Some people may romanticize Polyamory as a “Free Love” movement which rejects marriage, and all limits, conditions and/or rules on love. Even though my family and I like to think of ourselves as social rebels, we have realized profound levels of trust, freedom and liberation through writing down our relationship agreements! The co-creation of a relationship contract is an art which leads to greater understanding of self and others.
In this blog post I will share why written relationship agreements for polyamory are so important and simple instructions for how to create your own poly contract.
If you are not currently in relationship, it is still valuable to explore your needs, desires, triggers and bottom lines. This personal growth work will help you attract an appropriate partner or partners in the near future.
For success in Polyamory, clear communication is absolutely vital. One of the clearest forms of communication is the written word, because over time, or in the heat of passion, our clearest intentions, or verbal conversations can be forgotten and/or misunderstood. In order to avoid unnecessary pain, we recommend relationship boundaries and agreements be written down in the form of a contract so that they can be remembered and reviewed over time.
When you are creating your relationship agreements for polyamory, keep in mind, that with more experience, comfort and support, your rules will change and evolve. It is inevitable that some agreements will have to be revised and that some agreements will become unnecessary. We must give ourselves and our partners permission to communicate, renegotiate, forgive and accommodate. As you evolve and become more adept you may decide to keep looser agreements or fewer rules.
However, if you are new to poly, we suggest you move only as fast as the slowest link in your relationship chain. If the relationship is meant to be, everyone involved will grow together. If it is not meant to be, you may grow apart. (Separation can also be a profound opportunity for spiritual growth.)
Remember, rules are made to be broken. We are human, after all. Ideally, communication occurs before an agreement is broken, but we’ve experienced incidences when this is not possible. We are not suggesting license for anything goes. We simply recognize that as a subculture, polyamorous people tend to be renegade spirits who rebel against rules. It is not uncommon for individuals, couples and pods to outgrow their agreements as fast as they can discuss them.
5 EASY STEPS TO CREATING RELATIONSHIP AGREEMENTS FOR POLYAMORY:
We have found that creating a written contract can be fun! It is a declaration to the universe that you and your partner(s) aren’t subject to unconscious mainstream conditioning. It may be as formal or as poetic as you like. Here is the suggested process:
1) Look within your heart. Journal, Meditate and reflect the ideal terms of your relationship within yourself first. Consider what worked and didn’t work in past relationships. What would you like to see in your future relationships?
2) Discuss, and Process and Negotiate with your partner(s). Dialog with your lover(s) about the pros and cons of various terms, don’t just suggest rules, but look at the underlying needs that are met by those rules…what is the best strategy to meet the underlying needs?
3) Once we have worked out the details of our agreements through journaling or dialog, it is time to put our agreements in black and white. Make a draft on paper and revise as many times as necessary.
4) Once you and your partner(s) have agreed on the terms contract, sign it.
5) Save it somewhere so you can retrieve it and review it during periodic relationship discussions. We recommend regular intervals such as 1 year, 1 month, or every season.
Writing a Poly contract is not going to solve all your problems, but it can sure make life easier and avoid some major pitfalls. I hope this article inspires you to try it and let us know how it goes.
*If you want to see a real life personal example of how the San Diego polyamory family has a written their relationship agreements contract go to this blog post with a behind the scenes look at our polyamory contract.
*Some of the excerpts above are taken from Sacred Sexual Healing by Baba Dez and Kamala Devi
**Photo Credits: Lucas North and Showtime. All Rights Reserved by Polyamory: Married & Dating.