Have I Just Been Polybombed? Polyamorous relationships


Andrew Macdonald is a counsellor for people who are polyamorous
Andrew Macdonald has some relationship advice for people who are polyamorous. Photo: Supplied.

Communication is key at the start of any relationship, and that can be particularly important for people who are in polyamorous relationships or non-monogamous in other ways.

Think back ten years and ask yourself if you had ever heard the term “polybombed.”

Maybe even ask yourself if you had heard the term “ghosted,” “gaslit” or even “catfished.”

There’s plenty of views on what it means to be “polybombed.”

Some folks in the poly world take much offence at the use of the term.

In my clinic there’s a common explanation when clients use this term.

Essentially they are describing a situation where they think they are in a monogamous relationship only to have their partner surprise them with their views that they are polyamorous and have already been seeing other people.

In other words, the common theme for folks using this term is that they were in the dark about their partner (who they thought was monogamous) seeing other people.

An interesting aspect that comes up for many is that they go along and agree with the situation to begin with.

Sure, there might be some shock and evaluation, but plenty of people say “oh, okay, if that’s what you want.”

But this can often diminish our own needs and wants when it comes to a relationship, usually leading to resentment and regret down the track.

The other reaction that comes up is a version of “my partner has been cheating on me.”

My take on polybombing is that it is only “bombing” if there’s not early and clear communication about the relationships we want and how we turn up in them.

Waiting until you have already been poly without a partner knowing potentially sets things up for failure.

-Andrew Macdonald is a psychotherapist and counsellor providing video-based sessions Australia-wide. Visit jeffersonplace.com.au to book an appointment.

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

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