Over the years, I’ve provided alternative relationship therapy to many couples. These couples were either already practicing polyamory, or were very interested in trying it.

The question that I continue to hear over and over is, “How is this going to work?”

Polyamorous partners have few resources to guide them in structuring their relationships. It can be very challenging to figure out how to meet the needs of all individuals concerned.

Unfortunately, many couples end up experimenting with polyamory having absolutely no idea how to go about it. They rely on trial and error, hoping to maintain their relationship with their primary partner and hoping that their new lifestyle will just work itself out. 

This approach can create immense hurt, jealousy and resentment. This is often what prompts couples to seek couples counseling. The good news is that all of this pain can be avoided with some basic guidance. 

In this blog, I am going to share with you the principle mistakes that can get you into trouble in your polyamorous relationships. If you understand the pitfalls I am going to share with you, it will go a long way in helping you set up a successful polyamorous lifestyle.

Your Primary Partner Comes First

Studies show that people can only thrive in relationship when they feel that they come first in the eyes of their partner.

In order to do this, all polyamorous couples can benefit from avoiding certain behaviors.

So let’s take a look at the most common mistakes in polyamorous relationships.

The Top Three Mistakes in Polyamory

Allowing your secondary partner to make primary demands on you: Your secondary partner may begin to set expectations of you that are in keeping with the role of a primary partner. You may have already made it clear that you two are not primary partners. Regardless, it is critical that you continue to set firm boundaries with your secondary partner to protect the central importance of your primary relationship. If you allow your secondary partner to assume the role of primary, this will create problems for you in your primary relationship. 

Allowing your time and energy to slowly bleed into your secondary relationship without consent from all parties: Very often, primary partners can lose the focus on each other without even realizing this is happening. If you find yourself investing in your secondary relationship in ways that you used to with your primary, it is time to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with your primary partner. If you need assistance talking through these issues, it may be time to seek relationship therapy.

Spending time with your secondary partner as a way of avoiding dealing with problems in your primary relationship: If you and your primary partner are having disagreements about polyamory or anything else, it is critical that you face these issues head-on. Simply avoiding them and turning your attention to your secondary partner will only make matters worse. Being open and honest with your primary is critical to creating the lifestyle you want.

Guys in a polyamorous relationship making up

Mutual Consent is a Must

Negotiating clear agreements between partners is  fundamental for any intimate relationship to work.

This applies equally to monogamous and polyamorous couples. When partners engage in polyamorous relationships without hashing out specific ground rules with one another, revisiting them regularly and renegotiating those ground rules as necessary, this inevitably leads to pain and suffering for both partners.

Mutual consent is a must. If either one of you is being dishonest or manipulative, this will create betrayal and will be highly destructive to your relationship. 

A Polyamory Friendly Therapist Can Help You Create the Life You Want

If you are a couple wanting to make polyamory work for both of you, and you are looking for a polyamory therapist to walk with you every step of the way so you can realize your dreams for your relationship, let’s connect on the phone so I can help you meet your goals much faster.