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I want to start a polyamorous/polygamous lifestyle. What are the most important things I need to know/be warned about?
As a monogamous individual (hello, wife!) I’m not well placed to answer; but I’ll add a tidbit of my own limited experience, to corroborate what Claire J. Vannette said at the end of her answer.
In my early twenties, I hanged out with a group of poly folk. I was in a brief relationship with one (let’s call them X), and found that it wasn’t for me. Not why X and I broke up, but it didn’t help. And I’ll save the TMI on that for when I’m more drunk, and I have a less broad audience.
Anyway, the thing about this poly group was that a critical mass of them (particularly group member A who got together with X) spent a lot of time talking about how being poly made them more highly evolved human beings than the unenlightened masses.
Well, you could argue that. In hindsight, given that everyone involved was in their early twenties, I would be reluctant to infer much of anything. It’s the kind of thing obnoxious twenty year olds would say.
Somewhat ruefully, about a decade later, I went to X’s housewarming party. And because I hadn’t stayed in touch, I asked what had become of Y, and Z, and W.
It turned out that half the group weren’t on speaking terms any more, and the other half were grudgefucking.
Now, I may well have gotten my immature vengeful monogamist jollies out of that situation; but that’s not the lesson you should be drawing from my anecdote, Anon.
The lesson you should be drawing is to go back to Claire’s answer, and Noël’s.
- Being poly is work: it’s not just a full-time orgy.
- Being poly depends on open and clear communication.
- Being poly doesn’t make you a superior being, any more than it makes you an inferior being.
- And I know twenty-year-olds are sexy, but God, don’t get drawn into stoner debates with them about superiority. You’ll end up like an Ayn Rand acolyte.
- Being poly means you still have to deal with insecurities, defensiveness, and all the other stuff that flesh is heir to. And you have a higher responsibility to deal with them, if anything, because more people are being impacted.
Oh, and one more thing. One of the arguments A would use for being poly is that “love is not a cake”: it’s not a finite resource, you can share love with multiple people.
Which is true. But you know what is a cake?
You will be sharing time with multiple people, and you will need to be there for them when they need you with them, as a partner. (And even as a fuckbuddy.)
As the numbers go up, so do the logistics. (Another thing I was amused to see A work out a bit too late.) Be prepared to have open discussion about that too.