Is it healthy to think of a polyamorous relationship as a "sacrifice"?

I’m in a relationship w/ a man who has another gf. For all of us, this is our 1st polyam relationship. When I decided this was a relationship I wanted to pursue I told myself that sharing my bf was a sacrifice I was willing to make. When I talked to him about this he said although he doesn’t like the word sacrifice he admits that polyamory is difficult & requires hard work/compromise but that it’s ok b/c we’re all willing to put in the effort to make this a happy relationship. Since this is new to us, I’m still not sure: is it healthy to think of him having another gf as a sacrifice?

It sort of depends on your definition of “sacrifice.” If you really truly would prefer to be in a monogamous relationship and just see his other relationship as a sort of necessary unpleasantness to tolerate so that you can date with this guy, that’s not healthy. I’ve seen people go into relationships from this perspective and it leads to a lot of resentment, denial, and ultimately never ends well.

But if instead you mean that a polyamorous relationship takes work and you’re willing to do that work, you’re willing to be uncomfortable at times, you’re willing to have difficult conversations and do the necessary self-work, that’s a fine perspective to have. It means you’re clear-eyed and honest with yourself and your partners about what trying polyamory will mean for you, and how much effort it will take - effort you’re happy to put in, but which you acknowledge will be required.

I’ve personally used the word sacrifice in this blog, and it’s not inherently a red flag, but your partner is right to flag that it calls for some deeper investigation. Often the language we use points to underlying assumptions that deserve to be interrogated.

If it’s the first, then I’d recommend not getting involved in this relationship. If it’s the second, then I’d recommend taking the word “sacrifice” off the table, since your partner has said that it bothers him, and finding other language to express what you’re trying to say, like “do the work” or “take the risk.”