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

In the articles about the poly community and poly ideology I have described subcultural concepts which do not contribute to or even go against healthy polyamory on a long-term basis. Since we are a polyamorous triad, we have researched in self-experiment, how we, and a polycule in general, can work healthy for all individuals involved, on a long-term basis.

Since we did not have a healthy role model, neither personally nor in the media, for our constellation, we had to find everything out ourselves, in this emotionally new territory. During this learning process, we unmasked most of the concepts of the poly ideology as dysfunctional beliefs and gradually removed them from our life.

In the following we list the – in our opinion – most important principles of healthy polyamory. Interestingly enough these are the same as those needed for healthy couples.

  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, such as the choice of residence and possible additional sex partners.
  2. All life decisions must be decided consensually and with a clear answer to “What do we want it for?”-questions. A special 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 an episode 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 with one another 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, typical poly ideology dynamics like the meowing dog and (as a consequence) the serial-parallel flow type heater are thereby effectively avoided.