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.
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Let’s break down the two common reasons why “being prioritized” comes up in peer support.
First case is pretty straight forward: the person’s partner wants to be ethically non-monogamous, they don’t. In this situation, prioritization is used as an attempt to maintain a monogamous structure that the person actually wants while allowing their partner the “freedom” to be open…. kind of. This usually leads to a ton of resentment towards the meta, when they start asking for anything from their hinge partner. Again, you can’t expect monogamy if you’re going to be polyamorous. Take some time to discuss whether this is actually a feasible arrangement for both of you. As I’ve mentioned in Instagram posts, there are relationship structures that maintain a dyadic partnership with occasions to be open (swinging, monogamish, or QPRs). Polyamory isn’t the only option, and it’s not a good choice for people who don’t want more people in their relationship.
Second scenario is usually just unprocessed fear of change. This makes a lot of sense. When you open your relationship, there’s a desire to minimize change. Change is scary and unpredictable. If you’re dealing with the second case, I recommend you use the below to explore other ways of feeling valued in your relationship that doesn’t involve restricting your pals.
How to get your polyamorous pal to prioritize you.
Whenever polyamorous people say, “I want to be prioritized,” my follow-up is always: what EXACTLY does that mean?
I like to rephrase, “being prioritized” as feeling valued by your pals. Prioritization is a monogamous construct that’s rooted in scarcity and restricting anything outside the couple. But being valued is polyamory-friendly since we can value many different people at once!
So rather than asking pals to limit their other connections, it’s important to define your own value system. Competing with metamours doesn’t usually end well. You shouldn’t need the most of EVERYTHING from your pals, if you do, I recommend checking out monogamy instead!
Once you’ve identified what you value in a relationship, like quality time, you can identify your satisfaction point. Be clear about exactly how much is enough. If you skip this step, you’ll always be chasing excess.
Recognize when your pals have met your needs. Gratitude helps us identify satisfaction. If we never stop to be thankful for what we have, we’ll constantly be chasing more.
Polyamory requires sharing. Again, you can’t take everything, nor do you need everything.
Finding abundance starts by recognizing how much you have. Once you know HOW you feel valued, and WHAT feels like enough, it’s time to talk to your pals.
Remember they won’t be able to meet ALL of your needs, all the time. Offer a degree of flexibility so you can create agreements that feel exciting for both of you.
If you’re asking pals to demonstrate they value you, offer them the same in return. Ask them about their relationship values and satisfaction points. Get to know your metas’ values and needs too. We, often wrongly, assume metas want exactly what we want.
So often, polyamorous people say they want to be prioritized as a way to restrict or control their pals’ other relationships. Trust me, you won’t feel more secure by doing this. Define what conditions are best for YOUR relationship with your pal.
And please please please remember that your metamours are just people. They deserve to also feel valued, they also have needs. Polyamory isn’t about being selfish and restricting others so you can end up on top.
Toxic hierarchies create toxic non-monogamy.
For more from Sam, check out the links below and follow on social media!
@shrimpteethasmr Boundary setting 101. I’m teaching a class on this Thursday for those interested in learning more #enm #polyam #polyamory #nonmonogamy #queer ♬ original sound – Sam’s Sharpener ASMR
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