3 Tips If You're Considering Polyamory


By Gabrielle White

In some relationships, the benefits of polyamory can outweigh potential complications: they can be an extra source of emotional support and can be complementary to an existing relationship. If you’re considering polyamory, Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., has some suggestions for exploration. 

Polyamory won't fix a relationship that's already broken

Before diving in, she suggests examining whether the relationship you're in has a foundation that can handle the demands of polyamory, and being honest with yourself about why you want to be polyamorous: 

“If the relationship is broken, adding more people will not help. If you're truly unhappy, [polyamory] is a recipe for disaster and it's better to get out of the relationship and move on to new things than grab a life preserver.” 

Make sure your partner feels loved

Assuming you are happy with your current partner (see tip #1) and you're ready to open a conversation about polyamory, it's important to be clear from the outset that you're not coming from a place of dissatisfaction. Reassuring your partner that you love them, that you're attracted to them and that you would never ask them to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable ensures that they won't feel pressured to say yes. And if they do say yes, an early affirmation makes it less likely that any issues (read: jealousy, insecurity, resentment) will crop up down the line.

Know your limits

Dr. Sheff also stresses the importance of taking the time to examine where your boundaries are beforehand. That way, if an uncomfortable moment presents itself, it’s easier to respond in a way that’s true to your own needs because you will have already defined your limits. Having set parameters for yourself beforehand helps ensure you'll have the courage to speak up if you need to.

writer photo

Gabrielle White

Gabby's ultimate heartbreak cure is a repeat cycle of rooibos tea, puppy snuggles, and salted dark chocolate.