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4 min read

What Can Polyamory Therapists Help With? Plus, Tips for Austinites

Key Takeaways:

  • Polyamory is a type of romantic relationship that involves more than two people.
  • Because polyamorous relationships are relationships, they may become conflicted, tense, and stressful
  • Therapy with a licensed professional may be able to help you work through problems in a safe and healthy way

For much of history, monogamy has been the only "acceptable" form of romance. In the days of lead paint and asbestos, for example, being in anything other than a cisgender, heterosexual, monogamous relationship was considered “against the grain” by most mainstream circles.

Luckily, the world today is a bit more sophisticated. We don't paint our houses with poison or stuff carcinogens in our walls, and most of us know scientifically and happily accept that gay, trans, and polyamorous people exist, among a host of other beautiful, valid, and diverse groups.

Polyamory is a very broad class of romantic and sexual dynamics that encompasses dozens of arrangements. The only core characteristic between them is that romance happens between more than two people.

Because there is still work to be done on the general societal acceptance of monogamous relationships, and because any romantic relationship can become conflicted or confusing, therapy for monogamous relationships exists.

Let's explore it, and what it can do for polyamorous relationships in Austin:

What is considered a polyamorous relationship?

Mental Health Concerns in Polyamorous Relationships (And How a Therapist May Be Able To Help)

Polyamory-Friendly Therapy in Austin: Williamsburg Therapy Group

What is considered a polyamorous relationship?

A polyamorous relationship is any relationship in which more than two people share love, affection, or intimacy.

There are thousands of arrangements of polyamory that we could spend all day exploring - and all of them are valid so long as they are consensual - but here are a couple of the most common general forms.

Multi-Partner Relationships

Multi-partner relationships are exactly what they sound like: multiple people love each other romantically within the same relationship.

Even within this broad category, there are many kinds of relationships. The most important thing to understand is that they are relationships, and therefore can become disordered, conflicted, or strenuous.

In any relationship, each partner is an individual with their own immensely complex psyches and thought processes. In a relationship with two people, melding those minds together can be tough. In relationships with more than two people, it can be very tough indeed.

That's why some therapists specialize in relationship therapy. It's so hard to untangle our own relational issues, that a professional is often better suited to do so.

Open Relationships

Open relationships typically start as monogamous relationships, and then become open once both partners realize they are polyamorous, or agree to explore other relationships.

Because an open relationship typically forms from a monogamous relationship, the transition can often be a fascinating - and very confusing - experience. Therapists often help these relationships set and navigate boundaries, explore the thoughts and feelings behind opening the relationship, and ensure that the relationship remains open consensually or otherwise closes.

More About Consensual Non-Monogamy

Polyamorous relationships are, by definition, consensual. This means that everyone involved in the relationship has agreed to the structure of the relationship.

This is in contrast to nonconsensual non-monogamy, which is another word for cheating. Note that cheating can still occur in polyamorous relationships.

Mental Health Concerns in Polyamorous Relationships (and How a Therapist May Be Able to Help)

Because of the number of minds involved and the overall societal stigma that still lingers regarding non-monogamy, there are several conflicts or mental health concerns that can arise in polyamorous relationships.

Let's explore some of them.

Jealousy

One of the more common feelings that may arise in a relationship with more than two people is jealousy.

Jealousy can present in these relationships because of several factors, including:

  • Inordinate amounts of time spent between certain partners, and not with others
  • Inordinate amounts of sexual activity between certain partners, and not with others
  • New members commanding more of a presence in the relationship

When jealousy comes forth in a polyamorous relationship, it can have an effect on the overall mental health and happiness of every member. A therapist may be able to parse through the dynamic, find the root cause, and work to amend it - or at least start the conversation and guide it in a healthy way.

Living Situation Conflict

If you and your partners live together, you may have disagreements about chores, cleanliness, and the division of responsibilities.

This, if infrequent and addressed through communication, is completely normal.

However, if you find that you are having frequent or very intense arguments with your partners, you may want to consider addressing them in therapy.

Often, what starts as a conversation about washing the dishes has underlying emotionally rooted issues, like feeling a lack of respect from a partner.

General Bonding Work

In any relationship, the bond between partners ebbs and flows over time. Therapy can help partners rekindle romance, sex, and friendship that seems to have waned.

Even if there is nothing wrong with the relationship, therapy can be a fun, engaging, and effective way to boost your connections with one another! There's no wrong reason to go to therapy.

Changing Dynamics in a Polyamorous Relationship

Many relationships have dynamics in terms of how partners relate to one another. For example, in an open relationship, one partner may be required to ask for permission before bringing home another partner.

Often, over time, these dynamics change. One partner may decide that he, she, or they are no longer comfortable with the current dynamic, and wish to change it.

Regardless of why, changing a relationship's style or dynamic can be a source of tension and anxiety, and often of conflict.

Therapy for polyamorous couples can help you navigate that change in a way that is healthy and productive, so nobody gets left behind or stuck in a position they don't want to be in.

Polyamory-Friendly Therapy in Austin: Williamsburg Therapy Group

Williamsburg Therapy Group is ready to help Austin's vibrant polyamorous community find the peace and harmony they deserve.

Our team of doctoral-level relationship psychologists possesses unrivaled expertise when it comes to relationship dynamics and conflicts for polyamorous partners.

Give us a call, and our dedicated patient coordinator will match you with the right therapist for your situation. Or, you can book online by clicking the button below.

Feeling better may be closer than you think!

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

 

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