Function polyamoroese and open relationships

When a partner just wanted to be two

When they start dating other couples, they've been in a relationship for just under ten years. A nice relationship, as they say. Sabine and Hannes have a lot in common: their penchant for philosophizing, their thirst for adventure, their sociability. They climb, ski touring, play tennis, travel through Europe together and even after a decade they still have a lot to say to each other. Only the sex has decreased, the first fall in love has subsided. That bothers them. They know something has to change - and decide to open up the relationship. That should bring new momentum.

They look for like-minded people via an internet exchange and meet with them. They particularly like one couple: Thomas and Nina. He has long hair, tied in a braid, drives a motorcycle. She is an interested listener, reserved and therefore so interesting. The four of them crackle, they meet more and more often. In between meetings, they write in a chat group. "It was Great with you!" or "When can we meet again?" They are planning a vacation together in Greece.

This vacation does not come any more. Because after half a year Hannes and Nina can no longer really be together. Hannes loves political discussions, but Nina is not interested in politics and blocks every time. Her hobby are films, Hollywood films, which Hannes doesn't like at all. Typical differences that arise sooner or later in a young partnership. And mostly lead to both of them saying: It just doesn't fit, let's end it.

That would perhaps also be the case with Hannes and Nina - if it weren't for Thomas and Sabine. They are doing really well. Thomas falls in love with Sabine's direct, lively manner. She, too, likes him more and more and feels flattered by his compliments. He begins to send her messages that the others do not hear about. He writes that he misses her and wants to see her again soon. Nina doesn't mind when she hears about it. Hannes, on the other hand, wants to end the four-way relationship immediately. But he's alone with it.

Without Hannes

What follows is a relationship without Hannes. Sabine, Thomas and Nina found a new chat group, three of them. They keep meeting, just without him. For Hannes it means a roller coaster ride of emotions, jealousy, disappointment, helplessness. And the biting feeling of being left out. His wife understands him, but doesn't want to end the relationship, she has grown too fond of the other two for that.

How could it possibly come this far?

Natascha Ditha Berger is a psychotherapist and specializes in polyamory. She says: "Unfortunately, there are often differences. In polyamorous relationships, differences become clearly visible when it comes to what each individual wants." The way it went with Hannes and Sabine, it often works: one person is no longer interested and also wants to forbid the other to have an outside relationship. But that is not necessarily right, says Berger, "because if Sabine wants to continue to meet the other man, and Hannes forbids her to do so, it can also endanger their relationship. It can be that she feels pressured and sooner or later even separates. After all, Sabine is not Hannes' property. "

Another mistake is the lack of consultation. In polyamorous relationships, says Berger, one thing is needed above all: good communication. It is important to discuss in advance what everyone expects. And also what happens if someone doesn't want to anymore. "A lot of what we do in relationships happens unconsciously. We automatically assume certain things, also because of our cultural background. For example, a four-person relationship ends when someone wants to break up. But in polyamorous relationships a lot has to be renegotiated because they are more complex. " Understanding for one another is crucial. "Because issues arise that you didn't even know were an issue. They are suddenly there and you have to deal with them."

Those who have a polyamorous relationship learn a lot about themselves, about their strengths and weaknesses, says the psychotherapist. For them, that's the beauty of it too. "Polyamory is the best self-awareness." Anyone who is in a relationship with several people is permanently held up in the mirror. Characteristics come to light that were previously unknown, positive and open-minded, but also negative and insecure, which can then lead to jealousy. This is what needs to be dealt with, says Berger. Because those who live polyamorously have to reckon with the fact that sooner or later they will face jealousy.

It is important to be clear beforehand whether you really want that. "Not everyone is made for a poly relationship," says Berger. If you decide to do this, you should prepare yourself for difficult situations. "When I know that my partner is on a date and I sit at home twiddling my thumbs, then it is very clear that I am not feeling well," says the psychotherapist. Her tip: think about what you can do so that you still feel good, keyword self-care. As with any other love affair, it is important to understand that you are responsible for meeting your own needs - and not your partner.

The end of the story

It is extremely rare that relationships between four people, like the one Hannes and Sabine entered into, function over a longer period of time. There is a logical explanation for this: "It is already relatively complicated to find someone with whom it fits. If a couple wants to have a relationship with another for a long time, it becomes all the more complicated."

How did the four go? Thomas, Nina and Sabine continued to meet. Until Thomas started to rail against Hannes. He is not good for Sabine, a bad person. She didn't like that - and she ended the relationship. Hannes and Sabine are together to this day. They continue to meet with couples. But only for an evening or for a weekend. They no longer want to enter into another relationship. You'd rather stay as a couple. (Lisa Breit, April 17, 2021)