By Zachary Zane
Are you someone who absolutely loves and craves a monogamous relationship? Do you like having that one person in your life—your ride or die—who’s there with you through thick and thin? And the idea of sharing them with someone else makes you feel nauseated?
There’s nothing wrong with that! You deserve to have the relationship orientation you want with someone else. And this Valentine’s Day, you should gloriously celebrate your love with your better half.
However, you can still learn a thing or two from polyamorous couples (throuples and quads). Actually, if you open yourself up to some of the philosophies of polyamory, you’ll likely have a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling relationship with your partner!
So, here are four things monogamous people can learn from polyamorous folks.
1. Being direct
In order to have successful polyamorous relationships, you have to be direct. Otherwise, your relationship(s) quickly implode. You have to be comfortable setting boundaries. You have to let your partner know how you’re feeling and own your feelings without shame. Oftentimes, monogamous people expect their partner to be a mind-reader, or they rely so heavily on the norms of monogamy that they don’t articulate their needs directly. But you still need to be direct, honest, and open-minded, even when monogamous!
2. Relying on multiple people to fulfill your needs
Your partner cannot be expected to satisfy every single one of your emotional and psychological needs. For one, your partner isn’t a need-fulfilling machine. They were not put on this planet just to cheer you up when you’re sad or to constantly cook for you. They have needs (and a life) of their own. Second, they may be an incredible partner in so many ways but might not know how to respond to a particular situation. That is okay! This is why, even when monogamous, you should have friends and family members who support you, too. (And when I say family, I’m not just talking about biological family; I’m talking about chosen family, too.) This will also help alleviate some of the pressure you may inadvertently put on your partner.
(Note from FUN FACTORY: If your partner is busy, under the weather, or simply not in the mood, you can also let a toy fulfill your needs. MISS BI is a hit with vulva owners, and MANTA is an award-winning penis toy.)
3. Navigating jealousy
Remember, jealousy is normal and natural—something you and your partner can work through together. There’s this idea that polyamorous people are naturally less jealous than monogamous folks. Some are, but most are not. It’s just that when you’re polyamorous, you’re forced to reckon with your jealousy more often because, unlike in monogamy, your partner can have sex with and even date someone else. Polyamorous people know that while jealousy is natural, it doesn’t give you carte blanche to react however you please. Your feelings are valid, but that doesn’t warrant unhinged behavior.
Polyamorous people understand that jealousy is a source of information. So, when you feel jealous, try to think about what your jealousy is trying to tell you. Are you worried that your partner will leave you for someone else, like your ex-husband did? Are you insecure because you don't feel sexy and beautiful? Once you know the root of your jealousy, you can talk with your partner, dictating to them how they can best support you (and your jealousy).
4. Time management skills
Poly people are masters at time management. When you have a husband, girlfriend, and third partner you’re trying to see weekly, you literally have to be. Otherwise, you’ll end up canceling on one partner to see another, and that can cause feelings to get hurt. Poly people often share a Google Calendar with their partners, and honestly, that’s a great thing to do when you’re monogamous. Even if your schedule isn’t as hectic as a poly person’s, it still makes life easier for both you and your partner.
Zachary Zane is FUN FACTORY’s resident Sex Expert. His work focuses on sexuality, culture, and the LGBTQ community. He is the author of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto.
He currently has two columns: “Sexplain It” at Men’s Health and “Navigating Non-Monogamy” at Cosmo. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Boyslut Zine, which publishes real sex stories from kinksters worldwide. His work on sexuality and relationships has been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, and many others.
This post was written by a guest blogger, and all opinions and ideas expressed are that of the author. All ideas included are for educational and entertainment value, and do not constitute medical advice.