Dear Mrs Salisbury: Is polyamory the answer to my boredom?
Question: We've been together eight years now, most of those good times, but I'm starting to get bored, restless, discontented.
Maybe I'm a serial monogamist, or maybe I'd like to have several partners at once. Perhaps that's what I need to be satisfied. I'm in my early thirties, life is short and I want to make the most of it.
My work is going places; I want a personal life that matches.
Answer: I'm right with you on making the most of life; that's worth putting lots of thought and effort into.
Maybe there is indeed some new variety of luscious green grass just over the fence and all you need to do is vault over and relish the feast.
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It's your choice how you live your life, especially if you don't have responsibility for children.
You may well be capable of having a series of exciting and fulfilling relationships that fade out after a time. Will it trouble you if you break a heart or two along the way?
Are you aware it could be your heart one day if someone drops you just when you're feeling utterly captivated and devoted? Emotions are not as controllable as people sometimes think.
Polyamory, involving various forms of multiple loves, requires a high level of emotional awareness and sophistication to maintain communication about expectations and boundaries, and to cope with the jealousy and moments of aloneness that arise in non-exclusive relationships. Be clear that this is hard work.
My observations suggest that a life well lived requires knowing yourself and being true to your own values. That requires some deep digging and reflection. There's nothing boring about that process.
Start by asking yourself, 'What really matters to me? What gives me deep satisfaction?' Don't stop at simple answers such as 'I love variety.'
Ask again: 'What is it about variety that appeals?' and 'What does that tell me about me?' Have you discussed with your partner how you're feeling?
Just as a pot plant will wither and die without regular watering and feeding, what you get is related to what you put in. Maybe you're bored because you're being boring.
Robyn Salisbury is a clinical psychologist. Email questions to MrsSalisbury@sextherapy.co.nz
- Sunday Magazine