How deep can you go when you have multiple partners?

A common argument from people sceptical of polyamory as a viable relating dynamic, is that it doesn’t go deep enough because you don’t get to spend all your time together like you would in monogamy.

Being drawn to each other in monogamy often leads to spending as much time as you can together, building intimacy and trust through sheer force of physical contact and presence. It also often means neglecting other important relationships in your life, such as friends, in favour of your monogamous partner. This is clearly not a requirement of monogamy, yet so often there is an unconscious choice to spend time as a ‘couple’ even when seeing friends. Reducing the opportunities to spend 1:1 time with a friend means not going as deep with them while deepening your connection to your romantic partner.

When I have multiple partners or if I want to be open to more than one partner, it isn’t a viable option to spend all my free time with one person. As much as I might be excited about a new partner, I have commitments to existing partners and to myself, preventing me from seeing them as frequently as I might have liked. But I don’t believe this means we don’t go as deep, or won’t get to the same level of intimacy as in monogamy.

What I have is an expansive mindset that allows us to be patient and stretch the process over a longer period of time. There’s an openness that lets us skip the small talk and show vulnerability faster to build that intimacy. There’s acceptance in getting to know each other over time. And there’s a sense that I can trust myself to be resilient if things don’t work out, and so I can offer my heart more freely. A good foundation can be built even without seeing each other daily or even staying in daily contact.

Having healthy boundaries that enable sustainably managing multiple relationships is not about keeping people from getting close to you. Rather, your boundaries are meant to show people how close they can come towards you. When you frame boundaries like this for yourself, you will find it easier to develop and uphold boundaries and you will feel safer getting close to your partner/s.

To be successful at non-monogamy, you need to have access to your full emotional range, have good communication skills, know to set your boundaries, respect your partners’ boundaries and aim to feel you can always be your authentic self.

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