While many articles have been written on how to improve your relationships, few are ever written from a polyamorous perspective.
I believe I’ve stated before that as soon as I start discussing polyamory with someone, often their first go-to is “So you must have a lot of sex, right??” Funny thing is, sure there’s sex, but there’s also So. Much. Processing. As I’m sure my fellow poly people can attest to. There are those of us who jump into the sex aspect and those of us, like me, who don’t. Both approaches are valid, but I think monogamous people are surprised to hear about the second one.
That said, these 5 steps to a better relationship apply to monogamous people just as much as polyamorous.
1. COMMUNICATION! That is not in all caps because of being a title. It’s for emphasis on the importance of this point. I mentioned processing above. Processing can be many things to many relationship types. For my anchor and I, we both are big communicators. We like to talk things out, discuss them before they happen, and generally come to an understanding of how the other person feels before something happens sexually, before we date someone else, or before other major decisions about life. You’d be shocked how much this helps you in the bedroom. Think your partner hasn’t been paying much attention to you lately? Try paying attention to them in other ways. Talk to them. You’d be amazed what results from that.
2. Openness is another way you can have a better relationship, both mental and physical. Openness is really just another way of saying “trust” and who doesn’t want trust in a relationship? I’m not saying you have to share every random thought you have with your partner or partners. In fact, it’s good to have some things that are just yours, which leads me to point number three.
3. Have your own interests and spend some time apart. That expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder” wasn’t written as a complete lie and has managed to survive this long for a reason. If he wants a night out with the guys to play poker or go drinking, that should sound like a great idea. If she wants the same, great. Let’s not be sexist here. I’m just as likely to enjoy a night out drinking and going to clubs with my girlfriends as my Anchor would with his male friends.
4. The best time to deal with fights is before they happen. What I mean by this is that you should know how each of you handles conflict and find a middle ground for dealing with it. Sometimes you have polar opposite conflict resolution styles and they may seem impossible to mesh. My ex liked to take off camping for a couple days while I like to resolve things the second they happen and I panic if I can’t. Not exactly compatible. Talk about these things at the beginning, when your relationship starts to take a more serious turn. Maybe the “rule” is that no one leaves but you can go to different rooms to relax for a minute. Or maybe you both agree that space is needed and you each leave the house for a few hours to come back and solve the problem at a later time. Find what works for you as a couple, but be open to listening to the other person’s needs and habits.
5. Keep things exciting, both in regular everyday life and in the bedroom. That can mean many things to many people and I will leave it up to your interpretation. Some of my suggestions include anything that deviates from the norm, even temporarily. My Anchor and I plan to take a cross country trip with our kids when they are a bit older. We are on a limited budget so we have started planning now for it. There are smaller things you can do, go try an unusual activity together, get out of the house, move your body! Go have fun!
A Better Relationship is Not Easy
The reason this article doesn’t have “easy” in the title is simple – relationships aren’t easy. I could trap you with “5 EASY Steps to a Better Relationship” but I’d be lying. Even the best relationships take work. At thirty-two I found the person I fit best with in this whole world. Every day is a joy to be with him and I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve disagreed. Despite that, we still work at our relationship and we work to make things great. Five of the many things we do are listed above.
So go out and have a better relationship! And if you can’t do that with the person you’re with then have a better relationship with yourself and let that lead you to where you are supposed to be.