No-Nonsense Non-Monogamy: How to recognize theory vs practice in polyamory

Author: Shrimp Teeth

Exploring queerness, polyamory, and sexuality

How to recognize theory vs practice in polyamory


Theory vs practice in polyamory: MOST people will say they’re chill about you hooking up with others, hearing about metas, etc., and mean in… IN THEORY.

But when it comes to practice, they’ll get overwhelmed by jealousy, have to face insecurities, and not be chill at all.


It’s important that we separate how we WISH to behave/feel (theory) versus how we ACTUALLY behave/feel (practice).

Being unable to say “hey, I thought I would be chill, but I’m realizing I’m jealous, I need support” sets fucked up expectations for our pals. It benefits all of us to realize that we all think we’re better equipped than we actually are.


When people act like their theory and practice match (and they don’t), they end up blaming their pals and metas instead of taking responsibility.

People aren’t doing this maliciously, it’s not a deliberate act of deceit.

We honestly all think we’re way better at handling difficult situations than we actually are.

Artwork @ShrimpTeeth

Theory is based on perfect world conditions, practice is rooted in our messy ass unpredictable human responses.

We have this narrative that being good at polyam means we’re always chill.

That sets 100% of ENM people up for failure. Being good at polyam actually means that we recognize the ways we aren’t able to behave how we wanted/predicted and not succumb to blame or guilt.

We can kindly say, “I genuinely thought I was able to handle this situation, and I’m realizing I’m not” and allow pals to provide support and validation.

Just because we have an overblown emotional experience doesn’t mean our pals or meta did anything wrong, nor that we’re bad.


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.

Get more from Sam by following the Shrimp Teeth Instagram and checking out Patreon


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sam’s Clam, MA (@shrimpteeth)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here