What’s on—and off—the table for your poly dynamic?
A while back, I created a free Yes No Maybe List for ENM (ethical nonmonogamy). I shared it with clients and class attendees interested in exploring open relationships.
I later decided to include the list in my Talking About Sex communication activity book. (You can sign up to get the book and ENM list here.)
The feedback on this yes-no-maybe worksheet has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s helped many people figure out what aspects of ethical nonmonogamy interest them.
It’s also helped some partnered folks figure out that they’re not on the same page when it comes to opening a relationship.
Polyamory, for instance, tends to be a common sticking point.
That’s not to say polyamorists don’t have sex, of course. Most probably do. However, asexual polyamorists certainly exist—as do many other folks and dynamics that include emotional connection without sex.
Polyamory makes an appearance, but honestly, it’s a big enough topic to warrant its own separate list.
That’s because polyamory involves a level of emotional investment that other forms of nonmonogamy don’t necessarily require.
What’s the Point of Polyamory?
Many people struggle to understand how polyamory is different than strictly sexually open relationships.
They’ll ask, “Why bother getting emotionally invested in additional partners when you already have someone you love?”
Or, “Doesn’t getting emotionally attached to others mean you don’t really love your current partner?”
For people who are emotionally/romantically monogamous, these are valid questions. It may make more sense to open their relationship sexually while “keeping feelings out of it”. This usually means having a no-strings-attached approach to sex with others.
It can be hard to understand what it’s like to be polyamorous if you are not.
I can attest first-hand to the transcendent power of having multiple loving relationships. Polyamory isn’t possessive. It isn’t about “collecting” partners or finding a third to seek validation by having many lovers.
Polyamory is about loving whoever comes into your life that calls upon your love and welcoming love from all who care to extend it to you.
Sound a bit too woo-woo? That’s okay. Polyamory isn’t for everyone, and no one is “lesser than” anyone else for not being polyamorous.
Shaping Your Poly Relationship
Every polyamorous partnership does things a bit differently.
While most polyamorists tend to operate on values like honesty, communication, respect, and autonomy, there are as many ways to “do poly” as there are to love.
A comprehensive yes-no-maybe list for polyamory would probably constitute an entire book.
Is Poly for Me? The Free Polyamory Yes-No-Maybe List
If you’re not sure whether polyamory is for you or your relationship, a yes-no-maybe list for polyamory is very helpful for figuring that out.
Even if you’re sure you’re interested, a yes-no-maybe list is an extremely useful tool for discovering what polyamory ideally looks for you.
Here’s a free yes-no-maybe list for polyamory to help you decide what you may or may not be interested in as you explore possible relationship dynamics.
It’s easier to view on desktop, but you can download the PDF if you’re on mobile:
Yes-No-Maybe lists are traditionally designed to be shared between partners.
You can still use them if you’re single, of course. If that’s the case, however, I’d encourage you to also check out my recent post: 10 Boundaries for Happy Polyamory. This post was written with individuals rather than partnered folks in mind.
Also, I can’t recommend The Ethical Slut and Polysecure enough if you’re new to polyamory. Both books are excellent introductions to navigating these early explorations.
The Jealousy Workbook is also an essential resource if and when that green-eyed monster rears its head.
Hi there! I’m Shannon, a poly, kinky, queer coach based in New Orleans.
Book a discovery call to talk about your poly goals and find out how I can help you build the healthy, happy relationships you and your partners deserve:
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Watch my recorded webinar all about happy, healthy polyamory.
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