When raised with monogamy we are taught that part of why we are important in a relationship is that we are unique, that that was very important for all we do to be unique. It’s what makes us special for our partners. If we aren’t unique for our partners it is the end of the world – we are stuck comparing ourselves to past relationships and generally finding ourselves lacking in some regard (age, appearance, intelligence, job status, etc.). Which, wow, that sucks.
As a poly person, dating people with other partners, that can come to the forefront. It is often a concern with new poly people, so they put restrictions on who their partners can date because of their fear of not being unique, of not being special to their partner. Which is really a load of hooey.
Even if you do the exact same things, look the same, went to the same college, have the same job, so on, you will never be not unique. You have different genes, different backgrounds, different life stories – that’s what makes us unique, makes us special. No matter how much we are the same, we will always be different people. Part of the joy of poly is that. We get to build different relationships, to have different stories to tell, build different lives together. And, that, that is one of the greatest joys.
I get to be a different person with each of my partners. I get to build a new life with them. Our relationship gets to be whatever it is going to be. Even if I’m dating multiple people at the same time I can have very different relationships with them, can choose different labels, have different kinds of sex, go to different kinds of events, express my affection for them differently.
Comparison can become much more complicated if you know the other people involved, especially if you’re on good terms with them. When on good terms metas become full people, with fabulously different lives and stories. Yes, it is likely that you will share some things in common with your metas – people tend to have types of people they’re attracted to, whether that be physical, mental, emotional, or sexual types. So yeah, you will likely have something in common with your metas. Nothing wrong with that. It can be harder than when the other person was just a hypothetical ex, someone that may or may not have actually existed – having a real person on the other end of things can make things harder. Or easier. Depending on how you are wired.
But love is love and the amazing part is that we get to build our own unique stories with the people we love, whether that be for months, years, or a lifetime.