Polyamorous Couples Searching for Love and Feeling Left Out
Many polyamorous couples have lamented to me the difficulty of finding partners who can engage in emotional intimacy at a level where they feel honored and seen.
Breakups become difficult to manage, especially when the pattern is recurring. Ghosting similar to complaints often seen in the early stages of 'monogamous' dating. This points to a gap in the way people engaging polyamory as a relationship model--sometimes exploratory rather than permanent--... By extension, it points to a gap in the foundations of the polyamorous lifestyle: clearly, clarity is needed.
Turns out--I was surprised by this--many people calling themselves polyamorous or non-monogamous have not read the books polyamorous couples have read (More than Two, Sex at Dawn, The Ethical Slut and other books which have by now become references in the polyamorous community), resulting in vastly different assumptions about how the dating or relationship is going to go, and what is considered appropriate by either party if it must end.
Too often, couples will have gone through a fairly long period of feeling out how polyamory would be woven into their lives even before actually putting in place an architecture which can both support a polyamorous lifestyle and their long-term relationship which might have developed out of a monogamous arrangement. Meanwhile, the third party being recruited as the girlfriend or boyfriend can be 'exploring' for themselves what polyamory feels like in practice before or without engaging into a deeper reflection about what it actually means to them.
Communication is often lacking on this specific question, a situation largely due to the fact that both parties are blind to their own assumptions about what the other party is thinking: for an openly polyamorous individual or couple having read those books, the ethical principles of communication which ground the polyamorous lifestyle into an emotional safety zone (so that no one gets hurt by unacknowledged feelings and intentions to stay or leave) are held sacrosanct and taken seriously, and, most importantly, obvious. Someone who is exploring polyamory to 'see what it feels like' without having engaged the deeper implications of the lifestyle will tend to function on common--although usually unpleasant--practices in the early stages of monogamous dating: holding a way out as an option without communicating this very transparently.