Have you been considering polyamory? Wondering where you want to go with your relationships? Do you wonder if you’re really ready to take the leap?
If you’re wondering, that’s good. It means you’re thinking. Mama Java approves of thinking about things clearly. When you get to thinking, you’ll need to start asking yourself some searching questions. Nope, these aren’t questions you want to ask a partner, if you have one. Though I really, really hope your partners will ask these questions of themselves.
1. Am I willing to acknowledge I am not a mind-reader?
One of the distressing things I often notice in relationships is that we’re often just sure we know what the other person is thinking. Whenever you catch yourself thinking you can read minds, stop. Put it aside until you can ask. Then act on what you’re told.
This has a twofold benefit. The first is that you’re training yourself to stop putting your own thoughts and feelings on other people. The second is that if you act on what you’re told, you’ll find that you’ll be told the truth more often. If you act on “mindreading” you’ll find that you often won’t encourage people to communicate with you because it’ll feel pointless. If what one says doesn’t matter, often one becomes disinclined to speak.
2. Am I willing to speak up about my wants?
I’ve talked a lot about asking for what you want. This is different from insisting on having your way, mind. Yes, sometimes you will be told “no”. But I promise not always. Give your partners the opportunity to say “yes”.
In the past year, I’ve been making my living as a freelancer. One of the more interesting things about the profession is that I’ve learned not to take “no” all that damn personally. To make money when you’re marketing yourself, you’re kind of playing the numbers. The attitude that “no” isn’t really a big hairy deal has spilled over into relationships. I know it sounds goofy, but I’ve found that my ego just isn’t tied into whether or not someone wants to do what I want. Sometimes, it’s something I can blow off with no big deal, and yeah, sometimes it’s as much of a dealbreaker as someone not wanting to pay me what my time is worth professionally. But in either case, I don’t take it personally. I’m allowed to ask, and the other person is allowed to say “no”.
3. Am I willing to admit my crystal ball is really just a lump of silicon?
If you ever find yourself getting into fortunetelling, STOPPIT. This is a relationship-killer, I don’t give a damn if you’re talking about a romantic relationship, your relationship with your kids, your friends or your boss. Just… don’t go there.
4. Do I feel if whatever activity going on isn’t the “best” then it’s really worthless?
Falling into the comparison trap is a real, real bad idea. Whether it’s that you’re seeking perfection for yourself or thinking you have to be the Perfect One for someone else, it’s not conducive to a good poly relationship either way.
If you can’t get away from that just yet, you’re not really in a position where polyamory is going to be making you very happy.
5. Do I pull out my driver’s license or look in the mirror when asking myself, “Now just who got me into this mess?”
Thou Art God, friends. If you’re not willing to accept that your choices are your responsibility, you’re not ready for romantic relationships at all. Wrap your mind around that first.
A dear friend of mine recently commented, “There’s nothing quite so cathartic or educational as screaming “What’s your fucking problem, anyway?!” at the mirror.
Seems to solve most of my problems, anyway.”
He’s quite right. The blame game ain’ta gonna cut it in a poly relationship. Monogamous relationships can sometimes just barely stand up to it. Poly? Forget it. Won’t work.
If you think that this list isn’t polyamory specific, you’re right. I reiterate until I feel like a stalled MP3 that there’s very little in this world that’s polyamory specific. Anything that’ll make you a more effective, loving, happier person is probably going to be good for poly relationships as well.
12 thoughts on “Am I Ready for Polyamory?”
I lurk on here, but somehow today I have to write.
I met my wife before we were 20. For years and year, she was always the “second woman” in my life, never quite gone, as I dated others. We married. We had a child. I fell in love with someone else. (Not in that order.) So. Eventually, we rebuilt our marriage in our 30s. And now, we have something that my mom (who knows nothing about my other partner) recognizes as a stronger, more adult marriage: open, honest, no assumptions, deep interactions, not perfect, moving forward, healthy. We grew up. Who the fuck has a perfect marriage? We don’t. But it’s a better marriage now that we learned to talk like we mean it, even as I’m more devoted to my other partner.
I love your posts. Thanks for your writing.
I had fooled around with a couple women but after I met my (wife to be) girl I really gave her my love. Unfortunately she was not able to bear children after becoming pregnant 3 times. She lost interest in sex and submitted only because it was her obligation. I have had sex with other women over the 44 yrs of marriage.
She is very conservative and has no thoughts of sex with others meanwhile I would have thoughts of having another woman in bed with me and helping around our home. My wife & I are in our 70s and I have a Penile Implant.
Yay! I’m ready! (good thing, too…)
Man, if I wasn’t ready by now, my family would be seriously honked off.
You, Mr. Martin, are a smartybrat.
I didn’t think that I would ever fall “in love” or have sexual feelings for anyone after the awful relationship I was in. Unfortunately, the Universe had different plans for me. I was on this forum and met a couple with whom I shared views at least on a socio-political basis. I never thought about them because I was very depressed my life was a mess and my partner with whom I shared an apartment had 2 children was very abusive. It was a bad time…and then I had the dream of a man making sweet love to me and he left without me even seeing his face. It was maddening! I couldn’t believe it! I thought that those feelings were dead in me. I was in my late 30s by then and I wasn’t looking for that kind of love just a job, money and friendship-preferably female.
I let it go but a few months later it came back with a vengeance, the feelings of sexual thrill and freedom. I felt like a new person in these dreams/fantasies. And then I realize that it was all about that couple with whom I sometimes communicated on that forum!
I couldn’t believe it! I don’t go near married men that way! Besides they are never interested in the likes of me anyway! And I have never considered myself a lesbian or woman loving woman so why was I having these dreams and fantasies?
I wrote to him and told him half of the story, my feelings and dreams about him. He took his time to respond and flatly turned me down and insisted that one could not fall in love with another thru the internet!
It’s been 5 years now since this nightmare began and the feelings have intensified and so have the dreams and fantasies. I have tried to get help by writing to folks on the poly sites and calling various “experts”. but no one has responded in kind. I have no resources to get the help I need to get over this nightmare.
A Voodoo doctor in New Orleans promised he could make me normal again by erasing the feelings for $500.00 I have not been able to pay it.
I keep writing to the couple about my feelings sometimes sending pretty sexually explicit emails but they don’t respond. I feel like a mad woman, a crazy deranged pervert.
Has this ever happened to anyone? Any advice Goddess of Java? I wish I could buy you a cup. (hopefully soon when my finances get better.)
passionfruit and in need.
Yes, passionfruit, I do have a reply. What you’re doing is stalking. You need to stop that. A) It’s illegal. B) It has zip to do with any sort of honest love.
Don’t go to a voodoo doctor, for pity’s sake. Go to a psychologist. You need counseling from a professional who knows what he or she is doing.
Hi 🙂 I lurk occasionally when I have time (why I’m commenting on something this old), and I just wanted to say how true I’ve found number two especially. From someone who tends to be shy and avoid any possibility of confrontation, I’ve recently tried to ask for more of what I want and it really helps and it also in a way helps you realize that no one else is a mind reader either. Just something I found interesting 🙂 Also, if it’s not intended this way, this is going to come across as a strange question, but was the first line of five a literary reference? I read way to much, so I tend to spot a lot of unintentional similarities, but it’s a quote from one of my favorite books, and I was wondering if that was intentional.
Yes, Rach. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.
I know that I speak from less experience than a ssaoened polymonger, however I don’t think that a veto necessarily reflects insecurity.Instead consider the possibility that your partner’s got your back and may see something that you don’t. I like having my judgment reconsidered because I’ve been wrong before and will be again. It’s a hubris check.Yeah, I don’t necessarily agree with the results, but there’s a leap of faith that a person takes in a long term relationship. It’s a trust beyond one’s own judgment and into an investment of trust in that of your partner. And of course, your mileage may vary.