So, I’m poly. I’ve known for years, but I finally have accepted it. Completely. My boyfriend and I have been in a monogamous relationship for two years, and we have recently started to talk to a good friend of ours about joining for a triad. I’m really nervous but really excited, and our biggest worry is communication with me being 100mi away for 2/3rds of the year. Any advice on how to keep the communication alive and well?

First off, good on you guys for taking things slow and figuring things out with honesty and love! Best of luck in your new triad! Long distance is rough on everyone, but I think polyamory can reduce a lot of the stress by removing the fear of “cheating” and the frustration of not getting physical intimacy. 

Keeping communication alive and well in an LDR comes down to some key things:

1.) Establish clear expectations

Some people are into chatty all-day text conversations. Some people are absolutely not. Figure out what kind of LDR communicator you are, and own that. Be clear and up front with your partners about what they can expect from you and what you need from them.

2.) Never assume intent (it’s not about you)

It’s easy to forget that your LDR partner’s world doesn’t revolve around you, because you can’t see the parts of their life that don’t involve you. If you text them and they don’t reply, or send something short, avoid assuming that they’re doing it intentionally because they’re upset or don’t care. You can’t see the other things distracting them, so give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t take things personally.

3.) Get creative

LDRs are most frustrating because they prevent you from having shared experiences, which are the bedrock of relationships. So try to come up with some traditions or ways to stay connected. Maybe you text them a photo of every cool car you see. Maybe you send them a sticker from every show you attend. Maybe you email naughty stories to each other. Maybe you watch the same TV show every week and discuss it afterwards. Whatever works for you, find a way to stay involved in each other’s lives.

4.) Try to avoid info-dump catch-up

One thing that drives me crazy is when I haven’t talked to someone I care about in a while, so when we do get a chance to hang out, I don’t have context for any of their stories, interests, or problems. I can’t get excited about their date with so-and-so if I haven’t been updated on their ongoing crush. I can’t give advice about the new job they were offered if I don’t know how they feel about their current job day-to-day. So make sure you keep each other updated on the little details that make a life make sense, so you can share your lives in meaningful ways.

Good luck!