Don’t coerce your relationship into a predefined shape; let them be what they are
In some relationships, in particular people who are already an established couple, decide what kind of relationship they want, what for the relationship will take and expect their partner to conform to that.
We individuals are complex and we tend to have our own needs and wants, our ideas and desires to what we want our relationship to be like varies. Trying yo force a person into a box by saying “you can only date both of us and the relationship must grow exactly the same way” – well no way that’s going to happen. Instead of doing that, treat the relationship in a way that it respects what they are. Make sure each person has a voice, and always listen to what the relationship is telling you instead of trying to force it to something specific.
Don’t keep score
There’s a tendency to turn multiple relationships into a tallying game. E.g “you slept with two nights in a row, now you need to sleep with me for two nights in a row too” or “you took him to dinner three times in a row, and you only took me out once.”
Yes fairness and compassion in relationships is what we all want but sometimes that’s just not the case. Picture a situation where you and your siblings as kids took turn to the dishes and one night it wasn’t your turn to do the dishes but you still had to because your sibling was not well and you felt that was not fair.
How does fairness works you ask? Simply put it fairness operates on a global level, not a local level; there may be times one partner may be going through a crisis or experiencing trying times and need extra support and attention than usual. As long as the support is available to all the people in the relationship when they need it, it’s not about keeping score.
Don’t let problems go unresolved
Truth be told many avoid confrontation or dealing with problems because it simply can be stressful and without a doubt uncomfortable. Having to approach a person who is behaving in a certain way that causes you pain or who isn’t meeting your needs carries emotional risks. We tend to let small problems slide but what we fail to realize chances are this problems are going to only get bigger when left unfixed. Therefore it is important to pick up the habit of expressing or talking problems out even if they are small ones. By being aware of something that is bothering you and developing the right tools to bring this problems out into the open before they have the chance to grow is essential.
Don’t assume polyamory will solve problems in your relationship
A broken relationship can’t be fixed by adding more people into it. Polyamory can be very influential and a rewarding way to improve a relationship but it also gives room to expose existing problems in a relationship. Definitely not a good way to mend a damaged relationship. When a new addition is brought into an existing relationship that has problems, it is only likely to exacerbate the problems. Which is certainly unfair to the person coming in.
Don’t take sides
Be prepared for occasions where your partners have a disagreement. When this happens, you may or may not be able to help; sometimes these problems have to be worked out between the two people on their own, and you don’t need to play hero and help solve the problem. Offering your honest opinion is fine when asked for that is. When offering input make sure it is in a way that is sensitive to everyone.
Don’t assume the problem is polyamory
Not all problems in a polyamorous relationship is a result of polyamory. Being in a non traditional relationship will end up with you pointing at your own relationship saying that it doesn’t look like the norm and say that is why there are problems. That’s not always true. If traditional monogamous relationships can have problems so can yours too.
Don’t make assumptions about your relationship with your partner’s other partners
There are times people may assume that just because someone is interested in their partner sexually, that the person is also interested in them sexually too. When relationships form they don’t always follow the same course every time. It’s silly to think that a relationship between you and another person and your partner and that person will develop at the same at the same speed or along the same path with the exact same intensity.
Don’t condemn, demonize, or build up your partner’s other partners
Your partner’s partner should not be seen as your enemy or the devil in disguise, look at him/her as a fellow human being like you with quirks and flaws. Afterall we all are humans. Turning your partner’s partner into a monster or imagine that him or her is better looking, better in bed, funnier and smarter or generally more worthwhile than you. Why harbour those thoughts? It’ll only lead to hostility and anger, your partner’s partner is human too and has feelings and deserve to be treated with respect.
Besides that these thoughts will also lead to insecurity, resentment and feelings of inadequacy. Tearing down your partner will do nobody any good neither does tearing yourself down too.
Don’t make assumptions on behalf of other people
As tempting as it is to speak for the other people in your relationship or to make assumptions on their behalf, just don’t. This can happen out of miscalculation. Sometimes it can be one’s subconscious desire to avoid taking responsibility for something. E.g “I’d like to date you but my partner feels uncomfortable about it” rather than ” I feel uncomfortable about dating you but I don’t want to talk about it.” It may even be wishful thinking – “Oh, it’s all good, my partner is fine with us being together.” In actual reality that may not be the case at all.
Don’t look to your relationship to offer you validation
It seems that society today strongly looks to a relationship to define a person’s worth. If you look to your relationship to tell you who you are, or to define your worth, then your sense of self worth will always be tied down to someone else/relationship that you’re in. One’s worth does not depend on the person one is in a relationship with. You have an identity that exists independent of your relationship and your relationship nor your partner does not describes your value. The idea of a relationship is to seek happiness on your terms, and more importantly it gives you resiliency to help you overcome the inevitable bumps in relationships.
Value and worth that come from within you rather than from your surroundings. There is a difference between a person who wants to be in a relationship and a person who needs to be in that relationship. Be involved with a person who wants to be with you instead of a person who needs to be with you, the person who wants to be there with you is because you add values to their lives, not because they have no other choice.
If your sense of value comes from yourself, it frees you from dependence from the people around you. If your partner has his own sense of value it frees you from the responsibility of telling him who he is.
Don’t seek to give your partner happiness at the expense of your own
A relationship should always serve the needs of everyone in it including you. It’s a mistake to think that in order to make your partner happy you got to sacrifice your own happiness, it’ll only lead to codependency.
A lover that cares for you would be affected by you sacrificing your happiness.
Don’t be afraid of change
Relationships are no exceptions, everything changes and nothing stays the same forever. Being able to change in ways that includes your partner is what you’d want.