Poly tools

Poly Tools - Putting Myself in Someone Else's Shoes

Another tool that i like to use, and another one that is more recent and would have helped me out a LOT if i had figured this out earlier.

The tool is ‘putting myself in someone else’s shoes’. What this means is…..knowing what it’s like to be on my side of the fence and flipping it so that i can feel what it is like to be on the other side of the fence. For example, i want to tell my husband that the boyfriend and i would like to go on a trip. i want my husband to be supportive and happy for me. That means, when he tells me that he would like to go on a trip with his girlfriend, that i want to be as happy and supportive for him as i’d like for him to be for me.

Then, i get to spread that out. Another example: if i wanted to start dating someone else, i’d want my husband and boyfriend to be supportive. Therefore, i need to remember that if they come to me saying they want to start dating someone else. Simply because i want to give them the same support that i would like to have.

For some reason, this was a ‘aha’ for me about 3 years ago. We’ve been doing poly for 18 years. It would have made some of the earlier years so much easier for my husband, his girlfriends, our girlfriends and me. If i have figured this out…..i would have thought about how i’d want to be treated by a metamor and then putting myself in their shows with how they would like to be treated by me.

As a matter of fact, i’m learning a LOT from my boyfriends wife. She if very supportive of our relationship and very secure in her relationship with her husband. By being on the receiving end of her supportiveness, and feeling accepted by her, i’ve realized that that is what Dan’s other partners would like to feel from me.

It was rather enlightening when this ‘aha’ moment struck.

i still have to remind myself of it, but it’s much easier to remember now and has mellowed out my relationships with him and them.

8 Poly Tools

My husband and I teach this class called ‘8 Poly Tools’ and we’ve taught it twice over the last 6 days. It’s a class with …well….14 poly tools that we’ve come up with over the last 17 years. Though, if I’m honest, most of them were discovered over the last 10 years as our poly ramped up and we needed something to help us out.

The first 7 years, we were co-amorous and dated girls together. So, there wasn’t much to deal with when it came to jealousy and stuff. It’s only when my husband started pulling away to date on his own that it became an issue for us.

Funny enough, we are teaching this class at a time when both of us can really use them. Yet, when you are in the middle of change, they can be hard to remember. Here we are, supposedly enlightened poly people.  We present on the joys of poly, the tools of poly and a couple of other topics, and here we are having our own issues. All of our poly partners are finding new people to build relationships with at the same time. His long term partner, his newest partner and my long term partner have all started new relationships within the last couple of weeks. Talk about irony. Now we get to put our feet to the pavement and walk the talk.

But, it’s hard. These situation can be so hard. So, we put the tools to work.
Manual Mode... check
Journaling ... check
Joy Journal ... check
Draft email ... check
Be with Poly people ... check
Realize it's a WAM moment ... check

Cry ... check……wait, that’s not on the list of tools. But, happens anyway. The tools help it to not spiral out of control. 

Poly 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.