Page 1

1 2 3

ModernPoly: August Edition

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

Page    

1  

What  are  You?  Non-­‐ monogamous  Personal   Identity  vs.  P ublic   Identification  

Page    

5  

Page     Loving  Labels  

Page  

Everything  is  Kung  Fu  

4  

7  

Cynical  Opinionated   Poly  Advice  

Page  

10  

Poly  Panic  Prevention   Practices  

What Are You? Nonmonogamous Personal Identity vs. Public Identification What are you? How you define your non-monogamy to others, if at all, is a determining factor in your relationships. Avie Saenz negotiates through the nuances of identifying yourself to others, and the impact the labels you choose can make. "What are you?" That intrusive, grimy question has always hung in the air around me. People are prying to get under the mystery of my brown skin. "What ARE you?" My very nature and existence is boiled down to the

element of my ethnicity and the asker's entitlement to my identity. Why should my ethnicity matter to anyone else? And if my answer is unsatisfactory, there's always the follow up question: "But no, where are you FROM?" It is always asked impatiently, with a little disapproval for my inevitable

response: "I'm human." Does this sound familiar to you? If you’re here, you’re probably nonmon-monogamous. It’s possible you might have run into questions like mine regarding some aspect of your identity; perhaps it’s your relationship. “You guys are seeing other people, but


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

are also together? What ARE you?” Followed up by the asker explaining: “I could never do that,” and so on about their own monogamous mindset. The sting of this line of questioning may not be precisely the same as questions about skin color, but the feelings of alienation are not entirely dissimilar; both lines lead to one result: "You are an other. You are different. You are not like me." The answers to these questions are personal; no one is entitled to your identity. The asker may be wellintentioned; they may even be a friend or family member, but what others need to know about you is based on your individual relationship and your comfort level with them. You are not innately obligated to be open. But how you identify yourself has an impact on your entire life -- how you allow others to perceive you through identification of yourself shapes your world. What they see and what you say are different -- you only really have control over one of these things. Try to choose wisely. As non-monogamy gains acceptance in society, coming out is the next logical step, but what will you come out as, if you do at all? I am out as polyamorous, but in some circles I'm in an "open relationship" -- I can't find the space or time to explain my relationships, but I found it important to create a niche in my social group for non-monogamy. I accept the consequences of the phrase "open relationship," in that it doesn't necessarily carry the connotations of plural romantic love with it that polyamory does. I also accept the consequences of my identification as non-monogamous in general – that no matter what labels I apply and what explanations I provide, some people will shun me.

August  2013  

education, to revulsion and all shades of reaction in between. For example, when I identify myself as “polyamorous,” I intend to educate my audience to the possibilities of different relationship styles. This comes into play often when I'm trying to pursue a new potential partner – I want them to be on the same page as I am, or to see if they're already familiar with the terminology. However, when I identify myself as “in an open relationship,” I'm not vying for as much personal ground to be shared. The assumptions I make about that audience is that probably couldn't understand polyamory, but would be able to understand some degree of non-monogamy. By assuming they would not understand polyamory, I am also assuming they are not viable for a future relationship. The exchange of identifiers leads to a plethora of assumptions. When saying I'm polyamorous, I'm assuming a certain level of understanding from my audience as well as a certain level of open-mindedness. When I say I'm in an open-relationship, I assume that the audience would not comprehend polyamory. Similarly, I allow them to assume the connotations of the phrase “open relationship” -- largely sexually oriented. I'm also assuming that they won't want to know the details of my personal life, thus I decide to shut them out to a certain degree. On the other hand, by identifying as polyamorous, I open the door for discussion. These assumptions can change over time, however, and at times, I have found myself rehashing the terms of my “open relationship” to mean polyamory when I've learned that an acquaintance had a more open mind than I thought.

When identifying yourself to others, there are three important elements to remember: There's the audience, which you have the least control over, pre-existing impressions, which you have the most control over, and desired result, which can change over time.

The element of pre-existing impressions is an ongoing issue in how you interact with others. For example, do you often discuss your family or personal life with coworkers? Do you discuss your professional life with friends? Do you discuss your hobbies with your acquaintances? Issues such as these determine the impressions you leave on others deliberately. You have chosen to expose parts of yourself already -- how would exposing your non-monogamy add into the picture? If you identify as polyfidelitous, for example, how would your allusions to your poly family fit into the rest of the traits you share with others?

The desired result can vary from acceptance, to

In the case of being asked about my ethnicity, by identifying

2    


ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

myself to others I am also creating a space for people like myself. I can be proud of my heritage, publicly, and help to alleviate stigma and stereotypes. By identifying as both Latina and polyamorous, I am somewhat of a novelty, but I have chosen to accept the consequences of my novel identity in the hopes that I can bring awareness to my community. Some of us don't have that privilege all the time. Every now and then, you have to take a step back and not identify yourself for risk of being shunned or losing credibility. Not all identities (i.e, skin color) can be denied like that, but the poly closet is one that some people choose to keep shut for various reasons. Sometimes it is to protect one's family; other times it's simply because you don't like to talk about your personal life. Regardless, even though coming out can do good for the community, it just isn't feasible for some poly people. Even if you are in a situation where you may have to deny your relationships, this does not make them any less valid. Your lovestyle is yours personally and cannot be determined by outsiders. Sometimes, your relationships may not even coincide with your personal identity -- you might be polyfidelitous in orientation, but may be in a more open poly relationship while you work on adding someone to your family.

Avie  Saenz   Writer-­‐  Active  Contributor  

Avie  is  pursuing  a  degree  in  Creative   Writing  at  a  big  university  in  the  Southwest.     She  currently  has  two  cats,  a  number  of   lovers,  and  an  even  greater  number  of   novels  unfinished.    Her  primary  creative   interests  are  fusing  the  style  of  W estern   literature  with  the  stark  landscape  of   contemporary  city  life,  sexuality,  and   classical  archetypes.  

By choosing to be out, you become part of a greater trend of representation of non-monogamous relationships. You create a network, however small, that is accepting of people like you -- if not accepting, then tolerant. You create awareness that nonmonogamous people are someone's coworkers and family members just like anyone else. "I'm polyamorous, and I'm human." You are more than the sum of your labels, but the labels you claim also represent something greater than yourself.  

 

3  


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

Loving Labels There are many reasons to wear a label- perhaps one for every reason not to. I had a lively blog-debate this week when asked why I call myself polyamorous—why I label myself at all. Why not just 'be?' As a society should we move past labels? Are they limiting? Do they set us up as targets? If a poly family, especially one with children, called Mary 'just a roommate' instead of 'our mutual wife,' it might keep misguided nosy-bodies and therefore CAS off their back. Labels can be limiting. Even by giving us concepts to latch onto, they distance us from others. As much as labels can limit, however, they can also honour. When I introduce Paul to someone as 'my good friend Paul', it says something. It says to them that Paul is more than just a person I know. He is a friend. I trust him. When in love, the gesture is even more compelling. Do you remember the first time someone introduced you as their boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner? Why would we deny anyone that warm, fuzzy feeling of being publicly acknowledged? The label conveys not only that this is Mary, a person I know; but that this is Mary, a person I love and who loves me back, and that I share my life with her. Relationship labels let people around you know, pretty closely, how you see each other and where you see yourselves, and that you are out and proud about your relationship.

As a childless adult, I feel that it is my civic duty to share my lifestyle openly in order to desensitize a public that thought swinging was as open as it gets. The reason I'm so adamant is that I know some beautiful families—with children—who must take pains to hide their love, for fear of being separated from their children. Many live in isolated fear of a fearful public, and it is for them that I do what I do. I take for granted the ability to admit freely that I identify with polyamorous philosophy, despite the scoffs of people around me. I have nothing to lose but their respect.

Why not just call myself non-monogamous? It is to me an incomplete reflection of what I am. 'Nonmonogamous' conveys the sexual freedom, but 'polyamory' talks about love—and life—not just They also save us the time that endless conversation might occupy. sex. And I want to promote a public that is Imagine a social occasion, unrelated to poly, where a triad of partners familiar with the term, rather than offer up endless might attend. Even if they don't hint that they are romantically explanations of the nature of my relationship. I involved, within minutes the customary line of questioning begins: want a public to whom I can sum it up in a word, "How do you know each other?" People are eager to pry, not out of and polyamorous should do nicely. malice but of our natural curiosity about one another. Odds are, people will notice anyway, and it can be best to get it out in the open before people begin to suspect some deceitful infidelity. Daniela  Aum   As curious social creatures we crave validation and explanation. It is a beauty of language that one word can convey, and accomplish, so much. You might say that it's none of anyone's business (and you might be right). But when you are in love, you want everyone to know—and why shouldn't they? Why shouldn't you be able to be openly happy with your family without worrying about appearing platonic? You should be as free as anyone to hold hands or flirt with the ones you love, and even to take for granted that you can.

4    

Active  Contributor   Daniela  Aum  is  a  writer,  artist  and  activist  from   Toronto,  Ontario.    She  authored  For  The  Love  Of   Self,  Creating  Cozy:  Food  &  Magic  For  Crafting   Comfort  and  Liam’s  Magic  Rocket.    Daniela  is   currently  employed  as  a  business  developer  in  a   green  tech  industry  and  is  also  the  Creative   Director  of  DUENDE  Art  Productions.    Daniela  is   married  and  collaborates  creatively  with  musician   Glenn  Aum.    They  both  resonate  d eeply  with   polyamorous  philosophy.  


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

Everything is Kung Fu Polyamory and solid relationships take a lot of work, just like martial arts. What may look perfect on the outside takes constant effort within.

While surfing YouTube, I ran across a clip from Karate Kid (the Chan-Smith one) and had something Mr. Han (Chan) said haunt me. Dre (Smith) gripes about his training, and says that Han doesn't know kung fu. Han demonstrates how what he has been doing, while mundane, is a part of training. "Everything is kung fu," he tells Dre. "It's in everything we do." I nodded because that summed up how I feel about polyamory. It's less of this thing that you do from time to time but a part of you that is always there. I come home to the guys, coordinate calendars, plan trips and just talk. We ARE polyamory. Even if I was alone, it would not make me less poly. It's not like a wallet that I can slip out of my pocket and place on a shelf until I need it. It's part of what makes me Me. Imagine removing a toe whenever you're not walking. Toes aren't detachable. Neither is any aspect of yourself. I am poly. It's in every aspect of my life, in every interaction. Why not? Why not take the effective communication tools learned at home to, for example, work? There is little harm that can come from clear, honest communication in the workplace. I admit to sometimes being too blunt, but I am, as we all are, a work in progress. Every weekday morning looks pretty much the same at my house. I come downstairs, make coffee and go upstairs to get dressed. About the time the coffee pot is finished brewing, it’s time to wake our daughter. I prod her awake then go back downstairs, listening for the shower running that tells me B is up. As I make my morning coffee, I listen for J walking down the stairs

 

which lets me know he’s up and moving. I get my morning kiss from him then go back up to get the kid up and about. By the time I come back down with the kid, B is at the kitchen table with his coffee and a kiss for me. Ten minutes later, we’re ready to leave the house. The elements that make a successful relationship, poly or otherwise, are there in play. The guys trust that if I don’t hear them moving that I will wake them. Likewise if they don’t smell coffee then one of them will come wake me up. Communication is essential to ensure that nothing is forgotten, like lunch, tools or backpacks. If for whatever reason I am running behind, I can ask them for help. Our daughter is good about running upstairs for me when I’ve forgotten something in my room. Likewise, I’ll ask her if she has her lunch. We talk. If something comes up, we adjust. One morning a coworker had a family emergency and needed me to cover for her. A quick conversation with the guys and a few texts later, we had the situation sorted out. We work together. Everything is polyamory. Trust, communication and flexibility are skills required for a solid relationship. These are things you don’t put aside or only use at home. They become parts of you. Likewise, the five tenets of taekwondo are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, indomitable spirit and self-control. Since I’ve started studying taekwondo, I have seen these tenets in action among the other students. Everyone treats everyone else with respect, no matter the belt rank or age. A drill may be hard but we tackle it with determination; it’s easy to keep going when someone is standing there cheering

5  


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

you on. These tenets become a part of how you view the world, how you handle situations. Everything is taekwondo. When my instructor told me I was ready to advance to the next level, he gave me the eye and said: “Just because we’ve achieved something, we don’t relax. We train harder.” Imagine if you figured that you knew everything there was to know about communication, that you figured without asking your partners that everything was awesome. Just because everything looks good doesn’t mean you relax. There is always more to learn, something to improve. A perfect example came to me at the belt test. The guys and our daughter went with me. I was able to watch the black belts I've trained with test. They were impressive; years of training and studying making them these strong, fluid forces of nature blasting boards and sliding through forms in deadly silence. One young lady floated through her forms, intensity bringing a sharpness to her movements. J was impressed. He said she made it look easy. Indeed she had. What he didn't see was her struggling with portions of her form, puffing out her cheeks in frustration when she didn't get it right and practicing endlessly in the mirror to make sure her hands went in the right direction. Like polyamory, we look at successful relationships in awe and think it looks easy. The work behind the success is what goes unseen. We have been together almost five years at the time of this writing. In those five years, we've had arguments, pack-your-stuff-and-go moments and communication failures. Mistakes have been made and we've learned from them. We move on, writing what we've learned on our hearts so we don't forget. Like the black belts, you pick yourself up when you fall. You try again. You keep trying until you get it right. When you hit a wall, you find someone who has been there and ask how they went around that obstacle. In the clip, Dre complains that he isn't learning anything. To him, he's only taking on and off a jacket. To his

6    

August  2013  

master, Dre is working on a pattern until it becomes instinct. The same can be said of polyamory. Everything around us is a potential teacher. There is something to be learned about ourselves and others from just about anything. You never know what moment will bring clarity. Bruce Lee wrote that a martial artist should "flow like water." I agree. I also think that poly people should "flow like water" and let their own personal experiences guide them on their path. Like Dre, instead of waiting for experts to give us answers, we should look to ourselves. Rather than yell at Mr. Han because he hasn't instantly turned us into a kung fu master, we should pick up the jacket and do the damned work. Everything is poly.

Pocket   Writer-­‐  Former  Contributor  

Pocket  (aka  Melissa)  is  the  P  in  a  MFM  triad  known  as   PB&J  who  currently  share  a  house  w ith  their  daughter   and  three  cats.    When  not  w riting  or  reading,  Pocket  is   training  to  be  a  ninja  and  outrun  zombies.  


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

Cynical Opinionated Poly Advice One trick for navigating polyamory is to recognize the advantages and disadvantages of the three types of polyamory discussed in this article: polyfidelity, hierarchical poly, anarchical poly. Having talked with people, dated people, interviewed people, and fucked people, I’ve concluded that there are three main types of what I call polyamory (as opposed to the much broader notion of “open relationships”). My definition of polyamory is having relationships with multiple partners who are always open to the possibility of everyone being in love with 2+ people. I’m going to discuss what I perceive as the benefits and drawbacks of each of these types of polyamory, and then give my advice. *** The first strand is what I think of as just straight-up polygamy, but usually gets referred to as “polyfidelity.” These people engage in group marriages. Although some people seem to think that this is what polyamory is, I personally have met so few people engaging in polyfidelity that I can’t really make much in the way of generalizations about it other than largely hypothetical observations.

“Family is all there is.” Moreover, the few people I’ve seen doing it try to engage in what seems to me to be a willful delusion of equality. In practice, one person usually gets added to a pre-existing dyadic relationship, and there’s really only two ways that tends to go. 1) The pre-existing relationship dyad is strong, and the third person always feels left out. 2) The pre-existing relationship was weak, and the dyad ends up fighting all the time about/over the new person. Add to that that the types of people who engage in this dynamic are often as well-suited to “fidelity” as most “monogamous” people are to monogamy.. But worst of all, if something goes wrong in one relationship, it tends to have a serious negative impact on the other relationship, causing what I like to refer to as “the poly domino effect.” Et voila: it’s terrifyingly easy to lose 2+ people whom you love dearly and whom you have tried to build a life with at the same time. ***

The advantages: It’s economically efficient, provides instant cuddle piles, gives you a “village” to raise your child, and provides at least a modicum of sexual variety. Polyfidelity can be great for the kinds of people who like putting “family first!,” and it best suits people who aren’t the rugged individualistic sorts. The disadvantages: After awhile, it seems to provide most of the disadvantages of monogamy, plus a helluva lot of extra processing. There are often a lot of individual sacrifices that go into this arrangement: for example, it’s really hard for a lot of people to move because one person got a job promotion. “Family first!” can start to feel like

 

The second type is what most people call hierarchical polyamory. In hierarchical polyamory, you have clearly defined relationships and relationship priorities. There are primary, secondary, and tertiary relationships, although people usually hesitate to just throw those words around. (People don’t often get introduced as, “My secondary,”--at least not when they’re standing there). An aphorism I heard once that encapsulates the distinction pretty damned well is that if you get offered your dream job, the primary says, “When do we move?”; the secondary says, “When can I visit?”; and the tertiary says, “It’s been fun!” (As a sidenote, primary relationships do not always have to be singular--

7  


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

sometimes people try to have multiple primaries in nonpolyfidelitous arrangements). The advantages: Hierarchical polyamory is comforting. It provides structure and stability. It’s great for the kinds of people who like to buy a house, have a retirement plan with a partner, and have kids with a primary. It permits multiple loves and provides sexual variety. It also is usually in a fairly good position to survive the unnerving experiences of “NRE” (New Relationship Energy) when new partners are introduced, because the relationship expectations and priorities are fairly well-laid-out. The disadvantages: The biggest disadvantage of hierarchical polyamory is what I call “The Paradox Box.” The Paradox Box is that relationships fit into that primary, secondary, and tertiary grid--not people. We find people that we fall madly in love with and try to make them our secondaries. A lot of people seem to operate under the assumption that if they date someone as their secondary, and both partners' primaries just happened to die in a car crash the same day, then the two secondaries would become primaries and could live happily-everafter, but-that’s-not-how-the-world-worked-out,-so-okay. Hierarchical polyamory in that scheme usually works for awhile--often a very long while--until the secondary relationship starts to feel like a tree planted in a flower box. At that point, if the primary relationship is strong (or even just very resilient), the secondary relationship tends to implode; if the primary relationship was weak, the secondary relationship tends to bust all over it. The problem is that to create sustainable secondary and tertiary relationships, you usually have to either 1) deliberately pursue people you’re less compatible with or 2) deliberately pursue people who are (like you) so busy that the relationship will never hit the too-big-for-the-box breaking point. A related problem is that people often end up in uneven relationship dynamics (e.g. “I have a primary and you don’t, so um...”). Uneven dynamics tend to be quite stressful, and it is usually extremely difficult for someone with a very serious “secondary” relationship to find a primary. For some reason, relationship architecture means that it’s much easier to build a secondary relationship under a primary relationship than to build a primary relationship over a secondary one. Even with more "even" relationship dynamics, secondary relationships can often go to hell if just one person's primary relationship collapses--another path to poly dominoes.

8    

August  2013  

*** The third type is what I like to jokingly call anarchical polyamory. I’ve heard people (although not many) claim to be doing poly with “no rules,” and that philosophy is the heart of anarchical polyamory--even though in practice, most people have at least some rules. The idea is that relationships aren’t defined in terms of things like “primaries” and “secondaries”; they’re defined in terms of what people need and what works right now and for the forseeable future. If you’re familiar with Anthony Giddens, this is the quintessence of what he calls “pure relationships.” The advantages: This type of polyamory is flexible and adaptable: there’s a lot of room in it for relationships to grow and change as people grow and change. It tends to provide the maximum opportunity for sexual variety and relationship experience. You aren’t trying to make relationships with people fit a grid in a box. It makes it relatively easy to add new relationships. It also is the relationship style that most frankly acknowledges that no matter how much we might want to grow old and die with someone, the relationship that’s good for us when we’re 26 might not be the best relationship for us when we’re 60. It’s a style well-suited to the stereotypical 21st-century urban individualist who never understood why anyone would want a mortgage when they could just rent a nice apartment, and who would rather take their partners’ kids to Six Flags than change diapers themselves in the middle of the night. The disadvantages: This type of polyamory is sooooo unstable. Relationship dynamics might change at any moment! It makes it difficult (although not impossible) to do things like buy houses or raise children together. It also provides little to no shelter from the whirlwind of NRE: when one partner falls hard for someone else, all of a sudden, everything may change. It’s a fairly survival-of-thefittest relationship style: just as it makes it easy to add new relationships, it makes it pretty easy to lose them. On top of that, the only real way to cope with jealousy in this dynamic is just to try not to get jealous.


ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

There’s really a fourth type which is what I’m currently doing: I think of it as pseudo-hierarchical polyamory. In this strand, you have a well-established primary relationship, and then an anarchical collection of other relationships. But just as in classical hierarchical polyamory, pseudo-hierarchical polyamory tends to really limit the potential growth of the non-primary relationships. You’ve changed the shape of the Paradox Box, but it’s still a box nonetheless. So what's my advice? My advice is pick your poison, and know what your priorities are. So many people just drift into polyamory and decide to go with the flow; that only works out well in a few lucky cases. If you want a happy ending, you have to know yourself well enough to know what you want compared to what you’re likely to get. If you want someone to settle down with and co-parent with, be honest with yourself about the challenges you face if you’re trying to do anarchical polyamory. Meanwhile, if you long for sexual and romantic freedom and think white picket fences are an oppressive bourgeois construction, hierarchical polyamory is likely going to leave you feeling uncomfortable and trapped. And if security is more important to you than High Romance, then be wary of the “secondary” you believe you could have lived happily ever after with if the gods had dealt the cards differently. These things are all still possible, but they become easier or harder depending on the situation. I’ve watched a lot of people let themselves get talked into one style or the other because it was what was convenient, not because it was what they actually wanted for themselves.

Elenorofa   Writer-­‐  Active  Contributor  

Elenorofa has a Ph.D. in Sociology and is a professor at a university in Washington, D.C. she is a P^3 (pansexual polyamorous pagan) and blogs about sex, kink, and polyamory extensively on fetlife as IPCookieMonster. Her current research focuses on the BDSM scene, polyamory, and paganism. When not busy “working,” she is usually busy spinning fire with her troupe HVBRIS or poledancing.

 

In summary: relationships often don't fit well into boxes, but boxes can usually make relationships more longlasting. If reading all of this is making you feel totally hopeless, then let’s play the same game for monogamy: The advantages: It provides the illusion of stability and makes your mom happy. The disadvantages: I don’t have that much time.

 

9  


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

Poly Panic Prevention Practices Opening up a relationship can be a very difficult thing to navigate emotionally. This is what I learned about controlling jealousy and anxiety when I opened up my marriage.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. Frank Herbert - Dune Here you are. You're married or have a long time partner that you love dearly and have decided that you want to spice things up or just be free to express yourselves. Whatever the reason, you have chosen to take this path together. You've talked it out with your partner, you are ready to open up and take the plunge. You've got your OKCupid account fired up, old partners have been reconnected with, and a couple of interests have popped up on your horizon that really appeal to you. At this point, you are reveling in the new openness that your current relationship has to offer and it is almost like discovering someone new living in the body of someone you've always loved. You've got interested potentials lined up and feel like a million dollars and are feeling invulnerable behind this shield of self-esteem. And then they step out the door for that first date and your chest suddenly tightens and it feels like there is a Tesla coil behind your solar plexus. Maybe that feeling sets in when they talk about or to other people. It is a sense of desperation that seems to filter through your bones and out your fingertips and infects everything you touch and makes everything slip slightly out of focus. I have heard it called “poly panic” but I find that that term

10    

understates the issue. You have been trained your entire life that there is just one awesome person out there for you and that if they cheat on you, your world will implode and there will be nothing left in their heart for you. That is the reality of things. You have been trained your entire life that your goals, your self worth, are all tied up into this one being who, by the mere act of being “unfaithful,” somehow will destroy you and everything you know. Seriously, it is amazing that you got to the point where you mustered up the courage to even broach the subject of polyamory, much less dig up a good pic of yourself from college and put it up on Plenty Of Fish. There is no shame in feeling this fear. We’re geared from birth to think in apocalyptic terms when it comes to relationships. We are told from an early age that affairs and sex with people outside the pair bond are the ultimate betrayal and that your family would be destroyed if it were to ever happen. Being that you've already made the choice to be poly, you know that these things are not the case. You know it in your head, but it seems that the Tesla coil in the chest has not received the memo yet. A part of you and a part of your body still feels this fear. Controlling these emotions is easiest with taking a multifaceted approach. A mix and blend of changes of perspective, education, self affirmation, getting comfort and support, and just plain-old distraction. “The mind is smart, but the body is stupid” - My counselor. He told me this when explaining to me why I was gaining weight and feeling like my veins were going to burst from my skin. It was because my body was stressed out from work and having to be hyper-aware all the time. Your body reacts and does things based on input from your brain and sometimes it needs to be told that there were no dangers out


1 2

 ModernPoly:  August  Edition   there to be worried about. Your body does the same thing with most every emotion and sometimes it takes more than just a few happy thoughts to set your body at ease. The sensations in your bones and chest are real sensations and are signals to your brain that your body has made the appropriate preparations for whatever is to come. Understanding this is critical to learning to overcome some of the stronger emotional responses. First and foremost you need to be open about your feelings to your partner. Most people say that the cornerstone of poly is communication, but from time to time I find myself not being able to share my feelings for reasons that are far less detrimental than actually sharing them. It is not always easy and it is not always easy to be on the receiving end of them but, like with all new skills, you get better with practice. You need to be able to ask for reassurance and they, ideally, will be able to understand that a request for reassurance does not equal a veto or even weakness. Weakness would be fear of asking for help. Being able to reach out for help is a strength.

August  2013   Another valuable lesson I learned from these mental exercises was that I could be bribed and/or distracted. By “bribed” I mean that I could treat myself to a date or time with another person or other enjoyable activity. Or my partner could do something extra special for me that also gives me physical reassurance. By “distracted” I mean I could use this alone to do something constructive, like Xbox games, and if those things are not engaging enough to keep my mind off her date, I can easily and quickly communicate with someone who can. When my partner went on her first coffee date I made things miserable for myself. I knew where it was and when it would be and she texted me when she got there etc., but I was locked in my office at work and didn't do anything but fret the whole time until I made myself sick. I thought I could just handle it on my own and had told myself it was no big deal. It sucked. I realized that I made the time bad for myself, and since I was at work then, I wasn’t going to be seeing her during that time anyways.

For her second date, I decided to take what I learned and put it into practice. I made sure to get a nice hug from my partner Remember that your partner is your friend and not your before I left for work. I made a coffee date for myself that day. property. I actually befriended a girl who once was a Made sure to keep it light and casual and enjoyed myself. I dating prospect but I didn't really click with that way but sent out a couple texts to some friends for some basic chitchat. got along with otherwise. We decided to keep in touch to I brushed up the OKCupid profile a little bit and sent out a compare notes about dating and sex. It was a fresh few messages and made contact with a new and interesting perspective neither of us had had before and we have a person. Basically I spent the day immersed in either work or great deal of fun learning about the differences in how men conversation while at the same time reassuring myself that my and women approach dating. After a while I found myself partner will still love me when I see her again and that I am a genuinely happy for her when she met someone she liked loveable person as evidenced by the many people who talked and I asked myself why I could not feel the same way for to me that day. I had a pretty good day that day. After that, I my partner. It was because I was still viewing my partner realized that I can make all my days good if I want to. It is an as a possession and not as another free being. empowering sensation. Play mind games with yourself. I did some mental exercises early on when we first started talking about poly. I thought about her with other people, with and without me, and noted how my levels of jealousy and fear went up and down with the various scenarios. I noticed that the scenarios that involved her and I with someone else were less traumatizing than her with someone else and me alone, but the least traumatizing ones were ones involving me with a partner of my choosing. I realized that it really was not fear of losing her that I felt, but fear of being alone or of abandonment. This is where asking for reassurance comes in handy. A hug or kiss, a caress, sets the body at ease, a body who was set to fear mode by the thought of loss. It really does need to have her skin pressed against it to be sure that she is real and that she intends to return.

 

This is a new life for us. Hand in hand we are going forward with this with a greater sense of trust in each other than we have ever had. And even more than that, we can trust ourselves.

Mike  W -­‐  Active  Contributor   Mike  W  is  an  independent  contractor  w ho  specializes  in   retail  development  and  design.    By  day,  he  helps  small   businesses  achieve  their  financial  goals  through  streamlining     proceprocesses  and  developing  a  market  identity.    By  night   he  is  a  father  o f  a  4  and  voluntaryism  advocate.    He  currently   resides  with  his  parter  and  co-­‐parent  in  south-­‐central  Alaska   but  will  soon  be  relocating  to  the  East  Coast.    His  views  on   polyamory  are  unconventional,  believing  that  it  is  the  natural   state  of  humans  and  that  monogamy  has  been  detrimental  to   society  and  to  the  survival  of  humans  as  a  species.  

11  


ModernPoly:  August  Edition  

August  2013  

Follow Us Ø Subscribe to our RSS Feed  

Modern Poly exists to create and maintain a safe and supportive space where those engaged in the practice of polyamory can come together to share ideas, experiences, resources and activism regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or physical location. Our vision is to facilitate the creation of an active and vibrant polyamory community which spans the spectrum of personal philosophies and physically diverse locations. Mail: info@modernpoly.com Or use our Contact Form

12    

Ø Follow us on Twitter Ø Be a fan on Facebook Ø Follow us via Mail


ModernPoly Summer 2013 Collection  

ModernPoly writers elaborate on the connections between identity and relationships as well as give us insights into personal experiences ide...

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you