Moving On From A Long-term Poly Relationship

Apr 11 '2022, 12:43 PM | By Chris

Break-ups are never easy. There are complicated feelings to unpack and shared resources to redistribute, all the while trudging on with your day-to-day. But how do you break up in a poly relationship? We’ll share 5 pieces of advice here to help you maneuver through these difficult times.

5 tips on how to move on from a poly break-up

Use this time to rediscover yourself, what you have learned, and what you would like your future relationships to be like.

1. Allow yourself to feel everything

There are no bad feelings: Emotions are powerful, but they allow us to take a step back and analyze what is important to us at the moment. Do you feel betrayed? If so, you may need to talk to your ex-partner to find closure.

Do you feel anger? Then you may need to find an outlet to release your feelings or you may need time to flesh out your thoughts before expressing them. Emotions do not control us. Rather, we need to transform these feelings into appropriate, emotionally intelligent actions.

Grieving is normal: Like with any break-up, the end of a polyamorous relationship will probably be tinged with mourning and even regret. Let yourself experience grief over the “What if” and “What could have been” that is now in the past.

Not every break-up will be like this: It’s easy to feel jaded after a break-up, no matter how short or long the union was. The most important thing to remember is that no two poly relationships are exactly the same, so no poly relationship break-ups will be, either.

Although you can extract new knowledge about yourself and your poly relationships from your break-up, try not to carry over negative feelings into your dating life.

2. Let all your partners know how you feel

Talk it out: Even if your partner(s) doesn’t want to know all the details about your break-up, a great partner should always be willing to give you a shoulder to cry on. Utilize your village, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Ask for space—or extra support: If you’re worried about bringing others down with your post-break-up mood, take a day or a week to recalibrate. On the other hand, some people prefer to be around others when they are distressed.

3. Build a supportive network

Pick your confidantes: Not everyone gets polyamory. Not everyone wants to understand polyamory, so choose your allies carefully.

Tap into your poly network: The right people can not only comfort you but may be able to empathize with your situation. Other poly friends can share their experiences and may even give you advice on how to move on after a poly break-up.

4. Practice self-care

Eat nourishing food and stay hydrated: You may not feel like doing much now, but healthy food and drink are essential to maintain your mood and health.

Spend time in the sun: Ample exposure to sunlight reduces the likelihood of developing depression and it improves brain function.

Face feelings vs. numbing them: Yes, most people turn to drinks and other substances after a break-up. Yes, the emotional relief may feel gratifying, but it is only temporary.

5. Take time for self-reflection

Go on a trip: Take a page from Meri Brown’s living-my-best-life book and spend a relaxing weekend outdoors with loved ones.

Journal your feelings: Or, express your feelings in whatever way is natural to you. Paint, play sports, dance, build a car model, etc.

Pick up a new hobby: This is a great way to convert negative feelings into something productive. For instance, joining a new class at the gym or trying out pottery helps you develop a new skill while keeping your mind and body occupied.

Related Questions

How long does the average polyamorous relationship last?

A survey of 340 poly respondents (in different poly arrangements, e.g. primary, secondary) found that primary relationships last about eight years while secondary relationships last about five years.

How do breakups work in poly relationships?

This is a self-serving question because it really depends on the relationship. There are various polyamorous arrangements spanning throuples to relationship anarchy.

What can be answered is the question of when to break up with someone. Your experience may differ, but people often break up in open relationships due to a lack of or ineffective communication.

Another big factor in a break-up is whether or not the people involved still share the same life values and life goals. Of course, other variables include whether or not the agreed-upon relationship is casual or serious, whether or not the relationship is hierarchical, and whether or not everyone is satisfied with the current rules and boundaries within the relationship.

How do you feel secure in a poly relationship?

Poly relationships require extra thought and communication.

Establish rules and boundaries

…and revisit them regularly. People in the relationship should not be afraid to question, challenge, or propose an amendment to a rule.

Address all feelings

Read: Talk about jealousy and insecurity. This will not only help you develop better communication skills but build trust between everyone involved. Effective communication takes practice, and when everyone is not committed, that’s when break-ups tend to occur.

Understand that love is not a commodity that’s cut up into pieces

Love is unquantifiable, and poly love is proof that it’s infinite. This is to say that just because your partner is enamored with their new partner does not mean they love you any less.

It just means they have discovered their capacity to love even more, in a whole different way. Their other relationship has no bearing on how they feel for you, because your relationship is unique, too.

Final Thoughts

Cheesy as it sounds, break-ups are the beginning of a new chapter. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new book, even. One thing is for sure when you leave a relationship behind: You take away new experiences and wisdom to help you develop greater relationships in the future.

If you’re having doubts or issues as a sister wife, don’t be afraid to talk about changing the rules. After all, relationships are only successful when everyone is heard and understood

Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc:


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