This is the second instalment of Feeld Stories, a platform for Feeld members who would like to share their experiences and stimulate productive discussion around unconventional desires and relationships. Conceived as a space for honest insight, not sensationalism or stereotyping, the series are part of our movement to normalise sexuality in its multiplicity.
Some answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Isabel* shares her experience of exploring ethical non-monogamy and connecting with multiple partners.
What question do you get asked the most in regards to your relationship structure? How do you answer this question?
Only a few friends know of my openness – and while they are very open minded and nothing but nice about it, most of the questions they have are about how I emotionally separate the different relationships. I tell them that each person offers something different; I show and receive love in many different ways. I’m not sure that this is something I will do forever, but it is working right now.
Do you have any ‘rules’ for dating openly?
Draw your boundaries and make those boundaries clear before diving into a relationship. Whether that means not sleeping over or certain things that are reserved for a primary partner, make sure everyone knows what is OK and what is not.
There is always a portion of insecurity when it comes to open relationships. I have struggled with feeling affirmation from the people I date, precisely because their time and my time is split between multiple people. I deal with that by being open and honest about what I need from them and by talking candidly about how I feel. I also make sure to practice a lot of self-care so that I am not relying too heavily on a partner for affirmation.
Do you find there are certain personality traits which you find more common in polyamorous people?
I have found that polyamorous people are more communicative and trustworthy; I think people often assume the opposite! To be in a successful polyamorous relationship(s) means trust and open communication are absolutely necessary – whether in regard to your rules, emotional or physical boundaries, or regular testing.