Feb 2016

Poly Tools




tools

Recently, I’ve been asked by a couple of poly people about the tools that I’ve used over the last 16 years to make it through some poly situations. I’m very up front with the struggles I’ve had, and now they see where I am, and want to know how I got here. Well, I created some tools along the way that have been a major help to me.
 
One has been going through some major struggles, so I gave her some of my tools. These tools come from different places. Some are from 12-step techniques, some are from my ptsd background, some are from my spiritual background. I’m not picky where I pick up these tools from. If they work, they work.
 
Well, I gave her the tools that we talk about in our ‘8 Tools for Poly’ workshop. Then, realized I had another tool that I’ve been working with really consistently lately, and didn’t even realize I was doing it until I was typing these tools out for her. This 9
th tool is about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

What I mean is, how would you like to have the other person react to you? That’s how you should be striving to react to them. For example, I tell my husband that I’m interested in a new person. His first response is, ‘Great honey, I’m happy for you.’ Yet, I tell my husband that someone is interested in him, he loves this, and my response is ‘great, I shouldn’t have told you’. I said it with a smile on my face, but if I turn around and think about how I would have felt if he had responded to my news like that, even with a smile on his face it would have crushed me. My words were a habitual pattern. Isn’t that how wives are supposed to react? Not this wife. It’s not how I want to be. So, I tried to take back my words……but it was too late. Now he’s going to wonder if I’m really jealous over this other person. And since she is 5 hours away, is it going to be worth it to him to invest the time in a new relationship if he’s also got to worry about a jealous wife.
 
I love it when my husband is happy for me. I look for the signs of jealousy and if I see them I’ll call him out on it. But, usually he is genuinely happy that I’ve found an opportunity to explore myself. So, this is the viewpoint I try to come from, how would I want my partner to react when I want to try something new?
 
If the current boyfriend and his wife want to take me to a winery, I don’t want my husband to be butt hurt because it’s not something that he and I would do. Yet, I was the jealous wife for a long time. If his girlfriend asked him to do something that didn’t include me, I was a mess to deal with. I didn’t know how to be happy for his new opportunities. I was jealous and fearful. But, now that I have had other relationships myself, I understand.
 

It still takes some thought on my part to have the reaction to his opportunities, but I am getting better at it. I have a lot of societal programming to get past. Yet, I’m so much happier when I come at it from this view point. One day it will become a natural part of my behavior. I’m excited about that. 
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Couples Privilege

couple

Couples Privilege:

This seems to be a hot topic in the poly community lately. I’m not sure I understand what the issue is.
I just read an article to make sure that I understood the issue that people are having, and I still don’t get it. There are all kinds of poly and just because you go into it as a couple, and make decisions as a couple, doesn’t make it a ‘wrong’ kind of poly.
 
Yes, there are advantages to being a couple and then bringing other people in. For us, we try to be as honest about what we are looking for as possible. Sometimes it’s a person to date together, sometimes separately. And anyone I date, needs to know that my husband comes first. Is that wrong? It may be hurtful if the other person has low self-esteem or abandonment issues. But, is it ‘wrong’? Do we have to change who we are and how we deal with our poly relationships? I don’t think so.
 
I hear a lot of ‘what about the other people’? The third that you bring in? Ok. What about it? If we are up front with what we are looking for and what we have available to offer after a lot of soul searching, is it our fault if they decide it’s not what they want and expect us to change? This has happened a couple of times to us. It’s unfortunate.
I’ve had someone tell me it’s because I’m part of a couple that I can’t see what I wrong with this. OK. Well, I’m also a third to someone that is married and they work their relationship the same way. Their marriage with children is primary. I am second. Yes, he loves me and I’m his partner and he tries to make things fair to me, but it’s a different relationship than what he has with his wife.
 
There’s nothing wrong with that. I knew this going in. And if I want more than what is being offered, it’s my choice to stay or go. Same with those that join us; together or individually. Poly relationships are never going to be 100% fair. What would even be the point of that? And what does ‘fair’ even mean in this situation.
I’m starting to think that I’m in the minority with this thinking, at least vocally. How I see people live is very different. Rarely do I see poly pods that are 100% equal and ‘fair’.

I’m ok with being part of a couple that is limited in what they have to offer to others. And I’m ok with being a girlfriend to a married guy that puts his marriage first. Do I get privileges? Sure. Do they get privileges, sure.
 
I just finished the article and nope, I still don’t get what the issue is. Yes, I understand that in society a married couple gets more privileges than say, a triad; with banks, hospitals, even hotels. But, within relationships, people are allowed to set up how they want to do relationships. I actually think it’s a little rude for a new person to come in and then think that everything should automatically shift to make them an equal in the relationship. We’ve had that happen before too. It doesn’t work that way. Or maybe for some people it does, but not in my experience.

And it fees a little rude to assume what that newer person is looking for as well. To assume that they will have an issue with the couple having different responsibilities, etc. etc., means we are thinking for them. Instead get to know the person first. And to everyone, if it doesn’t work, follow your feet. Easier said than done, I know. But, in the end, if something doesn’t work for us then we have to make the choice to stay or go. And if we decide to stay, we need to be ok with not being able to change people or situations.
 
All in all, to assume that one way is wrong and one way is right just has that elitist feel. Monogamous isn’t better. Poly isn’t better. Certain types of poly aren’t better or worse than others. We are all different and therefore it makes sense that there are different ways of doing poly. Build what works for you and if it works, live it. If you meet someone that does it differently, and it’s not a fit, don’t judge, move on.

*Edit - I was part of a poly panel today…..and 8/9ths of the panel were part of a couple that then opened their marriage.



 
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Valentine's Day



Happy-Valentines-Day-Image-7



Valentine’s Day is a funny day for me. Not as bad as ‘sweetest day’, but pretty close. Why? Because it’s a made up day. Well, not really; it does had ancient roots as a fertility festival time. But, Valentine’s Day with the way Westerners celebrate it, it completely fake. It’s a day to prove your love to someone by buying them things. It’s a day of cards, candy, flowers. Those companies that sell these products need us to buy this stuff, so they push the guilt trips.
 
I don’t want to be bought something because it’s a day to buy it according to the media and companies that are selling stuff in stores. If I could stay out of the stores, I wouldn’t feel the need to buy anything. But, the pressure is there. And being poly, makes it even harder. Why? Because I saw my husbands girlfriend get flowers delivered from her new boyfriend. And then candy delivered from her other boyfriend. And my husband’ play partner had dinner made for them by a friend on their date night just before Valentine’s Day. I must say that I was a little jealous. Logically I knew I didn’t need my guys to prove anything to me with gifts …..but…..
 
If it was just me and my husband, like it used to be, gifts and cards wouldn’t be bought on Valentines Day. There just isn’t a need. We know we love each other, the cards will get thrown away at some point, the candy isn’t part of our eating plan, cut flowers are dead, and giving me a live plant is like handing someone over to a known murderer. So, what’s the point? We do we give these gifts on this day? And how did I get sucked into this year?
 
Well, it started with the resolve not to give each other cards or gifts, for all the reasons I mentioned above. I remained firm. Then, I was in the grocery store where the cards were right there as soon as you walked in the door. They were pretty and I looked. Then, I found one that I absolutely wanted to give to my husband partner. I flipped it over and saw that it was $9.00. $9 !!!!! What the hell? It’s a folded piece of paper with a saying. Granted it’s a nice piece of paper and I love the saying. But, I’m not paying $9 for a card that is going to gather dust or be thrown away. So, I put it back.
 
But, the line had been crossed. I had actually thought about getting a card. So, the next day when I was in the line at the post office and saw the rack of cards, I couldn’t resist temptation. And there was a card with a skunk on it. A skunk. Dan’s animal totem is a skunk. And right next to it was another card that was perfect for my boyfriend. Damn! I just couldn’t resist. I bought them, knowing that I was then going to have to let the husband know that I bought him a card so that he wouldn’t be taken by surprise since we don’t usually do that.
 
Then, the next day I’m in the grocery store again. There was candy. There was Star Wars candy that the boyfriend would LOVE. And there was the kind of candy that my husband likes slightly more than others. I look hard to find the perfect ones, and then add them to the grocery cart. What the hell am I doing? Am I really buying this stuff? I didn’t get anything from the boyfriend last year, probably because he heard that the husband and I didn’t exchange gifts. But, here I was this year buying cards AND gifts. And even went so far as to buy the boyfriend’s wife a card. I’ve really gone over the deep end.
 
The next day was my day to visit the boyfriend. I brought his gift and card, her card and even bought their son a bag of candy. I was uncontrollable. Kicking myself for falling into the Valentine’s trap. Afraid I was going to make my men feel obligated to buy me something in return on a day we don’t usually celebrate. But, also feeling happy that I had bought them something. I do like giving gifts, just not on days that society says I should or I’m a failure.
 
I warned the husband about the card and gift, assuring him that he didn’t need to give me anything in return. I knew he would accept my words.
 
But, the next day at the Poly Valentine’s dance, the boyfriend brings a gift bag with 2 things that are so ‘me’. Which makes me feel guilty because I only got him candy. And the day after Valentine’s day, on our date night, the husband gives me a gift right before bed. He’s excited about it…and it helped that he found it on sale the day after Valentine’s Day. I’m betting he fell into the same trap that I did about seeing the other partners giving gifts. It would have been ok if I hadn’t crossed that line, but I did. Which means he’d be the only one not giving a gift. He didn’t want to be THAT guy that society warns us about. The guy that is taking us for granted because he didn’t profess his love on the one day of the year that he should. Oh wait. The second day of the year. The first day is an anniversary day. Can’t forget that.
 
So, I’ve decided that if I’m going to give gifts of love, I’ll do it throughout the year at random. And the real gift I give him next Valentine’s Day, is the note before-hand that I don’t intend to buy him anything. That will be the best gift of all.
 

Now, to get through our anniversary in a couple of weeks. I’ve already bought him something and let him know ;) 
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Metamour

When I’m driving, I have all these ideas that I want to write about. Then, I get to work and I actually have some free time, but find myself immersed in facebook. Today I have some free time, everyone has left and I don’t remember what I wanted to write about. I remember it being about poly. Let’s see if I can remember.
 
I know it had to do with my newest metamour.

First of all, what is a metamour? Well, she’s my boyfriends wife.

She’s actually taught me a lot when it comes to being poly. So, after 16 years of being poly with my primary partner, you’d think I would have this figured out by now. But, it doesn’t work that way. Not everyone has the same struggles that I do in poly. For some it’s very easy. Either they have a higher self-esteem, are more secure, don’t have the same baggage I do, don’t fear rejection, aren’t territorial, or just don’t have jealousy…regardless, they don’t have the same struggles that I do.

Because there are days that I struggle. Though I’m poly, there are days that I want my husband all to myself. There are days that I question why he needs others. There are days when I wonder why I’m not enough. There are days where I tell myself, ‘of course he wants to be with someone else, they make him happy’…which can be a good thing except when I say it with the belief that I don’t make him happy. Yes I know that no one ‘makes’ another person happy, but you know what I mean.

So, during the ups and downs over the last decade and a half, I’ve grown a lot. My husband has helped me through part of it; a past boyfriend has helped me through some, the current boyfriend has helped a lot, but the person that has helped the most is my boyfriend’s wife. The strange thing is, we haven’t talked about this. I’ve just been watching her.

She’s a generous soul. I’d love to be more like her. When I stay over, she lets me sleep in her bed since I don’t get to see him much. She invites me over when she has surprise gatherings for him, because she knows it will make us both happy. She tells me to sit up front when we drive around. She’s pleasant and giving. She smiles a lot!

And I’ve taken what I’ve learned from her and tried to apply it to my life. When I feel myself get jealous because of the time my husband spends with someone else, I think of how she is happy for her husband when he gets to spend time with me. She has nothing to fear from me, and I try to remember that I have nothing to fear of these other women. We are poly. There isn’t any reason for him to choose. ‘Him’ is both my husband and my boyfriend. I can be in both of their lives and they can have others in theirs.

It’s all good and we can all be happy and share. And it took me years, but I have a great role model in my poly life now. And we share the same guy. Who knew this could happen? I didn’t.

And you know what, she didn’t even know that I looked up to her and how she does poly, until I let it slip at a poly meeting at her house one day. She wasn’t sure how to take it. She was just doing what she does. I don’t think she realized what an impact she has on people.
 

I think I’ll stop by the store on the way to their house and pick up a Valentine’s Day card for her. 
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