I know I haven’t been updating much. There are several reasons for this. The biggest is that one can only say, “Don’t be a fucking idiot” in so many ways before the message begin to get a little monotonous.
The other is that I’ve been leading a life so devoid of drama that I’m not analyzing much about relationships. Here’s the rub: What the poly community does really need is a good picture of what good multiple relationships can look like.
First and foremost,communication really is crucial. Communication doesn’t have to be these long, drawn-out relationship analysis sessions. If you’ve let it get that far, you need to learn to communicate better. Communication involves things like, “I’ve got a big meeting that I need to drive to, so I need the car early Thursday morning.” or “Honey, those spontanious foot rubs you’ll give? I love those and feel really cherished when you do that.” or “Sugar, when your boyfriend comes over, would you please change the sheets when he leaves?” It’s like washing the dishes immediately after dinner before they get crusty. If you do it in little bits regularly, you keep on top of it without a lot of nonsense.
When it’s working you don’t have this sense of urgency. You’ll certainly feel a sense of joy and excitement about your relationships from time to time. What you don’t have is the drama of a movie or romance novel, where everything is urgent and you feel like you’re hanging over the edge of a cliff in a life or death struggle. Love is great, love is wonderful, love is the most important thing in the world. Thing is, it’s not a life or death struggle. If love is a struggle, you’ve got a lot of internal character work to do. That’s okay, but don’t accept it as the norm. It’s a flaw to be worked on.1
When it’s working you’ve chosen people who will listen to you. However, I want to address the expression “You’re not listening!” A lot of people use this incorrectly, assuming that if the person is listening carefully, they would immediately agree with exactly what they want. That’s not the case. Understanding is simply not the same thing as agreement. I actually do have a significant disagreement with my partner about how a couple of things in our lives should be handled. We’ve talked about it, and there have been boundaries that he’s okay with agreeing with and I’m okay with accepting. The difference comes from a fundamental difference in our characters and values. The reason it’s not a source of conflict2, is because we both understand that it’s okay for us to have this difference of opinion. When I brought up the concern, my partner most certainly did listen. Then explained his point of view. We thought about it awhile, and what we really fundamentally wanted out of the situation. When we both were able to get to the heart of what we wanted, we were able to see a clear set of boundaries that did respect both opinions. Of course that doesn’t always happen. I could see a “no deal” situation occurring. With good boundaries, sometimes you have to accept this is going to happen.
When it’s working you’ll feel free to speak up about what you want and what you don’t want. You’ll be willing to say yes to things and you’ll be willing to say no to others without playing a mental chess game before you’re comfortable speaking for fear of explosions. You won’t be afraid that if you aren’t accommodating that you’ll lose your love. On the other hand, you’ll find that there are plenty of things you’re completely happy to say yes to and won’t be pressured. You probably won’t even notice it because it is working and the human mind tends to focus on solving problems rather than finding what’s working.
When it’s working, there’s going to be some fun from time to time. Life isn’t all work and analysis and being all focused on seriousness. When it’s working you and your partners will play from time to time. I’m not just talking about sex here, though yeah, sex is great. Is your pack of Munchkin cards gathering dust? When’s the last time you ran around the yard with a set of water balloons and your loved ones or rolled down a grassy hill?
When it’s working, you might not even be thinking too much about it, because it is working and you’ve got other things on your mind than worrying about something that’s delightful!
1YOU work on it YOURSELF. This is not someone else’s problem. Hang it on someone else and Mama Java’s gonna give you a stern look over her glasses.
2Disagreement and conflict aren’t the same thing, either.