relationship struggles

Challenges of Polyamorous Relationships

Challenges of Choosing POlyamory

Nearly every couple I work with wants to know the pros and cons of choosing an open relationship.  You can read these previous posts to learn more about the benefits and reasons people choose polyamory or nonmonogamy.  


Today I want to share a list of the most common challenges in open relationships.  


The Challenges of Choosing an Open Relationship


  • More emotional work

All relationships require emotional work, but choosing more relationships means choosing more emotional work, conversations, and reflection.  If you're not into processing, reflecting, listening, and empathizing polyamory might not be a great fit for you.

  • Not enough time

The number one complaint I hear from long-term couples is a lack of time.  Most of us have trouble managing our schedule with only one partnership- try taking a look at your schedule and seeing where you would fit in time to give focused energy to more people in your day or on a regular basis- it gets challenging real fast.

That's not to say you can't make it work (google calendar is a great resource here) but if you are already very busy you might want to consider how you structure your time before diving into more relationships.

  • Lacking (perceived) relationship security

This one is really hard for some folks but it is completely true.  Even though we know the statistics (that 80% of relationships involve infidelity) lots of people feel more secure pretending that security is real.  For some people, that security (even imagined security) is just too important.  If that's you, nonmonogamy might not be your jam.

  • More miscommunication

More communication with more people means more opportunity for miscommunication.  Before you start to open your relationship consider your skills around resolving miscommunication.  You might want support from a therapist or coach to help you deal with the kinds of misunderstandings that arise in polyamory.

  • Feelings of jealousy, fear, insecurity

Ideally, we would all move past jealousy into a place where we feel nothing but compersion (the loving appreciation/admiration we feel when our partner experiences something great with someone else) but we don't live in an ideal world.  

Most of us wrestle with jealousy from time to time.  Facing these feelings is a real challenge for many people practicing polyamory.

  • Stigma

There are all kinds of messages we receive in our culture about how to do relationships "right" and almost all of those tell us heterosexual monogamy is the best/healthiest relationship model out there.

These messages are so strong, many of us internalize them and experience real shame about our relationship choices.  Overcoming this stigma is a significant challenge for many of the open relationship clients I see. 

  • Finding community and support

Because nonmonogamy still carries a stigma, it can be really difficult for people to come out to co-workers, family, and children.  Many of the couples I support site this as a real challenge to finding support for their relationship (as well as finding other partners).  

It's not impossible, but finding a supportive community for your unique relationship can be a real challenge.


If you want support overcoming these challenges as you open your relationship give me a call for a consultation.  I'm happy to help you nurture your relationship (monogamous or otherwise).

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).