No-Nonsense Non-Monogamy: How to express hurt in polyamory


Exploring queerness, polyamory, and sexuality, with @ShrimpTeeth.

Author: Shrimp Teeth

How to express hurt in polyamory 

Lesson for polyamorous newbies: You’re allowed to dislike or disagree with a decision your partner makes without having to frame it as a boundary violation or a breakdown of trust.


It seems like people who are newly open feel the need to justify their pain or discomfort by claiming their pal did something wrong.

It’s ok to dislike a situation and to learn to accept it regardless.


Learning to be polyam means we let go of our entitlement to control our pals.

Of course, there are boundary violations. For example, my boundary is “I will leave if my pal yells at me.” If they start following me after I’ve said I need to go, that’s a violation.

Or I can violate my own boundary by not leaving when they start yelling.


There are also breakdowns of trust. For example, if we start talking about opening our relationship and I find out you’ve been cheating on me the whole time, I have grounds to be suspicious of your intentions moving forward. Or if I don’t speak up when making agreements.


However, not all scenarios fall under the broken boundary/trust categories.


Often I hear folks say “my pal made plans with my meta without consulting me first, which broke my boundary” – sorry but no.

You’re allowed to be uncomfortable but that’s part of being open. It’s always interesting how new couples claim they want to be open but then find every excuse to push back when their pal starts seeing other people.


The quicker you accept that some decisions you won’t like and that your pal is still allowed to make them, the easier it will be.


If you want to be open, you have to be willing to be open.

Your pal will see other people, you probably won’t feel great about it at first, and that doesn’t mean they need to stop. Again, if the goal is being open, you need to accept your pals seeing other people.


Framing every disagreement as a mistake your pal made or assuming they’re deliberately hurting you doesn’t create conditions to learn proper jealousy management.


Be aware of what situations are yours to manage so you’re able to recognize when mistakes actually DO happen.


Sam is a sex educator and artist who explores queerness, polyamory, and sexuality through their work. She’s passionate about exploring ways to broaden relationship structures to foster more connections between people. They use art and illustration as part of their education process.

No Nonsense Non Monogamy is brought to you by GLUE.

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