Yep… Shit got real the last couple days.
And by that I mean, I have been sharing real honest feelings and situations with you, my readers. your response was amazing… I have had 2 days on my blog when viewership has been 150+ and both of those days had to do with real life stuff. As an educator and activist in the community I would be blind not to see this as a sign of something bigger.
We, educators/activists, can write, blog, talk powerpoint, and definition the topic to death and folks won’t learn a thing. Or worse yet they leave with knowledge but no real life way to apply it. It occurs to me that by not giving these real life examples I have been doing the rest of the community a great disservice as well as self shaming my own experiences as negative . Hiding them from the world.
Polyamory Relationships, have problems. Plain and simple.. I don’t care if you have a mono, or poly. It really doesn’t matter what type of relationship practice you have, you will at some point encounter issues and problems with another person. One of the many things about Polyamory that I like is this, the relationship structure can at times force a person to work on the underlying causes of the problem(s). There is no “autopilot” in Polyamory.
In monogamy it can sometimes be easy to ‘set the cruise’ and just ride the relationship roller-coaster to the end. Both parties can get complacent, have underlying personal problems that they don’t recognize OR that they feel would burden their partner. Sometimes the partner just doesn’t have the emotional capacity to know when something is not right. Other times the participants fear upsetting the balance of the relationship. Or they don’t want to disappoint society and end what everyone around them thinks is an amazing relationship. Moreover though it has been my experience that we just get complacent. And that can do a lot of damage.
In a polyamorous situation that experience has been vastly different. Sometimes, one person who will not settle for less than the best that you have to offer. Other times the participants in the relationship can recognize an issue that is effecting the overall dynamic of the relationship and address it as a group. Perhaps there is a person who has a need that isn’t getting met. If that person doesn’t speak up out of (insert reason here) then many times one of the others may speak up for them and encourage that voice to be heard. Polyamory makes us work for the greater good.
The Poly Mantra is supposedly “Communicate, Communicate, Communicate” . What exactly does that mean? I hear people say, ” We talk about everything”. But do you? REALLY ????
Do you talk about what you need? “I need to know you value my accomplishments in my self work” ” I need to understand you more completely.”
Do you ask for love? “When you are upset at something I did can you please be kind when we discuss it?” ” I know you love me when you do _____”
When your partner(s) do something that upsets you, do you discuss it in a healthy productive way? ” When you do _____ I feel _____” vs ” You should not have done _______ now everything is f*cke*” EXAMPLE… Melissa and I have been rebuilding a lot of things in our relationship lately and one of those is the way we talk to each other. INstead of being critical of her actions when I don’t agree with them, IF it affects me directly, I can address her as such… NEW WAY “When you don’t clean up your things, it makes me feel like you don’t respect our home. “– OLD WAY ” I wish you would clean up after yourself.” The latter is very negative focused. It is not telling them how it makes me feel and therefore I am not stating a very important need… To feel that those in the house respect the place we call home.
How about when they do something nice for you. Do you explain to them how that makes you feel loved and appreciated? ” WHen you message me out of the blue to say hi, it makes me feel loved. ” ” Thank you for buying me cookies, it makes me happy that you thought of me.”
What about the mundane, everyday stuff.. They brought you a glass of water while you were working in the garden, or had a cold sports drink waiting for you after a workout in the basement? Do you thank them sincerely and tell them you appreciate it? “Thank you for that glass of water. It really shows me you care about my well being.”
Some will say about this method, These are all standard things. I know that my partner loves me. Of course they would bring me a glass of water, that is the decent human thing to do…… My reply, so is showing appreciation. If we just say “thanks” and keep on going then over time that glass of water will stop being there. The mindset becomes, ” They must not appreciate it/me that much.” That act of kindness, caring and love will stop.
If not, and you are experiencing any hardships in your relationship, I encourage you to talk about the things in your life that evoke emotional responses. Especially those which are positive. This will set an atmosphere of love and kindness. Your partners will notice the change and they may even ask about it. It may lead to them responding in kind when you do things for them. YES you have to return the service. Its not a one way street to happiness. SO those things that you enjoy receiving, simple things… try handing them a glass of water after they come in from working in the yard.. “Here, I saw you were working in the yard and I thought you may like a glass of water.” (or tea or sports drink whatever they like. )
This is being real in your relationship. THIS is a REALationship. A place where everyone feels welcome, loved and cared for, validated and supported. These are the building blocks to my successful(ish) journey in Polyamory and I am working hard everyday to build these skills and be a more real person. Im not in a relationship for me. I go into a relationship hoping that all those involved will be able to get something out of it. Healthy relationships are mutual endeavours by consenting individuals whom wish to grow together.
I encourage more educators and activists to join me in sharing our real stories, situations success and failure at Polyamory. It is only through mistakes that we learn and grow. Share. I am hoping that every week I can share ONE story or event that is a real life learning experience or validation of a practice. Opening up ….. for real.