Polyamorous people are diverse. We come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, have different affiliations when it comes to everything from religion to politics, and have varying lifestyles. About the only thing all polyamorous people have in common is that they are polyamorous and they are people.
There are also many, many different ways being polyamorous works out in a person's life. There are people who are most comfortable in, for example, a triad relationship in which each person is with the other two, living together and usually sleeping together, and that triad may be completely closed or one, two, or all three people might be looking for other partners. Or, someone may prefer being with just one partner, but understands and agrees that their partner has other partners.
With that in mind, let's see a write-up from Marty Patail at pdxmonthly.com that is headlined with "How do Do Polyamory, Successfully"...
Russell and Gina have been married since 2011. Both have other romantic partners also in polyamorous marriages. And those partners have other relationships. And so on.Got it?
1. There’s no such thing as TMI. It’s all about communication. Not only do Gina and Russell make time for daily conversations, check-ins, and tell-alls, they are in constant contact via text or phone whenever they spend time with their other partners. Explains Russell: “It helps defuse things like jealousy and envy. It helps set expectations—when I’ll be leaving, when I’ll be coming back. It provides transparency.”Actually, there can be TMI. It's up to the individuals involved. People an be like Gina or Russell, and might even want to discuss just about every detail of plans and then what actually ended up happening, but other people might not want to hear much of any of it.
4. Get to know your lovers’ lovers. Poly couples still get jealous. According to Gina, they deal with it by getting to know the other people in their partner’s lives. “The tendency is to build things up in your head. ‘I haven’t met you, so you must be way cuter, younger, smarter, sexier.’ It helps alleviate a lot of concerns if you get face to face.”This can be very helpful, but it isn't how everyone wants it to be. As with the first point, some people prefer not to hear about it, some prefer not to talk about it with their other partner(s). Personally, I wouldn't want to be with someone I knew was with someone else and I could never meet that person. I don't want to be someone's cheating partner. That's not polyamory. Other people say "If my partner is cheating on someone, that's on them," and I agree to some extent, but for me, I'm most comfortable if I know the other partner(s) are aware and approving.
5. Never force it. Some think polyamory is a lifestyle; others think it’s a sexual orientation. (Russell is in the former camp, Gina in the latter.) Either way, Gina says, building a monogamous relationship with a someone who you hope will be open to polyamory later is a bad idea. “Having someone change who they are for you is not a good way to go.”This is a common question for polyamorous people: "How soon do I discuss with someone I'm seeing that I'm polyamorous or looking for a polyamorous relationship?" If you've met through a polyamory group or through an online service where you indicated you're polyamorous, that's already taken care of. But if it is someone you met another way, it is a different matter. Generally, I say that someone shouldn't assume that someone who hasn't explicitly promised monogamy is being monogamous, nor should anyone who hasn't explicitly asked for monogamy expect it. However, monogamy is presented by much of our culture as the ideal and the norm. So, it is a good idea when the discussion comes up as to why you're dating (just for companionship? looking for a spouse? looking for a partner?), polyamory should be brought up. Example: "I'm polyamorous, and I'm looking for a permanent partner to eventually live with, hopefully for the rest of my life, who will accept and support that I will date others, and I will support that person if they want to date others."
It really helps if you know who you are, what you need, what you have to give, what your limits are, what is negotiable for you, and what is not.
Go read the rest of it.