When I first discovered polyamory, and before I talked to my husband about it, I read everything I could find on the topic. I wanted to be certain that, if we decided to open our relationship, it would not be the death of our marriage.

While doing my research I found a common theme in nearly every article: the skills one would need to comprehend in order to make polyamory work for them. While this list is quite extensive and unique to each writer and reader, the top three that stood out for me were communication, the ability to process your emotions, and time management.

These are skills that even monogamous partners practice, but they are invaluable when trying to juggle multiple romantic relationships. While communication, the ability to process your emotions, and time management were listed in nearly every blog post and discussed in every podcast, no one seemed to detail just how difficult it would be implement these practices on a daily basis.

 

1. Communication 

Contrary to what most people believe, communication isn't “just talking.” Communication involves listening, reading body language, and understanding what the other person is saying. If you are listening to reply, you are not communicating. Listen with the intent to hear, the intent to understand. Not only will learning how to do this enhance your love lives, but it will strengthen your communication skills in other areas of your life as well.

Over the years, I, personally, have found that nonverbal communication works best for me and my partners. We will text when we need to discuss something that will cause emotions to run high. This also makes it easier to “listen with the intent to understand.” Finding a communication method that works for you and your partners will help strengthen your relationship and understanding of how you best handle conflict.


2. Ability to process emotions 

It’s a great skill to be able to identify your emotions, but, like with communication, this ability does not end there. By processing your emotions you are getting to the root of the problem and learning to handle the emotion without causing harm or upset to others. The ability to process your emotions, understand why you are feeling a certain way, and communicate those feelings effectively takes practice, but will vastly improve relationships in all areas of your life.

For example, you should be able to pick out anger from jealousy and know how to calm yourself before you blow up on your significant other. More often than not, your emotions are caused by your own thoughts and not by an outside source. If they are not caused by your own thoughts, you may find that they are caused by a miscommunication that is easily fixed. Learning to identify and control your emotions is a beneficial way to save yourself from many arguments. 


3. Time management 

Two words: shared calendar! Sharing a calendar gives you and your partners access to the same calendar where everyone puts in when they are busy, what they are doing, and when they have free time. This can help everyone to plan time with partners, friends, and family around everyone else's schedule. While this can be easily abused, when done right, it can be a great tool to help manage your time in your relationships.

I have found that the best way to manage my time is to limit myself on how many partners I have. It is good to acknowledge how much free time you have in your life and not bring in more people than you have time for. Everyone you have a relationship with is an individual and deserves respect. Set boundaries and time with each partner and ensure they understand just how much they are getting of you before you ask them to completely invest in a polyamorous relationship.

Learning these three skills is only the start of developing healthy polyamorous relationships, but if you are serious about having multiple partners, it is important to learn to communicate with them, how to process and control your own emotions, and how to manage your time. Remember that each partner you have is a person and they deserve your respect, understanding, and honesty. And as I have mentioned various times throughout this piece, even if you’re monogamous, these skills have the potential to tremendously improve your life.


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