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Your Top 10 Questions About Polyamory - Answered

Published: AUGUST 29, 2023
Polyamorous people tend to get a lot of the same questions about their lifestyle.

My partner Qaid and I have been in a polyamorous relationship since day one. We’ve also been open about the fact that we’re open pretty much since day one.

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Our relationship falls into the anchored polyamory category. We’re in a committed relationship with one another (including co-owning a home and running a business together) but we still date other people. It’s monogamish – all the benefits of a traditional relationship with a lot more flexibility.

Being honest about our relationship is amazing. I never feel the need to hide parts of myself, or like I have a secret to drop on people - because there aren’t any secrets.

Transparency means that we do get asked a lot of questions, though, from friends, family members and, most often, from curious friends of friends. We get it! Non-monogamy might be on the rise but it’s certainly not the norm. It makes sense that people would have things they’d like to ask us.

Read: Ethical Monogamy and Trust: How to Make It Work

Here are the top 10 questions I get asked and how I typically answer them.

Don’t you get jealous?

Yes, although bouts of jealousy are few and far between after seven years together.

When we first started dating, I was juggling work and a full Master's degree course load. Meanwhile, Qaid had time to go on fun lunch dates and send flirty texts to his other partners throughout the day. It was hard because I wanted to spend time with him and enjoy our relationship too. But I loved my work and was engaged with school. Our solution? Acknowledging the jealousy and making the most of the time we were able to spend together. We developed a no-phone rule for our dates, and Qaid went the extra mile by letting his other partners know that he wouldn’t be available when he was with me.


Read: When Your Partner Sleeps With Someone Else - and It Makes You Happy

When jealousy bubbles up these days I take it as a signal that one or both of us need to examine whether our decisions are aligned with our values. If they are, then we simply acknowledge our feelings, accept all decisions have tradeoffs and let it go. If they’re not, then we make some tweaks.

How do you have time to date multiple people?

I often don’t! Some poly people prioritize romantic relationships and that sounds beautiful. For me, I have other needs that I prioritize over romance, like friendships, family, work and volunteering. Romance is basically in fifth place. So, if I don’t have time, I don’t have time.

Do you date your partner’s partners?

No. For the most part that’s because Qaid and I are straight, but we also date others to lean into areas we don’t share. I date people who want to do outdoor activities and talk about sustainability and psychology, whereas he likes to date people who share his passion for history and music. I want a hiking date and he wants to listen to records so we save those activities for partners who are just as excited about them as we are.

We do meet each other’s partners if the relationship is trending towards being a medium- to longer-term thing. Usually, we’ll schedule drinks with the person once they cross the third or fourth date threshold. We find it’s easier to understand each other and important to open lines of communication. I tell Qaid’s partners that they can talk directly to me about pretty much anything, whether that’s to chat about shared interests, ask questions, or share requests of some sort. And it goes both ways! I recently texted Qaid’s secondary partner to ask if she remembered the brand of sweater he wanted for his birthday.

Read: 3 Ways to Be a Better Metamour in Your Poly Relationship

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Where do you have sex?

For the first 4.5 years of our relationship, Qaid and I didn’t live together which made it easier. Now that we share a home, we almost always have sex at our other partners’ houses. If that’s not possible, communication and Google Calendar are a big help - and so is the fact that I travel a lot!

Do you guys have sleepovers with your other partners?

Yes. We actually prefer it because it’s nice to give our undivided attention to that partner for the night. If it’s unavoidable, like if it’s too soon to have a sleepover with someone or if we have an early start and want to be in our own bed, that’s totally fine too. We just have a shower when we come home and give each other a kiss goodnight.

Do you have orgies all the time?

No. It’s quite common for non-monogamous folks to swing or engage in group sex but it’s not our thing. Not only are we straight, but I’m also on the demisexual spectrum, which means that I rarely feel that immediate, physical primary attraction to people. I tend to only feel secondary attraction, the kind you get once you get to know someone.

This is one of the most common misconceptions we encounter. People love to mistakenly hypersexualize us, sometimes even after we set the record straight!

Do you talk about your dates with other partners?

Some things stay private because we respect our individual relationships. But we’re also best friends and get excited to hear about one another’s experiences. When Qaid fell in love with his other partner and said “I love you” for the first time, he came home and told me all about it. I love hearing about his joys and vice versa! You just shift gears and act more like a friend than a girlfriend in those moments.

Are you allowed to fall in love with other people!?

Yes. Love is a feeling - you can’t help it! We’ve both fallen in love with other people over the years, but falling in love is different than choosing to be in a committed relationship and planning a life together.

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Read: Poly Diaries: Unlearning the Need for Labels

Do you think you could be monogamous?

No, for a few reasons. I know I can be attracted to and love multiple people at the same time and I really value authenticity and independence. It’s important to me to be honest about my feelings and have the freedom to explore them. Plus, once you have the communication skills to negotiate and discuss each other’s needs, why would you go back?

Read: 8 Ways Polyamory Helped Shape My Monogamous Relationship

Will you still be poly when you have kids?

Definitely. I’m sure there will be periods in our lives when we have less interest and ability to see other people, but it will always be something we’re open to. I can imagine that when I’m pregnant and a new mom I’ll have less interest in dating, but I can also imagine that when I hit my 40s and my kids have grown up a bit, I’ll want to reenter the dating world in what I hear is a woman’s sexual prime. 😉

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Photo for Alyssa McDonald
Alyssa McDonald

Alyssa McDonald is a business and life coach based in Vancouver, B.C. She and her partner run the fastest-growing Instagram page on polyamory, @polypopculture, and are currently working on a book on how to design a successful monogamish relationship. Have more questions for her? Connect with her on Instagram.

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