Here are my thoughts on four principles to enhance relationships:
1) Create your own relationship doctrine
To me poly is innovation in relationship. It is going beyond a set of rules or a prescribed marriage doctrine to discover what works for you. Agreements evolve from your unique relationship vision. It saddens me when I hear people talk about the poly “rules” implying that there is only one way to do it—which is usually the way they have set it up. I define poly as loving many, thinking out of the relationship box, and understanding that people’s needs change—and responding to those changes with new agreements if necessary.
Everyone is participating with full awareness and consent. Poly is not “cheating”. There is clear communication. But this is not about having to reveal every thought and detail to your partner. And I do know people who have an open relationship but don’t go into much more discussion than that, and it works for them. For me poly is about loving people out in the open with no shame. However, privacy is important too, but that’s different from hiding.
3) Being Sex positive
There’s too much shame and guilt about sex. A close friend of mine who has a definite poly philosophy towards love and sex said “It’s sad when people feel guilty about love or sexual feelings, because it’s so natural. It’s liking eating or breathing.” To me poly philosophy incorporates this belief, that sex is natural, it is positive, it is okay to be attracted to more than one person. An off shoot of this philosophy is the understanding that we are separate people—I don’t own you. I don’t own your sexuality, or body.
4.) Relationship as a Growth path
Growing and evolving together, and having a relationship that responds to change is cutting edge and exciting. It is part of a bigger evolution that is happening historically in marriage and long term relationships. Which is about having a relationship that is big enough to contain all parts of our beings, I think of it as an ongoing conversation that in which both partners are current about their needs. There is space for both of us to be more of who we are. Relationship can be a path of transformation, healing and growth.