By Miss Indigo
Polyamorous relationships rely on communication and partnership. This article explores how to establish partnership with a primary partner – on a day to day basis and at the level of polyamory.
My partner and I have been polyamorous off and on for the last 2 years. Four months ago we moved in together and officially committed to a lifelong partnership. I moved my boxes in, made my side of the bed comfy and prepared for our relationship to seamlessly come together. It was not until recently that I noticed my partner’s frustrations at my arrival. Adding another person in a small space means more clothing, more dishes, more cats (my partner and I each had 2 cats before the move) and more complaints, concerns and worries. As only children and “lone rangers”, we realized that much of what we do is in private. So to have someone living in my space, witnessing the silly things I do by myself was such a strange experience. For several weeks after the move, we were weird with one another; a little snippy, a little quiet and a little distant.
Somewhere in there we started talking. We realized that we were partners who had not yet created partnership. We had not shared with each other our schedules, we never told one another when we fed the cats (so the cats got really fat) and we were barely communicating about what domestic practices made us feel at peace at home. So we created a calendar together and talked about responsibilities around the house. I told her that I hated that fact that our desk was filled with clutter and she promised to clean it up before November. She shared with me that she cringes when I leave wet towels on the bed, so I make an effort daily to remember to hang up my towel. We are still creating a job chart but we realized that putting systems in place in our household makes our daily lives easier and it keeps us from wanting to strangle each other. My partner has learned to share her anxieties with me more frequently. I’ve learned how to compromise about my usual habits and listen to the needs of my partner.
Since that conversation, we have learned to accommodate for each other and bring love to all of our conversations. As a polyamorous couple, we negotiate our relationship on a whole other level. In addition to dealing with each other, we deal with our shared as well as individual play partners. Partnership comes into play in our poly relationship when we express our desires and negotiate what each of us is comfortable with. Much of our poly relationship is maintained through our communication. We talk openly about the kinds of partners we want in our lives and practice negotiating our boundaries with each other. We also do a lot of debriefing (or “processing” as us lesbians like to call it), speaking about our reactions to others and un-packing our jealousy, fears and insecurities.
Relationships don’t just happen, they grow. It takes a lot of work and a lot of maintenance to keep a connection going. And for me and my primary, it takes a combination of communication and partnership for us to live together and love each other to the fullest of our ability.