Relationships have evolved over the last few years. What was known as non-traditional
partnerships have become the norm. A polyamorous, or poly, relationship consists of
multiple people engaging in a romantic partnership with unanimous consent. These
non-monogamy relationships are more common and accepted today. It’s a style that is
successful for many people as long as transparency and communication exists. Despite
contrary beliefs, poly relationships can be as fulfilling as monogamous couples. The
ideal situation has to involve the right people who are on the same page. Polyamory still
has commitment, yet one is able to date other people. Typically, it involves at least three
people and may be sexual, but it is not necessary.
For these relationships to work, all parties have to set boundaries depending on what
everyone is comfortable with. There is a structure based on the number of people dating.
In some instances, one relationship may be hierarchical or prioritized above the others.
In this case, dating others is considered a secondary relationship. Structures are sure to
change over time based on the wants and needs of all parties. Communication is vital for
this relationship style to work.
Now that we have what a polyamorous relationship is, let’s dive into when things go
wrong. What happens when your partner doesn’t like your partner?
Your partner might feel slighted because you spend more time with your other
partner. Sometimes if your old partner feels like the new partner should not
trump them, resentment builds. The more time you spend away from them, the
more they blame your new partner for stealing their quality time.
In a poly relationship, you all set boundaries. One day, your new partner decides
to cross those boundaries for the fifty eleventh time. They have been told over
and over again, yet they ignore them. They don’t care and do what they want to
do. To make matters worse, you allow your new partner to do so, fueling the fire
with your original partner.
When you go on dates with your new partner, your original partner doesn’t want
to hear the sappy details. The new partner keeps telling them how much fun you
had or what they did that was so sweet. You all agreed to keep that to a minimum,
yet the new partner can’t seem to keep the bragging to themselves.
4. Lack of communication
Ever since the new partner came along, your communication is slacking. You all
don’t talk the way you used to. Sometimes your original partner overhears
conversations that they should’ve been a part of, but you all kept them out of the
loop. Nobody wants to be the last person to know anything. They definitely don’t
want to feel you’re hiding something from them either.
The more people in the kitchen, the more chaos. There can only be one chef, but
not when you’re in a poly relationship. It’s a catch 22. There may be someone
who unofficially is the one running the show and decides who gets added and
who gets deleted. Your original partner may simply be jealous of the new partner
for obvious reasons. They may not feel like your number one boo. They don’t feel
special because there is something about a new person that people like. The
original partner may feel like old news. They could be jealous of the amount
of time you all spend together or that you all have a better connection. People are
human. Just because people agree to be in a poly relationship, doesn’t mean that
jealousy won’t exist.
What should you do? You feel like you’re in the middle and being pulled in two
different directions. First, be self-aware of your behavior and actions. Are any of
the original’s partner’s feelings valid? Have you noticed that you put them on the
backburner or treat them differently? Be honest and figure out if you contributed
to this situation. You can’t force anyone to like another person, but you may be
able to help them get along. Eventually, you have to decide if someone isn’t
beneficial to your poly relationship.
Before you make a decision, ensure that you spend equal amounts of quality time. Reinforce boundaries and hold those accountable who don’t respect them. Spare the other partner’s feelings and keep your outings between the two of you. Begin to communicate in ways you haven’t so that everyone is in the know. Create a safe space where you all can share your
feelings without judgment and promote understanding. Discuss with each
partner things that bother them and compromise on ways to change them for the
better. If all else fails, try therapy. As a last resort, take a break and regroup. Time
alone provides clarification to your questions. Then you are able to choose to
move forward with one or both of them. No matter what, stay true to yourself.