Poly Lessons We've Learned

solarwindsfly

New member
This has to be the best poem i've read about people in abusive situations... may I use it in another forum for people whom have been abused?
 

Ariakas

Bosun
This has to be the best poem i've read about people in abusive situations... may I use it in another forum for people whom have been abused?

If you are talking about the one I posted, sure. I stole it from someone who stole it from somewhere else. i would gladly reference it, it is plain brilliant.
 

redpepper

New member
Mono/poly relationships seem to be a whole other kettle of fish than mono ones or poly ones. There seems to be a continuum of both... mono on one side and poly on the other. Discussion around that seems to be of utmost importance. Where are you at on the scale? would be a good question to ask.

Sometimes it seems that people can be way on the side of mono and the other way over the other side of poly. This makes for a relationship dynamic that is different again than just mono or just poly. There are different rules and boundaries required and different abilities to manage ones love life.
 

redpepper

New member
I have noticed on my poly journey that my spending time with one of my partners or them spending time with theirs means that the others give of themselves selflessly. The amount we give each other is phenominal compared to other relationship styles and lifestyles.

Either they give their time in the form of childcare, money to pay for child care, clean the house where I am not able or they are not, pay bills where I am not able, arrange and carry through family responsibilities, think ahead to others needs or particular comforts and generally be the holder of grounding in the face of emotional turmoil.

Unlike mono relationships where a couple do everything together more often and only think of the unit of two, poly relationships demand that we think of everyone, even if they are not our lovers. It means that everyone should be remembered and thought of.

What are their needs, what do they require to make their relationship work and be happy? What has my partner forgotten about in creating a better relationship with their partner? What can I do to free up time to be with someone or allow them time to be with someone else? What extras can I give to my partners without jepordizing my own needs and that of others? Where is the boundary of how much I can give before I give too much or my giving is creating a privacy issue for my partners?

These are all questions that go through my head daily if not hourly. They aren't framed in such a way as to not demand or be selfish, but are ones of what can I do to give to others. There is nothing I like more than to see what my giving has created in others lives. The pay back is when I notice what has been given to me in love, respect, caring, compassion and particular thought and action that is specific to my needs and comfort.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
Extended Consideration

One of the Lessons that I have learned relate directly to the success of our .....sigh..tribe for lack of a better word. It is not a blanket key to success because everyone's poly is different. If some one is looking for more of a poly network of casual partners or maintains a DADT policy then it is essentially a null and void concept. If some one wants long term more integrated structures then I believe it is essential.

When considering our individual wants and needs we think beyond the affect on our immediate partner and consider the affect on their other partners as well.

I call this Extended Consideration.

It requires us to ask ourselves several questions including:

- How will what I want/need affect my partner's partners?

- Is what I want fair to the partners of my partner?

- How would I feel and be affected if the same request was made by one of their other partners?


This idea requires a genuine concern for all partners and is in direct conflict with the concept of "I am not responsible for your happiness" or the idea of completely separate relationships. It is in fact taking the happiness of other partners into account and often placing that ahead of our own.
 

drgnsyr

New member
Reading through this thread there were two lessons that just jumped out at me as "Yes, this!"

6. Everything needs to be talked about. Nothing can be assumed. What is obvious to one may be a complete mystery to others.

This was pretty much THE problem I had with my ex. "No, it never occured to me that mentioning how I am attracted to a friend of ours would upset you?" "No, I genuinely DON"T UNDERSTAND why the thought of me having sex with someone else bothers you." "No, it's not obvious. Being jealous about these sorts of things isn't something I just got over or repressed. I know society says everyone feels that way, but I don't. You have to TELL me what is bothering you because it isn't obvious to me." The new boyfriend has almost all the same issues as the last one, but now I finally understand the "jealous" reactions because he has painstakingly explained them to me over and over until I found a way to relate.

So I really just wanted to second this one a lot. Also:

10. Being out is super-important. People pick up on secrecy and defensiveness and reasonably conclude something sketchy is going on

The new beau and I discovered this one the hard way. I sort of ... converted his marriage from very closed to poly. It was a big transition so at first, his wife really didn't want us to be out about it while she was still getting used to the idea herself. So we didn't tell anyone, but we were still clearly very into each other - even though we weren't kissing in public or admitting he was my boyfriend. The result was some rather vicious rumors about him being a cheater that took months to track down and clarify (even after we finally did come out).

So while the mantra of "it's noone else's business" makes sense, realize it's an idealistic fantasy. Your friends consider your life their business and if you don't tell them what's going on, they will jump to conclusions - and probably pass those conclusions on to other people as fact.
 

drgnsyr

New member
There's a difference between rules and boundaries, I think, at least in my view of things. A boundary is a first person policy: "I won't have sex unless I love the other person," or "I won't date someone who refuses to use a condom." A rule is a second person policy: "You can't have sex with Jimmy," or "You may not take Paula to our favorite restaurant." I think a polyfi family and a gaggle of swingers (what word should I have used?) can wind up with rules, or boundaries, or both.

And the difference can often seem purely semantic, but can make a huge difference psychologically. My ex and I had rules ("These are the things you won't do. These are the things you will get permission for"), and their very existence made me resentful - even when there weren't any opportunities I was missing out on as a result of their existence. My current beau has told me all the things that would hurt him (and why). I have decided that I do not want to do anything that would hurt him and as a result haven't really felt any resentment worth noting (I mean, there are always moments - but there are also moments when I resent everyone who knows me because I just want to run away. They are rare and pass quickly). Ultimately, the restrictions are almost identical. Hell, at the moment my actions are actually more limited than they were with the ex, but they are limitations I have chosen, not that are being imposed on me. Does that make sense?
 

redpepper

New member
Drgnsyr- I get your boundaries and rules idea. I guess why we, in our relationship structure, call them boundaries is because we make requests of each other. Similar to the boundaries we hold for ourselves. "I would feel much better about you going out if you texted me to tell me you love me and that everything is okay." "I would appreciate your holding off on becoming intimate with Jane until I have caught up emotionally." These requests are designed to entice a partner to do the right thing by us.
We are not children who need rules like "no hitting," but we are also not capable as humans to read each others minds and fully empathize. We need to remind each other what it is like to walk in each others shoes and how we want to be treated.

The pay off is that we are happier and then that makes our partners happier and then everyone is happy and everyone gets to be with one another in that happiness rather than being miserable, going underground for what we need and perpetuating misery and sorrow on everyone in our lives.
 

Thunderlizard

New member
Some of the things that I have learned that have changed my life the most are things about myself.
Since getting back together with tala, and for the first time trying it out living in an open, honest, truthful, trusting, and accepting environment, I've discovered just how much of myself I was hiding, and how much of my behaviors I was modifying to keep my "friends" happy. But I also learned why I wasn't happy.. see preceding sentence.
The best and most wonderful thing I've learned from/about Polyamory is just how much love is floating around in my world, and how great it is to share it, give it, get it, and relish it. I am, at 42 years old, finally happy with my life.
I thank my loving wife for that.. if not for her I'd have been to scared to really give it a go.
Dang, it's good to be me, finally!
So what have I learned, most importantly, from Polyamory?
That I like myself a lot, when I AM myself.
 

redpepper

New member
Just because you feel all cozy in your relationships does not mean that everyone gets you, likes you or even gives shit about you. I tend to forget that. I am surrounded by people to love, and people who love me. A utopia of love, a haven. I forget sometimes that this is not the case with others and their lives. I think naively that because someone is poly that they are going to have some level of caring for me and others and that just isn't true.

Some only have care for their partners or people they are seeing and some have that for everyone. I care and appreciate people for who they are and don't hold their struggles against them for very long. I find the thing that makes them make sense to me and hold on to it. I become empathetic easily and can meet people where they are at... others just aren't able or are unwilling to do that. I forget that and get hurt over and over again...

I think I am getting better at deflecting that energy, but poly has taught me to trust more and therefore I find myself having to work on deflecting more as a result.
 

constlady

New member
I have noticed on my poly journey that my spending time with one of my partners or them spending time with theirs means that the others give of themselves selflessly. The amount we give each other is phenominal compared to other relationship styles and lifestyles. ...


Unlike mono relationships where a couple do everything together more often and only think of the unit of two, poly relationships demand that we think of everyone, even if they are not our lovers. It means that everyone should be remembered and thought of.

What are their needs, what do they require to make their relationship work and be happy? What has my partner forgotten about in creating a better relationship with their partner? What can I do to free up time to be with someone or allow them time to be with someone else? What extras can I give to my partners without jepordizing my own needs and that of others? Where is the boundary of how much I can give before I give too much or my giving is creating a privacy issue for my partners?

These are all questions that go through my head daily if not hourly. They aren't framed in such a way as to not demand or be selfish, but are ones of what can I do to give to others. There is nothing I like more than to see what my giving has created in others lives. The pay back is when I notice what has been given to me in love, respect, caring, compassion and particular thought and action that is specific to my needs and comfort.

This is one of the most perfect descriptions I've ever seen, thanks rp!

In building the sort of poly relationships that it seems you and I both prefer, it's vital to remember that the health of each particular dyad does depend in good measure on the health of all of the other dyads, which of course carries over into the good of the whole "tribe."

Simple little things between metamours can mean so much.

Early in our relationship, R showed up with a gift box that E had sent along with him. He had no idea what was in it, just that she said it was for us.
We opened it and discovered that she'd made strawberries dipped in chocolate for our date. That was one of the most amazing moments to me, the care and thoughtfulness that went into that gift gave me such a wonderful feeling!

A few weeks ago, we were all together on a camping trip. Things did not go as planned for E and M, to say the least and she was understandably upset (as were R and I about the situation.) As R and I talked about it, I asked if it would help if he stayed with her that night instead of in my tent as planned.
We decided not to tell her and he turned in early. When E and I headed for bed, she popped her head back out and said "He's in here?" and I just smiled and said "Yup, good night!"


These are just a couple of examples of the myriad of ways that thinking about all of the others our lives really is a central part of how we live.

It's not about sacrificing or being a saint; it's about truly caring about the people in your circle.
 

redpepper

New member
metamours and their relationship to each other as I see it

This is not a friendship you are creating in the traditional sense. It is much deeper and based on much deeper issues. You don't get to be casual. This relationship dynamic means there is serious stuff to discuss and it should be discussed. Shooting the shit and hanging out is great, but with metamours it needs to be known that you are involved with the same person. This creates a whole different feel to the relationship and in my opinion, everything should be out in the open. That includes going home and telling your shared lover what you talked about.

That being said I see no reason to pass on details. You can mention that you talked about something and that is that. No one should expect you to elaborate either. They can ask that you do, at which time you will have to check with the person it is about first, but there should be no obligation to share the details...

In this way trust will build; a knowledge about the other person and their relationship dynamic with your love, a helpful and healthy understanding in future situations and a foundation created between all parties... so that when something happens and support is needs to be given there isn't a whole lot of misunderstanding and catching up to do. It's all known information and everyone can start with supporting which is what is needed at the time.
 
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redpepper

New member
the pull to breaking point of opening up a relationship to poly

Going the path of the least amount of any kind of emotion is not always the best path. Sometimes facing some stuff is the best path to more comfort and stability. It might be a good idea to check you intentions .......and ask for your needs to be met regardless of what you "think" is going on for the others.

Your partner might be experiencing stuff they haven't been known to for a number of years, but that doesn't mean you are the authority on their emotional life just because you are witnessing it and know them. They are the keeper of everything in their life and it isn't up to you to look after them in your poly relationship. Its their responsibility. The sooner they start being independent in this way the better for everyone.

Things change from what is experienced in monogamy I have come to know. There becomes a separation that begins to happen when a couple open up to poly. Those that are brought into poly by their partner are pulled at this point, because they didn't sign up for a poly relationship and the independence it requires.

The pull from mono to poly is difficult for sure. It's almost like I was glued to my monogamous partner and then when someone else was brought in, our relationship became like gum that was pulled apart until it snapped apart. I was far more co-dependent than I thought or wanted to be and all of a sudden wasn't.

It turns out that once that gum is stretched and broken you become two people again. It felt to me like when I first dated the person and we were not completely entwined yet. It's a starting a fresh feeling. I was amazed to discover that I was in love for the first time for a second time. If that makes sense. I saw everything with fresh eyes and realized that we could still be together but we had to be our own primary. Act on behave of ourselves and then each other... not the other way around.

The good news is that you get to make yourself your primary and so do they. In doing so I saw my partner differently and relate to the world differently. I got to ask, "what do I honestly want to do, what do they honestly want to do." Encouraging the others in your tribe to do the same will mean you will all be on the same page and moving forward together.
 

sdguitarguy

New member
As someone who is (still) transitioning from a completely mono viewpoint to a poly relationship, l can tell you some of the things I went through...

1. Whatever happens, you'll survive. There were points that felt like life or death. They weren't, it just felt that way. That's society & our training from childhood & every damn love song on the radio talking. I've survived every step and our relationship has only gotten better. I've learned that, for us at least, the best path is forward through the issue rather than hanging back and torturing myself. Which leads to...

2. My own imaginings were ten to a hundred times worse than reality. When I knew that she was going to be seeing another lover, my thoughts would reel out of control thinking about what she's going to be doing. Like a sharp tooth I couldn't stop touching, I would imagine things & my anxiety would shoot through the roof. I couldn't think of anything else. But it is something that I was doing to myself, she wasn't doing that to me. And inside that jealously and anxiety was a certain amount of pleasure both from torturing oneself but also titillation of thinking of her with another man.

There was a point when I discovered that she had met her lover secretly and hadn't told me, breaking the agreement we had at that point. I realized that it hurt much more that she had lied to me than that she had slept with him. I know, I know, it's a catch-22 isn't it: I torture myself if I know in advance and I'm upset if she's lied to me. But the reality of her having a lover was much less stressful than the torture I put myself through.

3. Consider developing a relationship with someone else in addition to your current partner, even for a brief time. You will learn a great deal. Going through the experience of having a lover and returning to your primary is one way that I learned how she felt towards me. I come back to her and my feelings for her haven't diminished. Rather our relationship has been enriched by the experience.

4. Make the time to talk after some of these key events. After she's been with someone else or vice-versa, make time for the two of you. One of you wants to share and the other wants some reassurance. It will be an intimate discussion that will significantly build your relationship. The first few times I returned from a date, I went through a plethora of feelings: I'm cheating on her!; it's wrong; I have to hide it; my partner must be insane to want me to do this; I can't tell her what I did; I enjoyed that a lot!; I don't like this; I had a great time with this other woman; it's stressful; Oh my god I love you so much!; I can't tell you what I did, I'm ashamed; and on and on...

It was stressful, titillating, wrong, right and intimate to talk with her about it. "Why does she want to hear this from me?" I thought. But she did want to hear and she was looking for reassurance from me as well. She loves me very much and she wanted to know what I was feeling and how I was handling the experience.

5. Forget the terminology - it's about finding and creating a unique relationship that works for you both. The verbiage and other people's expectations get in the way. There is no single definition or absolute rules for a poly or open relationship that needs to be followed. Find that unique relationship that works for you both.
 
C

Ceoli

Guest
Drama is not a necessary ingredient to build thriving relationships.

When everybody comes into the relationship having done the work of knowing themselves, knowing their own needs and keeps effectively communicating, relationships can easily thrive and be happy, regardless of whether they are poly or mono or anything in between.

Lessons learned in all relationships, whether work relationships, friendships, family, poly, mono etc can be applied to all the different kinds of relationships one has.
 

redpepper

New member
Go at the pace of the one who is struggling the most.

I have noticed that to go at the pace of the one who is struggling the most is not only showing the utmost care, respect, and compassion but it keeps things from moving too fast and allows issues to become aged and lose their power in the relationship dynamic.

Of course one has to expect that their partners are up on telling them what is going on for them. If they aren't then it is also necessary to check in even if things seem to be humming along nicely. Somethings are not so evident and some are filled with wild emotion and are easily identified.

The only thing about the strategy of 'going at the pace of the one who is struggling the most' is that that person has to be shown to be working on their stuff. Even if they are taking a long time, dates and times can be set where there will be a check in and any new information given about the situation... things do have to move forward, this strategy does not buy a person an "I'm not going to deal" pass.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
Sage advice Cruftnot

I cut and pasted this list from another thread. Great advice in my opinion :)

There are a few lessons to the reader here:
  1. Don't get into new relationships when you're time-limited by an impending move. There is going to be enough drama without new partners.
  2. Don't assume that poly-activists have their issues with poly (or relationships) sorted out.
  3. Compersion is rare and precious. Often your partners hurt more when you're happy with others.
  4. Despite the previous item about compersion, your partners may be even more disturbed if a new partner makes you unhappy and you don't immediately dump him/her.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
Making mistakes and dealing with them

Last night after a day of family fun with Redpepper, Polynerdist, their son, her brother and his girlfriend and her parents, Redpepper asked me to spend the night on their couch. It was not pre-arranged with Polynerdist and I did not want to encroach on their morning. I have a need for them to have "their" time.
I thought I was doing the respectful thing by leaving.

So I left, but before leaving Redpepper and I were "amorous" in the living room. Well, I texted her when I got home to tell her how hot our display of amory was. I sent the text to Polynerdist by mistake.

Needless to say, although we have all been together for 20 months, this is still not appropriate. I felt some very old feelings come up and was sad because I hurt Polynerdist. My mind flashed back to having an affair and that feeling of doing something wrong with another man's wife. So I stayed up until 4 in the morning mulling over why I felt guilty for having sex with the woman I love in a poly relationship. I felt that I tried to be respectful by leaving and ended up disrespecting Polynerdist more.

I got to sit down with him and apologize in person this evening. I hate the idea of hurting him and confirmed that I need to be a positive in their lives. He was incredibly understanding as always and we hugged. I told him I love him and that he is family to me. I feel better now.

Their relationship is my primary concern.

Lesson learned....I'm going to make mistakes but dealing with them openly without drama and in person are the way to get past them quickly and deepen bonds as opposed to diminishing them.
 
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