Grace Ballard, MA, LPCC  |  Contemplative Psychotherapy

3 Myths About Polyamory

Recently, a friend joked that people get into polyamorous relationships because they have a fetish for emotional processing.  We laughed, because we know that while consensual non-monogamy often conjures a fantasy about having lots of sex, in reality it’s often about having some sex and lots of conversations.

Excellent and frequent communication is vital to maintaining poly constellations.  Our needs look different, and we come to relationships with a great deal of assumptions – many that are deeply woven through the unconscious fabric of upbringing and culture.

There’s much to say on this topic, but today I’m laying out a few common myths about consensual non-monogamy.

 

  1. Poly people don’t get jealous.

 

Anyone, whether monogamous or open, can feel jealous.  Jealousy is just a feeling, and is not inherently a problem.  It points to a place inside ourselves where we feel insecure, where perhaps a tender spot could use some more attention.  

 

It’s true that poly folks may feel jealous about different scenarios, and aren’t triggered by the same situations as those in monogamous relationships.  However, we all have tender spots and times when we feel insecure.  Rather than dismissing these feelings, making room for and accepting them can be a great first step toward transcending these painful struggles.

 

  1.  Polyamory is a cure for cheating.

 

Some people turn to polyamory after one partner has cheated, in the hopes of fixing the relationship.  Unfortunately, the issues that led to the betrayal are likely still present, and need to be addressed.  Opening up a relationship often creates stress, and it’s best done when the relationship is going strong.

 

It is possible to transition from an affair to polyamory.  However, know that it will require radical honesty, and the resulting relationships may not include the same people.

 

As a side note, people do cheat in polyamorous relationships.  This means betraying trust and breaking agreements.

 

  1.  Poly people are more advanced or enlightened than monogamous people.

 

Polyamory is simply another way of loving and being in relationship.  It’s not the right fit for everyone, and it does not mean that people who love this way are superior to those who identify as monogamous.  People are brilliant, compassionate and wise beings across all sorts of relationship configurations, including those who identity as asexual or aromantic, or choose not to seek partners.  And we all make mistakes, have selfish moments, get our feelings hurt, etc.  

The way you choose to love and be in relationship (or not) is personal and unique to your individual path.  Being poly or monogamous is not so binary, and between these concepts lies a spectrum of identities and relational styles that work for different people.

 

If you’re questioning where you fall on that spectrum, or are struggling with an aspect of your relationship or identity, I’d love to talk about it.

    1 Comment

  1. February 6, 2018

    Common sense about relationships in general. Communication. Trust. Emotions as normal. Grace, I get your message that the myth about sex and more sex is prevalent. What about the myth – the inability to make commitments.

    Love your writing style.

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