How does healthy polyamory work? – part 3/3: Know where the limits are

In my articles about the poly community, I have described ideas and beliefs which do not contribute to or even prevent healthy polyamory (that is, loving, stable romantic relationships on a long-term basis).

As a polyamorous triad, we have researched in self-experiment, how we, and a polycule in general, can have healthy relationships for all individuals involved.

Since we did not have a healthy role model for this emotionally new territory, neither other people we knew nor in the media, we had to discover and understand everything by ourselves. During this learning process, we unmasked most ideas of the poly community as dysfunctional beliefs, termed them the poly ideology, and gradually removed them from our everyday life.

Subsequently, we came up with the following list where we show the – in our opinion – most important principles of healthy polyamory. Interestingly enough these are the same as for any healthy couple.

  1. Egalitarian relationships = no hierarchy: All individuals involved in the polycule must have the same rights of co-determination which must include all life decisions (e. g. place(s) to live, cohabitation, and additional sex partners)
  2. All life decisions must be decided consensually and with a clear answer to “What do we want it for?”-questions. An example of this is any decision for romantic openness in order to integrate a further romantic partner into the existing couple / polycule.
  3. The polycule must become and remain romantically closed after a time of openness, so that the old and possible new relationships have a chance to become and remain stable. The agreement to stay romantically closed can be either temporary or permanent:
    • Temporary: “We will stay romantically closed for a certain time and meanwhile find out whether our desire for polyamory is primarily or secondarily motivated.”
    • Permanent: “From now on we want to spend our lives together, without pursuing other romantic interests (romantically closed). As long as we are together, we will never change this agreement again.”

If being romantically open or closed is handled like this, the individuals involved can thereby effectively avoid typical toxic dynamics of the poly ideology.