Smart Sex, Smart Love with Dr Joe Kort
Martha Kauppi on Successful Polyamory
Can a polyamorous relationship work? Is monogamy the only relationship that can succeed? According to Certified Sex Therapist Martha Kauppi, beautifully functioning open relationships can and do work! Polyamory involves engaging in multiple romantic or sexual relationships with different people. These relationships will work, but couples must first put the right pieces in place to ensure a secure, successful, workable and healthy polyamorous relationship.Here are a few factors to consider before deciding if a polyamorous relationship is right for you, Martha shares.One partner may want an open relationship, but the other partner is dead set against it. One partner tried a polyamorous relationship in the past and it didn’t work, so he/she is hesitant to try again. One partner breaks the relationship agreement.Couples don’t know they need to set up “ground rules” to make the relationship work.One partner is worried the other partner may fall in love with his/her new partner.These are just a few concerns couples need to resolve before considering a polyamorous relationship, Martha explains during a Smart Sex, Smart Love podcast. First, begin building the polyamorous relationship structure – valuing your personal growth and always expressing your thoughts and feelings with transparency and honesty. Don’t shy away from the tough questions and challenges. Ask the hard questions, have the difficult conversations, talk about the uncomfortable feelings. Hammer it out. Ultimately, you will find the answers you are looking for. Next, develop an agreement that both partners are comfortable with. Really be honest with yourself and your partner about what you want in this relationship. Can you make it work? Do you want to make it work? Are you agreeing to things because you want to be a partner pleaser or because you want to avoid conflict? In either case, the agreement – and the relationship – will not succeed because you are not being completely truthful. The agreement requires a lot of self-awareness. It won’t work magically. Ultimately, together you can create an incredibly beautiful and strong relationship.Remember, to maintain a strong, open relationship, continue communicating, talk about issues as they surface so you can resolve them quickly, listen to what your partner wants and be receptive to making changes in the agreement.The agreement can be fluid, Martha points out. She encourages couples to check-in with each other often to make sure both partners still are comfortable with the agreement. If you want to renegotiate your relationship “contract,” be open to changing it as you learn more about this new relationship and how it is working. For example, maybe you’ve decided you don’t want to know if your partner is seeing someone else, or you want a phone call if your partner decides to stay out all night. Add these to the agreement. The goal is to adjust the agreement, not break it. If you find you cannot keep the agreement, maybe you are not ready for a polyamorous relationship. Talk about that, too. It is important to build a secure, trusting relationship.Creating a polyamorous relationship agreement can be incredibly emotionally weighted, in fact, it can be scary as hell, but can do it if you are willing to work at it – just like any other relationship.