Gleaned first hand from the past few years of being poly and in no order other than the one in which they occurred to me:
- It’s a cliche, but communication really is key. This doesn’t mean you have to jabber on incessantly about every passing feeling, but check in. Touch base. Ask your partners how they’re doing every now and then and then listen to what they say.
- Related to the above, different people have different communication needs. Figure out what yours are and ask your partners what theirs are. Work out some sort of middle ground if they don’t match.
- Tell your partners you appreciate them. Tell your metamours. Tell your friends too. Nobody likes to be taken for granted.
- You don’t lose anything by being honest and truthful. Sure some things may be hurtful or it may be the wrong time to bring them up – hanging on to stuff till you work it out is fine if that’s how you function – but if they start to weigh on you or affect your relationships, talk.
- Poly friends are a blessing.
- “Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.” (From Erica Jong’s How to Save Your Own Life)
- Try to find a local poly discussion group or community. It may not be your cup of tea and you may only end up going once before you run screaming, but you’ll still have gained two things:
a. the knowledge that other people out there are just as weird, if not weirder, than you, and
b. some understanding of what you don’t (and therefore eventually do) want from your life/relationships.
- Monogamous friends who get your poly lifestyle or at least take it in their stride are awesome.
- Online calendars, like Google’s, are a great way to organize your time and to let your people know your availability and commitments.
- Different people have different needs and expectations. Ask.
- When you’re with someone, be with them. Time and attention are pretty much the most valuable things you can offer someone and being distracted or spending ages on the phone/reading your mail/chatting with someone else online, etc. is just rude. Barring an emergency or routine checking in, try to minimize interruptions.
- If you have to cancel on one partner because of another partner’s availability, be up front about it and reschedule rather than leaving them hanging.
- When a partner cancels on you because they’re ill or busy with work, you might want to think carefully before calling them the following day and telling them how it was for the best because you hooked up with so-and-so.
- The woman or man you are with is not a carbon copy of that other woman or man you happen(ed) to be with. Learn to appreciate the differences between individuals.
- A corollary to the above: when the person you’re in bed with objects or otherwise indicates a dislike for something you just did, the appropriate response is not “but all the other people I’ve been with really like it.”
- If your partners are or become friends, they will eventually share embarrassing stories about you or commiserate about what a bed hog/tease/bossyboots/etc. you are. This is not a bad thing.
- That said, not all your partners will be BFFs. This is also not a bad thing.
- You will not become instant best friends with all your metamours either, but there’s no harm being cordial.
- Metamours you do bond with can be and incredible source of support and friendship.
- Yes, people fall for metamours. This is not the end of the world, but at some point you need to decide what you want to do about it because whatever you do has the potential to change all three relationships.
- You do not have to ‘prove’ your poly-ness by having sex with people you don’t really want to have sex with, or by participating in kinds of sex you do not want to/aren’t comfortable participating in.
- Following on from that, one of the greatest things about polyamory is that, because you no longer have to choose one relationship over another, with all the attendant pressure and drama of that decision, you can assess the merits of each relationship far more calmly and act from a more rational than emotionally desperate position.
- Cuddle piles are awesome.
That’s all I can think of for now. Any suggestions?