the addition of another party decrease that tension? If you and your partner are not interested in seeking additional intimate and/or romantic ties with other people but are interested in sex outside of your relationship, then try swinging. If you're not sure whether or not you want to stay with your current partner but aren't ready to give them up, then open up your relationship instead of going poly. Open relationships allows space for both parties to find people better suited for them, and if those relationships go well, leave the one they're currently in. Polyamorous couples don't have the intent of leaving each other–they simply desire more relationships in addition to the one they already have.
photo by Benson Kua via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license
photo by Mike Rohde via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license
photo by Paul Keller via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license photo by Jessica via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license photo by Studio Curve via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license photo by Brett Davies via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license
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