As someone who took the safe space of her long-term monogamous relationship and opened it up to other people, I can attest that the road to freedom may be a bit bumpy, but that it’s well worth it! Getting more fully out of our gendered roles as husband and wife had the added benefit of helping us both to grow as people and as a couple — and not just to have more varied sex. We had to really talk and communicate about our needs and fears in a way that we didn’t when we were hiding within the confines of a relationship that had largely been defined for us rather than by us.
Since there is no one way to do polyamory, we had to (and continue to have to) negotiate with our partners about what the relationship will look like and what the boundaries are. It’s a really, really healthy way to be in relationship with anyone, in a sexual setting or not, whether it be a long-term connection or one that only lasts for a couple of hours. It’s kind of the definition of a partnership-oriented model rather than the patriarchal domination-based one that most people are living with. It’s been really interesting to me as I learn more about this life-style to see how, although it’s not perfect, it is largely saner and more egalitarian than the vanilla world.