While reading polyamory posts on reddit and giving out advice, because that’s a fun way to pass time at 2am, I made a small discovery. Someone was asking for talking points for partners to discuss who are new to polyamory. Having spent a lot of time recently discussing relationships with my wife I wanted to provide some helpful insights. So like you do with any quick throwaway reddit comment that will soon be forgotten I spent an hour or so thinking about it to ensure it was perfectly formulated.
The first response was someone discussing how to set rules and boundaries and the importance of not just setting the rule but the consequence of breaking it, what the rule means to the relationship. This all seemed really negative to me and like any rules made me bristle as it rubbed me the wrong way. So while trying to think of the most important talking points to cover I thought of a conversation I had with my wife about what our ideal relationships would look like, how we structure our relationships and what we’re looking for. This led me to realize that this is a great starting point for finding out about what you should be talking about and what to expect.
Here’s the advice, for a great starting point on what to talk about in a polyamorous relationship discuss what kind of relationships you are looking for, how you imagine those relationships taking shape, as well as what you need from a relationship, and how you imagine an ideal relationship and its progression. By talking about what you need from a relationship your partner will learn what they need to provide to keep the relationship strong as well as what to expect you’ll be asking other partners for. It will also bring up various points that may need worked out between partners due to differing expectations, or a need for clarification on desires; it’s a great conversation starter. Let’s go over this step by step and explain how it will help in your discussions.
Talking about what you are looking for and how you imagine it taking shape is a good way for everyone to get a picture of what future relationships might look like. For example, are you mostly looking for fun nights out with someone to go to clubs with or a friends with benefits situation? Are you looking for someone to spend long evenings with cuddling, reading, and getting to intimately know each other? This lets you and your partner form expectations for the future. Such as, my partner is looking for hot, sexy times and so may head out for late nights. Or my partner is looking for a serious and close relationship and so may spend a few days a week with someone else. Of course, this is what you are expecting but never be surprised when your one night stand turns into your best friend you want around at all times. That’s how cupid gets his laughs in on a dull weekend.
Next is what you need from a relationship and how you imagine an ideal relationship looking and progressing. This is great because it lets everyone know what you need from your existing partner as well as what you’ll be needing from any future partners. For example you may say you need a feeling of commitment from your relationships. There may be a number of ways you can think of that a partner can show this commitment and level of intimacy with you. An ideal relationship would be living together and you imagine the progression similar to the traditional relationship escalator. This is how you do relationships and what makes you feel loved. This lets everyone know a lot about what to expect from your relationships, what you expect from them, and brings up a ton of great talking points that will vary from person to person. For example if I was this person’s partner, and I hadn’t done or said much to make things official, I would immediately know that they would appreciate gestures of commitment like offering to cohabitate or maybe even a marriage proposal. I would also know to expect that they would be looking for the same from their other partners. That’s not to say that every relationship they have will look this way. How many people does someone normally date before getting married? But, if a relationship is going well this is something that they would like.
I’d like to share what this looks like for me. For me I always talk about my relationships as a comparison to a best friend. That’s the level of intimacy I desire. Someone who I can candidly share everything with and who will share their life with me. Someone I can go to for deep conversations, advice, condolences, laugh, and play with. Ideally I look for this level of closeness from everyone I interact intimately with: close friends, friends with benefits, and potential life long partners. I’m a philosopher and entertain all manners of deep thoughts wherever they may lead me. I need to be heard without fear of being judged too harshly, I need acceptance, or I have a tendency to shut down and not want to share anymore. I don’t do hierarchies, but I do have a family and so it’s a given and communicated that they’re gonna be taking up a lot of my time. My primary love languages are physical touch and quality time and so that’s how I primarily show my love and what makes me feel loved. I’m looking for more “best friends” and I’m open to whatever that relationship grows to look like. I am completely open to sharing my time with partners as long as everyone gets along and would love for my other partners to be able to just come to my house with my family to spend time with me instead of just relying on dates.
That’s what my side of this conversation would look like and you can probably imagine what talking points it would bring up if I were having this conversation with you. It’s my hope this insight is very useful for finding talking points and discussing relationships with partners. I would love to hear what you think about it as well as how you find your talking points or what points you cover when discussing relationships with partners.