Aftercare for Polyamory

I was talking to a partner of mine a while ago about dating/fucking other people, and made a connection I hadn’t made before.

A couple of weeks prior, I’d had date with a girl. It was the first time I’d had a date with someone else since my partner and I had gotten together. We talked it over beforehand—how we were both feeling about it, anything either of us was nervous about, etc—and she asked if we could talk about it afterward as well. We did. A part of that conversation was my reassuring her that my feelings toward her had not changed on account of interacting with this new person.

Fast forward a few weeks. We’re talking about any boundaries that might need setting for the convention she’s about to go to, since there’ll likely be lots of kink. After the basic STD rules were laid out, we got to talking about the emotional aspect of it. She asked me if I was okay with her playing with this guy who had asked her to play. I said she could, but that I would want to talk to her about it sometime afterward, to process, and to be reassured that she still felt the same way about me.

It was about this time that I realized that what she had asked for after my date, and I was asking for now was, in a way, similar to aftercare in BDSM. A partner doing things with another person can be an emotional experience for someone. It can be uncomfortable, trigger insecurities, etc, just like BDSM scenes can. Just like scenes, reassurance and support after the fact is sometimes the best way of ameliorating those feelings.

The same way we often need support from people after doing anything emotional, or after anything emotional happens to us. Presentations, fights, break-ups, skydiving, performances, that big exam, whatever. Sometimes the simple, “You were awesome” or “I love you” or “It’ll be okay” or “I still want to fuck you every hour on the hour” is all you need.

So if you’re just trying poly out, or just get those pesky insecurities that pretty much all of us do now and then, ask for aftercare when your partner is doing something that makes you feel icky. One of those useful tools to add to your Relationships Toolbox, along with Communication and Honesty and Being All Thoughtful About Your Feelings And Shit.

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6 comments on “Aftercare for Polyamory

  1. Funny, I have never needed “after care” with my wife whom is in a monogamous marriage with me. She has never needed “after care” either. If you are doing something that requires you to fix something afterwards, it probably indicates that you should re-evaluate your activities. Life is complex enough without adding unnecessary stress, doubt and fear. There are millions of things that I can think of to do in this very finite life that don’t cause the woman I love, stress and discomfort. The concept of polyamory is very destructive on so many levels.

    • “There are millions of things that I can think of to do in this very finite life that don’t cause the woman I love, stress and discomfort.”

      So…do them? What exactly do you care what I’m doing if you’re perfectly content with what you’re doing? And why do you feel like your opinion about a relationship style you’ve just openly admitted you have literally no experience with, matters at all? Even if your opinion did matter by virtue of having any actual relevant experience or information, why on earth, if you’re so happy with where you are, would you feel compelled to be an asshole to a random blogger you found on the internet about it?

      Because that doesn’t actually make you look like you’re happy with your life at all. Nor does it make you look informed or even remotely relevant.

      Also, while we’re on this, why do you describe the things you do as things that won’t cause your wife stress and discomfort as though poly is somehow the husband’s decision rather than a decision mutually agreed upon between all parties involved? Poly isn’t something one person DOES to another person, it’s something PEOPLE decide to do WITH each other.

  2. How do you know the “aftercare” given isn’t a lie? If I’m reading correctly, aftercare’s purpose is to comfort a partner, not to dispel truth. Unless I’m misunderstanding something.

    • You don’t. I would never recommend aftercare as a replacement for talking through trust issues with a partner. I think of aftercare as a useful tool for dealing with the irrational emotional responses that seeing a partner with someone else often triggers. To me, it’s like the emotional version of a massage. If there are real, serious trust issues to address, then I would not recommend aftercare as the solution. I would recommend having a serious, direct discussion about those issues as the solution. Though even in that case, having the serious issues discussion and then following it up with aftercare might be worthwhile.

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