ISSUE_03: Four Complex Questions For Your New Poly Relationship
20 September 2021
By Recon member DomONYX
I often get questions about poly life after people, particularly kinksters, see my poly family and want their own. Those who identify as kinky may be drawn to a poly life because it allows freedom from relationship models focusing emotional, sexual, and romantic energy on a single partner. After all, if you move beyond paradigms of sexual heteronormativity, why not move beyond monogamy as well?
Polyamory seems attractive because people think it's all about having sex or playing with multiple people, but it is much more than that. Although the sex and play can and should be LOTS of fun, conceiving/maintaining a poly relationship is work just like any other relationship.
Am I an expert on poly life? No, but my family is happy and that's good enough for us. While you can use qualities from others' relationships as models for your own, you can't entirely reproduce that dynamic. Each poly family is different because they arise from unique circumstances and personalities. If you are interested in starting a family or being part of one, use the questions below as a guide.
There are no wrong answers, but try not to answer these questions with a pre-determined goal in mind, though. Be open to the answers as they are revealed to you.
Why consider a poly relationship?
Considering a poly life begins with a journey of introspection. As a kinkster, you've already taken part of the journey. You know yourself and your desires, what turns you on, and how you identify sexually and in terms of a dynamic. You'll bring all that to a poly relationship, but before you think about a specific group of people, be clear on why you are entertaining the idea of polyamory.
Like any relationship, a poly family forms for many reasons and not everyone in the family is there for the same reason. Maybe one is there for the chance to have sex with multiple people, preferably at the same time. Another may be there because their primary sex partner is too vanilla. Perhaps a third is more interested in emotional intimacy and shared purpose than sex at all. A fourth may be totally into 2 of the family members, but not at all into a third. Some will also bring their existing dynamic to the poly family. What will the family look like when it's now a Daddy and his boy, two pups, and their Handler?
There are those in poly families who are asexual or aromantic (which ARE NOT the same thing). They may be fully satisfied by the shared comradery or sense of purpose of the family, or they may just think that the other family members are cool people. Regardless of who the family members may be or what they want, it is critically important that YOU know what you want. Put your reasons down in writing and encourage other potential family members to do the same. Plan to discuss these reasons, but be ready to hear things about yourself you may not be ready for. Everyone may not see you the way you see yourself.
Does everyone consent to the relationship?
Yes, everyone actively participating in the family consents, but what about the one who has the vanilla partner who is blissfully unaware of the family's existence? Do they understand the essential quality and depth of the "friendship", as their partner has described the poly family? Are they being told the truth about their partner's whereabouts and activities?
Consent is about more than just an agreement on some topic or to participate in some activity. Consent implies a mutuality of purpose, intent, and action, and an honest opportunity to even have a discussion about the activity in question. Imagine the poly family is somehow exposed to COVID and the vanilla partner is exposed. Imagine something terrible happens to the poly partner and rest of the family isn't informed because the vanilla partner doesn't even know the poly family exists. In both cases, the vanilla partner is now part of a situation they did not consent to.
Forming a poly family may require difficult conversations about the nature of your present and planned relationships. Existing relationships may change, or even end, but the conversations must happen. If they don't, the poly family is built, at least partially, on a foundation of dishonesty.
How will we communicate?
Communication is easy for fun stuff, but hard otherwise, and more so when you communicate with multiple people. There is no way you can anticipate what these conversations will be up front, but you can create a structure to address problems as they arise. It's doesn't have to be formal; maybe it's just an agreement to meet regularly as a family over a meal.
Regardless of forum, the hardest part of communication is listening. Concentrate on active and empathic listening. Give others your undivided attention, welcome and support their emotions, share your own emotions, be open to challenges to your perspective. All relationships are prone to failure if there isn't good communication.
What will be our relationship's structure?
There are too many relationship structures in a poly family to go into here. What is important to think about is how you will relate to others and vice versa. Now is the time to think about your level of attraction to and interest in other family members. Some might think this is the first thing to think about, but it's more important to consider other points first. If it was just about hanging out with cool people, you could all just be roommates. By the same token, you don't need a poly family just because you enjoy sex/play with a couple of people.
Some will want to focus on the family hierarchy if there is to be one at all. While this is important, it is secondary to defining your feeling, wants, and desires in and for the relationship. There are poly families where a person is Daddy to one while being the boy of another. Navigating these overlapping dynamics requires open dialogue and a commitment to the larger ideal of the family. Coming into the family you will want to think about who you desire physical or emotional intimacy with, if anyone. With whom do you want to spend time? Who makes you laugh? Who annoys you? Be prepared to discuss these things with your family and decide what's a firm point not up for debate and what is up for negotiation. While you may identify as a boy or slave, when it comes to the formation of your family, you have an equal voice with your Daddy or Master. Do not be afraid to use it.
Successful polyamory frees you from the expectation of a single monogamous partner to fulfil all your needs and vice versa. The beauty and fun of a poly family is that you get to choose exactly how and with whom you interact, and that your partners will support you in those choices. It is a journey of self-actualization. Good luck on that journey!