If you have decided you will be involved in a polyamorous relationship, you will likely find that the ways you have done things — like make decisions — will have to change to match up with the expectations of the others with whom you are involved. No longer will your decision-making process be determined by you or you and one other person. Instead, you will have to consider input from and outcomes for as many people as are involved with your poly group.
A good place to begin changing your decision-making process is with the following questions:
1. How does this decision affect the people you're involved with?
2. How does this decision affect your larger world?
3. How does this decision affect you?
If you've been single or singularly focused up until this point, your decision-making process is likely focused on question number three more than any of the others. It may take some time and some conscious effort on your part to consider the other two questions before you consider the third.
How does this decision affect the people you're involved with?
It is important to have considered how your decision will affect those with whom you are involved. It is the unwillingness, or inability to consider the affect of your decisions on all involved that leads to strife and pain in poly groups (and other relationships). Before setting out to enact any decisions, consider carefully how those actions will come to affect the people in your poly group.
For example, something as simple as what you are going to make for dinner can become an important part of the relationship building process when you are cooking for your poly group. Are there allergies or food preferences to consider? Will you make a meal that will leave one of the members of your group left out because they cannot or will not eat what you've made? Deciding to make pizza when one of the members of your poly group has a gluten allergy is not going to win you any points with that person or their partners. Instead, you must consider how to feed the group without leaving anyone out. That doesn't mean you have to cook the favorite foods of every individual, but you should consider how it might make the person who is left out feel if you ensure they cannot eat with the family because you choose to cook something that will make them ill.
How does this decision affect your larger world?
This question addresses the importance of the decision you are working with. If the decision has little effect on the larger world, will you be as determined to have your own way? The question of how something affects your larger world can help you decide if you want to be right or happy. If the decision has little or no affect on your world, give up control and let someone else make the decision, or make the decision in a way that will please someone else.
Perhaps you are offered an option of what desert someone will bring to dinner. The options are nothing you personally like, but you don't really care about desert and didn't intend to eat it no matter what was brought. In other words, the decision doesn't have any affect on your world. At that point, you might want to consider the first question and request a desert you know the rest of your group would like.
How does this decision affect you?
This is an important and valid question to ask yourself before you make a decision. If the outcome of the decision doesn't affect you, let someone else make the decision, or offer your opinion with a clear indication of your knowledge that as the decision will not affect you, you are offering an opinion, not an edict.
If, however, the decision has a direct and important affect on you or your life, stand up for yourself. Make the decision that will be healthy and happy for you and the group. Remember that in any poly group, there are still individuals who need to make decisions and keep their lives in order and staying steady on a path to happiness and fulfillment. Do not give up those things that are important to you if doing so will damage your heart and soul.
Decision-making in poly groups can be complicated. It can be incredibly difficult to make decisions that take all three of these questions into account, but if you try—if you make the effort to consider the group and not just yourself—the decision-making process will become a part of building your relationship rather than a tool for tearing it apart.