By Kendra Holliday | April 21, 2018
This is a follow-up to the wonderful guest post I shared the other day from a woman new to polyamory struggling with her illogical, runaway emotions.
I’ve been there. See?
Things you should know when you’re new to polyamory:
It gets better.
Every person experimenting with poly who has contacted me in the middle of their biggest freakout reports back to me a week or two later that things are much better, and that the experience has brought them closer to their partner or others. That’s what polyamory is all about – connecting with others in ways that feel right to YOU.
The rigid rules of traditional society don’t work for a lot of people. It takes courage to try a different path. You may feel like your friends don’t understand, and afraid of what your family might think.
REPLACE THE FEAR WITH LOVE.
Imagine how Lewis and Clark felt as they blindly navigated their way out West. They forged the way for others, and now, we have San Francisco. OK, now imagine Lewis and Clark at Folsom Street Fair…
TANGENT! (sorry, back on topic)
Sometimes – but not always – you’re not partnered with the right people. Just like other relationships (monogamy, work, family), the problem might be the dynamic. Don’t be so quick to blame polyamory OR yourself.
I feel like a poly pro, but I’ve been doing it for 10 years. Think about where you will be in 10 years. As for me, 10 years ago I was a nervous wreck; whether I was driving to dates or staying home while my partner was out with someone else, my stomach was in knots – NOT a very sexy feeling.
Advice from a woman who’s been doing it for more than three years and used to have jealous freakouts galore:
“My biggest advice would be this. Don’t ever try to feel NOT jealous. Feel it. Feel it deeply and express it. And then understand that your jealousy is not a call for your partner to change their behavior. One of the men I am dating never gets jealous, so I spent a lot of time hiding my own feelings from him in our early days. Another man I’m dating gets more jealous than me, but has learned to deal. I still get jealous, but it comes and then quickly leaves.”
“Rules are made to be changed. Cut everybody some slack (including yourself!) but be mindful of the things that hurt others and learn from them.”
“Don’t try poly as a way to fix/save your current relationship. And watch out for others who are trying to fix/save their relationship.”
“I’ve seen more than one relationship saved by poly. I think it depends on what the problems are in the relationship. If the ‘problem’ is truly just that one person (or both) wants the freedom to be involved with other people, and the relationship is otherwise strong, and both are willing and able to expand their minds to accept that change in terms in the relationship, it can work. Sometimes, it takes a dire situation to convince someone that they should re-examine their world views. If the relationship has other problems, then, well, you need to fix those first.”
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my current relationship is that it’s okay to feel jealousy; the difference in poly and traditional relationships isn’t a lack of jealousy, but how you deal with it.”
“When I start to feel pangs of jealousy, my partner doesn’t get defensive; he doesn’t start trying to explain the situation into something benign; he doesn’t make me feel bad for having an unpleasant emotion. He simply shows me that he loves me, and that I’m important to him. Which is all I need. It’s worked every time so far.”
“Perception is not always reality. Be mindful of irrational fears and feelings. Just because you think it or feel it, it isn’t necessarily true.”
“Sure, go ahead and try the ‘Don’t Share Details’ technique, but keep this in mind: Your imagination is WAY more wild than reality.”
“Own your own feelings. No one makes you feel anything – it’s all you.”
“Own your own relationship – don’t allow others to dictate what it is or should be…”
“There is always and will always be enough love for you. If you start feeling ignored or insecure, think about how you feel about your friends and lovers. Remember, you think about them and love them even when they aren’t around; therefore, they are probably thinking about you and loving you right at this very moment. And don’t be afraid to ask for a hug or some reassurance. Everyone needs reassurance sometimes, and you are giving a great gift to your loved ones by allowing them to reassure you when you’re vulnerable.”
And finally, a post called “How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too: Five Things That Make Polyamorous Relationships Work,” shared with me by Alan of Polyamory in the News.
Poly pros: how long did it take for you to “get used to” the polyamorous lifestyle? Months? Years? Honestly, I’ve been practicing it for about ten years now, and I’d say it’s only been in the past four years or that I’ve found my comfort zone. If that sounds like a long time, just think about the 30 years of monogamous programming that had to be undone!