So a lot of people have discovered (?) polyamory and have deemed it the “new wave”.
“Why have one girlfriend when you can have two?” A tweet recently proclaimed. They went on to say that there’s “no secrets, no cheating, no sneaking around.” That’s not the case though. All of that can, and sometimes does, happen within polyamorous relationships.
That’s the problem with a lot of men (heterosexual men in particular). They think polyamory means “extra maid for the house”. They hear open relationship and think “have sex with whoever I want, whenever I want without consequences and have old reliable on standby”. It doesn’t really work like that.
I hate to burst your bubble, but polyamorous and open relationships are still relationships. They require a lot of boundaries, trust, communication, honesty, things like that. This holds true even with the people you and your partner are just having sex with or casually dating.
I’m pretty sure that whoever you’re with outside of your partner will want to know that you’re in a non-monogamous relationship, so they know what they’re getting into. In all reality, you’re probably doing more work than in a monogamous relationship.
A lot of people don’t recognize that. Heterosexual men especially want “open relationships”, but they only want them open on their end. Or they want their female partner to only have sex with women so they can watch and/or have MFF threesomes whenever they please.
You see, a lot of heterosexual men want “reliable sex” and “new sex”. Reliable sex comes from their first partner. They’re the woman they got with in the beginning when they were “monogamous”. She’s the ride or die type who won’t leave him for nothing, so that’s why she agreed to the “open” or “polyamorous” relationship. She agreed to this relationship on his terms. His terms usually consist of “you date no one else” or “you only have sex with women and we have threesomes”.
That’s where the “new sex” comes in. He’ll go out and find a woman (or usually multiple women) to go and have sex with. If he’s ever rejected by a woman, he doesn’t have to worry because guess what? Old reliable is at home waiting for him. This arrangement is pleasing to him because he ultimately has complete control.
Even in “open” and “poly” relationships where boundaries are set, he may think that the relationship ultimately means “it’s impossible for me to cheat because we’re not monogamous” and ignore the rules. That’s where the secrets, cheating, and sneaking around come into play.
There’s absolutely no guarantee with any relationship that you’re gonna have no cheating and the best communication and honesty all around. Those are things you have to work on. They don’t come easy in monogamous relationships and they definitely don’t come easy in non-monogamous ones.
If you can’t handle being honest and open with one person, just how do you expect to do that with more than one? Before you enter any kind of relationship, you need to work on your communication skills. You have to be able to tell your partner(s) what you like, what you don’t like, and what your hard and soft limits are.
You also have to work on your emotional intelligence. You need to be able to know and express what you’re feeling and recognize the feelings of others. You need to be able to recognize how your actions impact others. It’s like I said before, this is not easy. It takes time and effort to get it done, and things like mental illness can impact your ability to accomplish those goals. That said, it can be done. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you will have a partner or partners to help you along the way.