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PQ 10.1 — What needs am I trying to address with this agreement?

·356 words·2 mins
PQ Series

PQ 10.1 — What needs am I trying to address with this agreement?


I’ve previously written about best practices for negotiating a polyamorous relationship agreement.

Today’s question is a good one to ask yourself when you’re enmeshed in that process: What needs am I trying to address?

People new to polyamory often have concerns about setting off into new territory. And it’s not like monogamy, where we have relationships modeled for us. Although to be honest, maybe we shouldn’t take a lot of what we’re exposed to as how-to.  Poly Land, still a better love story than Twilight.

Still, setting out without a map can be rather daunting. And in this case, needs can be an excellent starting point.

Common Needs

Everyone’s needs will be slightly different of course. But here are a few very common ones that many people share:

  • To stay safe from physical or emotional harm.
  • To be treated honestly and ethically.
  • To be respected.
  • To feel valued by those close to us.
  • To feel useful.

(Please also see  Murray’s classic psychological work on psychogenic needs in personality.)

If you lack dating experience or it’s been a while since you’ve dated, it might be very difficult to determine what your needs are going in. Or you may feel like you don’t have very many needs at all (note: you might find that this is not actually be the case once you start seeing people and might have more needs than you realize).

And even if you do recognize what your needs are fairly easily, it can _still _be tricky structuring your relationship agreement around them.

But never fear! It’s very common to find that your relationship agreement works out differently in practice than it did in theory. And when this happens, it’s important to check back in and discuss. Even renegotiate the terms. See this post for more details on renegotiating a relationship agreement.


This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.


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