What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?
My partner and I have been together for over 20 years and we’ve been poly the entire time. There have been a few times that we stepped back from having other lovers because we needed some space to focus on each other. I’ve had lovers & playmates, as well a few ongoing secondary relationships. So one thing I’d tell my younger self is that things will change, and then they’ll change again. Don’t expect otherwise- there will come times when you struggle against changes that will happen anyway, and fighting them only made it harder.
Something else I’ve learned from being poly is that it requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently. Of course, that skill will benefit any relationship, but when there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication. Yes, therapy helped. Yes, workshops and books helped. But getting to see how other people do it and getting to practice it with lots of friends made it much easier to develop those skills in sexual/romantic relationships.
It’s also really easy to get smug about it. Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved or better than anyone else. If you think it does, you’re being a jerk. Don’t let it happen.
Yes, poly folks shouldn't be smug. But almost all of the people I hear from who believe that their preferred relationship model makes them better and more highly evolved—almost all the relationship-model smugsters I hear from—are monogamous people. I've heard a few poly folks claim to be more highly evolved, but I've never heard a poly person suggest that a monogamous commitment isn't really a commitment or that two people in a monogamous relationship don't really love each other.