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Advice – How can I accept polyamory?

/u/LAMIKE298 on /r/polyamory writes…

“The thought of my girlfriend being poly, dating other people, or even having sex with other men makes me feel that I am not enough for her. On the other hand, I love her, and want her to have what makes her happy, and be able to step aside and allow her to have her wants and needs met if I am not the one being able to provide for them. I love my girlfriend, a lot. More than I have ever loved anyone. So part of me feels like I want to tell her that I will not create an issue for her, or allow it to effect our relationship. On the other hand, I am apprehensive that if once it happens, I will have some bad feelings and I will end up not being okay with things, and end the relationship.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I am trying to be open minded, and some of this is outside of my comfort zone, and I also know that I have not provided much information about this. I just would like to be able to talk to, and pick someone’s brain who is experienced in this. I want my girlfriend to be happy, and not make my issues effect our relationship. Please someone provide me with some information.”

Photo by KML on

Dear LAMIKE298,

Let me first say, thank you for being so open-minded. Half of the fight to acceptance is acknowledging that you have something you want to work on. I am personally proud of you for being so in tune with not only looking out for your partner but also for yourself as well.

I am going to use the immortal words of Esther Perel.

I have never seen a perfect marriage. I’ve been a therapist for thirty five years working with couples. I have never seen a perfect marriage.

Esther Perel on Expert on Expert with Dax Shepard. 1:28:37 to 51.

(This is a great podcast episode to listen to if you want an insight into one of the most prominent relationship psychotherapist of this generation.)

The first step is to admit that you are not perfect. No one person can fulfill every single wants and needs of another person. You might fulfill enough of her needs that makes the commitment and the relationship worthwhile. It’s in this plausible deniable headspace we convince ourselves into that we are everything that our partners need. And it will take some time to convince yourself out of a position that you’ve convinced yourself into.

The second step is to recognize that bad feelings are just bad feelings. Both good feelings and bad feelings are great but temporary indicators of your true emotional state, much like loud promotional packaging around snacks we see at grocery stores. Common feelings like jealousy can be intercepted, dissected, and dissipated before they truly negatively impact your other relationships. Some folks need to talk about those feelings to a neutral third-party like a poly-friendly therapist or among your local poly group to process those feelings externally. Some folks need constant reassurances from their partners to get through the initial stages of bad feelings. Some folks need to sit down and process their own feelings through journals or letters. You’ll have to discover for yourself what method works for you specifically. Just know that those feelings are temporary, even if they’re reoccurring.

Photo by Element5 Digital on

The third step is to accept that it’s perfectly okay not to be okay with polyamory. Polyamorous relationships are not some higher enlightened versions of relationships that only amazing people can do. It is simply another form of relationship, an alternative to the monogamy-standard. So before you ask yourself “how can I accept polyamory for my partner,” ask yourself “do I want to accept polyamory for my partner”.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

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