I'm a new member and, from what I can tell, one of the younger ones in this forum. I'm a 21-year-old college student who had a persistent feeling all his life that monogamy wasn't for him, and I'm incredibly relieved to know that this isn't strange.
It seems like a lot of people discover polyamory within a committed relationship or after the end of a troubled relationship, and I've found a lot of good advice online for dealing with that. Here's the thing- I'm not in a relationship and I essentially have my whole life ahead of me. On the one hand, I feel like I'm in an incredibly fortunate position; on the other, I don't know of any "roadmaps" out there that might guide me and help me start polyamorous relationships from scratch this early in life.
With this in mind, what mistakes do you think I might make in the future? What advice would you give someone my age, starting adulthood as polyamorous? I'd really like to start things off on the right foot.
You are in a brilliant position. Simply because you can decide on rules and boundaries for yourself without the influence of your current relationship. That doesn't mean that you won't adapt to the wishes and boundaries of a partner, but you can firmly say "No, I don't want this thing in my relationships so I wont date anyone who does want or have that thing or belief".
Let me give you an example, I feel that casual sex is fine as part of polyamorous relationships, I feel that casual sex amongst consenting people is generally fine. Except if one or both are cheating, of course. Now, because I went into this poly thing as a single person, opposed to opening a monogamous relationship it makes it easy for me to say "I do and plan to continue to have casual sex as and when I wish to. If you're not okay with that then we are incompatible". But if I had a partner who was strongly against casual sex and we were opening our previously monogamous relationship, I would have to factor in their beliefs whilst we create this new normal. Our beliefs on casual sex were quite irrelevant once we committed monogamously to one another, but now we are no longer monogamous, it has become an incompatibility. Not one that can't be solved with a simple "we'll both have the sex we want to have and be content" but that doesn't always go simply. It can be extremely hard to let go of the idea that what your partner does in their other romantic and/or sexual relationships doesn't need to affect your relationship with them. Just read this forum for proof of that.
When you're single, you can say "this is my normal, you're welcome to be a part of it".
I agree with everything london said. You are lucky to start polyamory like you are doing!
I started fresh, like you are doing, and only ever have had open / poly relationships. To me this has worked fine; the problems in my relationships have never been caused by polyamory, but rather something totally else.
One piece of advice that I have to give is the most common poly advice: communication, communication, communication. Do not count on single words like "polyamory" or "open relationship" but describe what these things mean to you, and by all means try to find out if the other person has undestood you correctly.
One example about this from my life: I always told my potential partners that my relationships will be open and I like the idea of polyamory. Discussed this several times with my now husband CJ early in our relationship. Still, he thought that the "open relationship" was over since we started being "serious". More communication and problem solved. Next time the same thing after we got married - I did not realize this should have been discussed again before the wedding. Well, we did discuss it after the wedding, and it ended up fine.
And then the "polyamory" part. We discussed it many times, and still... After I fell in love with my OSO Mark, I realized that CJ had thought that "polyamory" is the same as "unicorn hunting". Since we both had agreed that unicorn hunting is a bad idea, CJ had assumed it was the end of my desire for polyamory... and we have gotten over that, too.
All three of those incidents could possibly have been disastrous, but they weren't. Honest communication and responsibility of our own emotions has been the base of our relationship, and with them we have conquered these severe misunderstandings.
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