The Polyamorous Band-Aid
Something I see all too often in my own people-pleasing relationships is the idea the being Poly can fix things or save things. Even by that sentence, you can tell that’s not true but the behavior that this idea creates is rampant in this relationship style for a number of complicated reasons.
This idea of a person being able to fix our love and lust and needs has been in a rom-com or several. Now it bleeds over into Polyamory to create what I call a Polyamory Band-Aid. The concept of seeking a new relationship style to cover up the stuff that keeps relationships from working.
An individual or couple can easily mistake a real communication barrier or relationship oversight for a need that needs filling. In fact, those conflicts do need attention and extra care. An outside party may seem like a fix. Somebody gets more sex or more affection or more conversation and BOOM, it’s all better.
But is it really?
Is the answer to “I need more” always going to be “I need different”? Sometimes? Probably. All the time? Probably not.
Polyamory can be beneficial because it has such a demand for introspection. However, the very same ethical nonmonogamy that is used to learn more about yourself can be used as an escape from yourself. This occurs on the individual level and between partners.
So, how do you avoid it?
Well, I don’t know if you can. There are no answers that can satisfy so many types of relationships and people. Some precautions can be taken to avoid stepping into these Band-Aid relationships before they happen. You’ll probably recognize these steps from literally every piece of advice anybody has ever given you about relationships.
Get Good with You
If you’re an individual thinking of taking on some partners: Why on Earth you want to do that? Be sure you know that there’s a payoff that comes at a high price. Outline what obstacles you think you might face and consider why you might face them. Trial and error with a bunch of partners is not a good love life model. You’re not ready for multiple partners if you aren’t already looking into yourself and seeking self-improvement as an individual.
Get Good with “Us”
If you’re a couple thinking of opening up the relationship: Same question. If there is something missing in this couple you’re a part of, define where that missing is coming from. Be sure that you don’t resent your partner for that missing piece and determine that your relationship can be healthy with or without the help of another partner in the mix.
Adding people to an already toxic situation is a recipe for disaster. Recognize why your needs aren’t being filled and make peace with that reality. Savor the feeling of being single and figuring it out. Take baby steps if you are transitioning from mono to poly with a partner.
Objectification is not just sexual. You can emotionally objectify people, too. It isn’t a hard pattern to slip into. Be patient with yourself, be patient with others, and get good with honesty.
Britt Vasicek is the host of Poly Wanna Podcast and creator of Sell Your Body Show. She is an advocate for Poly-Visibility and Sex+Love education.
www.fullabritt.com – firstname.lastname@example.org