What To Know About Polyamorous Dating If You Want To Try An Open Relationship

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How To Decide If You Should Try Polyamorous Dating & Open Relationships
Love

Many people want to know the protocol for polyamorous dating. One of the biggest questions you might have, before starting an open relationship or moving from monogamy to polyamory, is if it's really OK to date more than one person at a time.

For some people, the concern is that their relationship won't be strong enough to handle it, or that it may feel like "cheating."

RELATED: 8 'Golden Rules' People In Healthy Open & Polyamorous Relationships Follow

But this always depends on the people involved, the length of time they’ve been dating, as well as other factors that determine if a polyamorous relationship is right for them.

Dating is a great way to get to know a person. Many people who desire a long-term committed and monogamous relationship feel that dating is a great way to determine whether the person they’re seeing has potential.

Seeing someone regularly for a considerable length of time will let you know a bit about their character. It also allows for the consistency of their character over time required to build trust.

Trust is a tricky thing. It’s way easier to build trust for the first time and keep it consistently than to have trust in someone, have it broken, then attempt to rebuild the trust with them. It’s extremely difficult to restore a relationship when trust has been undermined, which is one tricky area with polyamory.

That’s a consideration you should have when wondering if you should date more than one person. Are you being trustworthy with all parties? Do they know you’re dating more than one person, or are you leading them to believe you are only dating one person at a time?

If all parties are privy to the facts and OK with them, then proceed as you wish. Undoubtedly there will be further questions that arise …

What you should do if it turns out you'd just like to date one of the people? What happens if one of your dates wants you to be exclusive? What if you get physical or sexual with one or some of your dates, and how do I share this information with another partner?

Honesty is always the best policy. Make sure every partner knows about the others, how physical you’ve been, your intention with each. If you can establish this honesty from the beginning, you will find easier solutions to questions that arise, and make the transition from monogamy to polyamory a bit smoother.

There are some polyamourous couples who find they would like to keep this openness in their relationships, and that's fine, given that all parties involved are aware of and consent to the arrangement. The more people you have, the more potential there is for conflict, which again, complete honesty can help mitigate.

RELATED: Monogamy Vs. Non-Monogamy: Is A Polyamorous Relationship Right For You?

Conversely, if you date multiple people and desire monogamy, then new relationship terms will need to be defined. That’s again where being honest upfront will help you. If you decide to have sex with one partner and the other(s) don’t want to continue the relationship, then the decision is made for you.

You may be the one being dumped because a partner either finds someone new or desires commitment that you seem unwilling to give. These may make moving forward easier on you.

It is possible to love more than one person. Perhaps movies and other stories have trained your mind to believe that you can only have one "true love," but this simply isn't the case.

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Many people who have been in love with someone can fall in love again. People remarry after they’ve lost their first spouse to death or divorce. Who's to say that you couldn’t love more than one person at the same time? Which may complicate things, but only if you want a monogamous relationship.

Which leads to another point … if you desire monogamy, if you want a long-term relationship with one person, it might be better to simply date one person at a time.

That way you don’t need to keep facts about the individuals to refer to when trying to recall which type of food or movies they said they enjoyed. You will avoid attributing facts about one date to another and make your life somewhat easier by doing so.

I understand that dating more than one person at a time might have benefits. There could be some cost savings for an online dating service that allows you to pay to find several potential partners that you could then take the time to get to know without needing to continuing the dating service.

You might also be on the older side and feeling pressured (either internally or from external sources) to find someone to settle down with sooner rather than later. If you cast your net wide, perhaps you’ll find a good catch; or perhaps you'll discover that polyamorous relationships are what you'd prefer.

RELATED: 9 Critical Facts To Know Before You Consider Non-Monogamy

Amy Sargent has been a licensed marriage and family therapist for over ten years. To find out how she can help you, visit her website here