What I appreciate about polyamory the most is its flexibility and its emphasis on communication, understanding, honesty, and emotional intelligence. You make your own rules. You stick to them, but you may change them as you need or as your circumstances evolve. You talk about everything with your partner(s).
Nowadays I like entering new relationships that are already open because I learned how to orient myself in an open/poly environment, I know what to expect, and I understand jealousy. However I believe there is something really interesting about starting out in a monogamous relationship and opening it up after a while.
As Jules explains in detail in his post How we became polyamorous, we eased into non-monogamy together, helping each other along the way. We gave each other as much time as we needed to cope with the emotions and obstacles that we encountered along the way. We paced ourselves in order to nurture and grow our relationship.
We read a lot. I actually read more on the topic of non-monogamy than Jules at first: he started the polyamorous conversation by introducing The Moral Animal to me, but I was the one who became very curious and started reading books like Opening Up and The Ethical Slut. I had too many questions that needed answers, as is natural for anyone when introduced to a controversial topic. All the new knowledge made me comfortable with what I feel and what I believe. I totally re-evaluated my thoughts about jealousy and romantic love. I became more comfortable with intimacy, my body, and my sexuality. I evolved into a new person.
As much of a skeptic as I am, I couldn't find anything wrong with the polyamorous lifestyle. Mind you, I was already armored by amazing books such as How We Know What Isn't So, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and others, so I was not easily swayed into a new way of looking at relationships–even though I was open minded.
Being previously a strict monogamist, engaging solely in serious exclusive long-term relationships in the past, I believe the fact we both had such a strong monogamous foundation was absolutely crucial for our further development and long-term success. We were together for about a year before we even started casually talking about it. I think it was mainly thanks to the fact that we were so happy together that we started to consider non-monogamy. It is probably a bad idea to open a relationship to solve inherent problems; opening up a monogamous relationship is only a good idea when you have a strong and healthy relationship to begin with (because the transition is disruptive).
Because of our conversations and exploration, we realized we both wanted to be soul mates and that there was no problem in our relationship at all. We both want to see our future together, so we have embarked on this exciting journey of polyamory together to maximize our happiness, supporting each other at all times.
Here are my favorite books I talked about (and an extra bonus!) - click on the image to find see them on amazon!
These three books are an amazing introduction to skepticism. They teach you how to spot common fallacies, avoid misunderstanding, and detect nonsense. They introduce you to some prevalent popular wisdom legends that are in fact bogus.
These books are concerned with human nature, sexuality, and relationships. Great amount of information if you are curious about polyamory and why people choose it as their relationship model.
Robust things remain unchanged under applied pressure, fragile things break. Nicholas Nassim Taleb defines antifragile systems as those that gain from disorder. An essential read for all that want to learn how to thrive in an unstable and ever-changing environment!