“Daddy Kenneth: can you explain how a poly relationship is supposed to work in theory? How do you balance things so your primary does not feel left out when your secondaries cause more than their share of drama?”
Poly is a type of relationship where the participants feel that they are capable of being involved in more than one romantic relationship at a time. There are various ways to engage in poly relationships, including: Closed Poly Relationships in which the participants share love and sex with only each other, similar to a monogamous relationship but with more than two people. Primary/Secondary Relationships where the poly person will share more of their life with one person (usually this includes things like children, living spaces, shared bills etc) as well as romance and sex, and will share romance and sex with additional people. Polygamy is where one person has multiple partners, but the others in their relationship do not.
In order to work, all the partners must be “in the know” about the relationships and their statuses and functions. This requires communication, patience, and understanding on all parts. Many poly people reject the notion of “happily ever after” and subscribe instead to the ideology that relationships are by nature transient. You can share a part of your life with someone for a length of time, and then stop sharing your life with that person without your life or theirs ending. Sometimes a secondary relationship will grow into a primary relationship while a primary relationship fades back into a secondary relationship. Sometimes secondary relationships will end all together and a new one doesn’t start for many years. The key to any poly relationship is mutual love, trust, respect and communication with your partners. Also remember, it is not your place to communicate with your partner’s partners, unless they are also your partners.
A person causing drama in a relationship is attempting to communicate, but doing so in a way that is not constructive. Listen to all aspects of that communication: The timing, the preceding events, the follow up events. Determine what it is that the person is asking for. Once you are aware what their problem is, encourage them to bring that problem to you in a more constructive manner. If they feel they are not getting enough of your time, talk with your primary about adjusting the time tables. If they feel that you are disrespecting them, look at your self and determine if that’s true. It could be that they are just being selfish and childish, how would you deal with that if you were in a 1 on 1 relationship with this person and there were no other partners involved? Once you have an established protocol for constructive communication, resist the urge to give into the dramatic communication. If your primary is feeling threatened by these bursts of dramatic communication, make sure you set aside some drama free time with your primary. Disconnect your computers, turn off your phones, lock your doors, and light a scented candle, and share some quality time with your primary.