AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the month “March, 2014”

Polyamory, more than anything, is a communication style

I have been thinking a lot about the above for quite some time. People often report that in monogamous relationships, they have to hide parts of themselves. They can’t tell their partner about, for example, being attracted to others and this can sometimes extend into other areas. I was with someone for a long time until June 2012. In the summer of 2011, I met someone who was in an open relationship and fell head over heels for them. I told my ex about that person and he was very jealous. Over the last year of our relationship, I couldn’t talk at all about the new person I had met because it made my ex feel insecure. There was even a period where I didn’t communicate with the new person because my ex was hurt. In the end, the long relationship ended, for a variety of reasons, and I moved into being poly.

Many people remark that I am a very open person. I find that since becoming poly, the ability to have open relationships makes me even more open in all areas of my life. I think that’s part of the reason why I write this blog. Occasionally being open gets me into trouble because I might express something at an inappropriate time and/or place. However, I personally believe that being open about we feel is so important. In polyamory, we HAVE to be honest with our partners about how we feel about others and this openness is usually cause for celebration. As we move into multiple relationships, we have to communicate how much time we want to spend with a given person, what kinds of activities we’d like to do, and of course, lots of communication needs to take place around all things sexual- be it STIs, our sexual history, consent, etc. So, yes, polyamory is a different way of having a relationship or relationships, but above all, it is a way of communicating. It is the freedom to tell your partner, I really like this person, or, yes I would like to be flogged, or yes I am attracted to multiple genders. If anything is hidden, it can be detrimental to the relationship, whether polyamorous or monogamous.

I feel very lucky that in most of my relationships, communication has been good to excellent. Of course, this isn’t just luck; it’s something you can work at. Currently, Ben and I have remarked that we give each other the space to say anything. This makes it feel like a real adult relationship because we can get into really deep discussions about anything. That was on display last weekend when we had a pretty serious talk about the future of our relationship. The resolution was very positive. It made me feel confident that if we can communicate about our big vision of what our future will be like, the little details will sort themselves out.

If you have a question, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

The Courage to be Ourselves

I was very motivated to write a blog today because of something that just happened a few hours ago. I was in touch with someone about doing some writing work for them. We spoke on the weekend and I was very excited about the prospect of this project. The person I would have worked with is Jewish and of German descent. He has compiled material for many years about dualities in the Torah. I would have helped him write a book about it. I speak German, so I would have relished speaking German with someone. Then I get an email from him saying that because of associations I belong to, he doesn’t want to work with me. He apparently googled me and certain things related to poly came up. I feel like this is some form of discrimination. As some of my readers know, I’ve been looking for a job for quite awhile and I wonder if others have googled my name and have seen the same things. I spoke to a poly friend of mine before writing this post and he knows of others that have had similar things happen to them. No one should be denied a job because they happen to date more than 1 person. There should be some form of protection for those of us who are polyamorous. In our fair province of Ontario, we may be having an election soon. This should be an issue!

A friend of mine high-fived me last weekend because of my second threesome in a week. Yes folks, I did have a second threesome last week. On the weekend before last, I was chatting online with someone I will call Shawn. I met Shawn back in the fall and decided not to pursue anything with him because his primary partner was uncomfortable with him having a deep connection with others. At the time, I was looking for a more significant relationship and as you all know, I found it. Ben was here when I was chatting with Shawn, getting turned on by the fact that someone else wanted to have a threesome with me… Shawn has been seeing a new partner for 2 months. They spoke about having a threesome and apparently Shawn thought of me. I had forgotten that I said I’d be up for that sometime when Shawn and I met initially. We agreed to meet and see if we all got along. On that evening this past weekend, we all met. I had spoken with the partner in advance and she was fine with something happening that night at her place, where Shawn wanted to have this, his first, threesome. We met and all got along and then went over to the partner’s place. The actual threesome was a lot of fun. I was very attracted to the partner and Shawn was a great lover. Afterward, things were a bit awkward though. Shawn and I were talking about possibly meeting again and I half joked with him that if we met again, I might develop feelings for him. He said, not jokingly, that’s not allowed. I was immediately turned off. How I work is that I develop feelings for people somewhat quickly. It can be very difficult for me to just have a casual relationship with someone. When I want to be with someone, I go all in. I told Shawn that I think he is missing out on a lot. Perhaps, he said. As someone I know says, polyamory is not about the sex. It’s about nurturing strong relationships with many people. Sex is nice, but nothing can replace intimacy.

If you have questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca All questions will be posted anonymously.

Our Relationships, Ourselves

Over this past weekend, when Ben was visiting, he said something very interesting that bears repeating. I realize now that it should have been obvious to me before. We were talking about our own relationship and how complete it feels. Ben said that one of the reasons why we are polyamorous is so we can learn more things about ourselves through other relationships. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Last night, I was on a second date with someone I will call Josh. I repeated Ben’s sentiment to Josh and he then asked me what I have learned about myself through other relationships. Since becoming poly, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I can be more jealous than I thought I was, but that I can also be more compersionate (adjective of compersion), depending on the relationship. I have also learned that I can actually get what I want out of a relationship; that sounds silly, but I am definitely learning that right now with Ben. I think women are often taught that we have to be the givers in the relationship- that is certainly what my mother taught me. However, when I ask for what I want, I usually get it and that is empowering. Sometimes it can be difficult to articulate exactly what we want, but clear communication is so important.

I have also learned a lot in poly because of group sex experiences. I think they actually provide good life lessons in general. Over the weekend, Ben and I had a threesome with a friend of mine, who I will call Audrey. I’ve known Audrey for over a year. Ben and I saw her at an event last week and there was some kissing. We discussed doing more and that happened this weekend. We went to a very powerful poetry event. Audrey was wearing earrings with Scrabble pieces. We all talked about how we like Scrabble and Audrey invited us back to her place to play. By the time we finished, it was very late and Audrey told us we could stay over. Her bed was big enough to sleep the 3 of us and that was lovely. Right after getting into bed, we all expressed being very tired, but kissing commenced. The experience was very positive because of the inclusivity. Everyone was engaged in doing something at almost every point. I think that is the most important thing in a threesome to make sure that no one feels left out. Another important point, and life lesson, is the ability to take a break. 2 people can be doing things and the 3rd person can watch and that is fine and fun. I enjoyed watching Ben make Audrey explode in pleasure. Normally, I’m more of a doer than a watcher, but I have learned that I don’t have to be involved all the time. The third important life lesson through group sex is that, as mentioned above, you have to ask for what you want. Audrey was very good at expressing things she wanted done to her and she asked for permission when doing certain things to us. When I wanted time with Ben, I said so and that was respected. The final lesson is, everyone has something to contribute. People have different talents and different likes and dislikes during sex. It’s great to mix things up as well. Someone once said to me that he didn’t think threesomes allowed for bold moves, especially if some of the people hadn’t been sexual together in the past, which is the case for Audrey and Ben and Audrey and myself. If you do want to make a bold move, ask. It really is that simple. Overall, Ben, Audrey, and I had a really good time. There may be more threesomes in the future…

From Monogamous to Polyamorous

Q: I recently received an email from a reader. Rather than put the entirety of its contents on here, I’m going to summarize what they said. This person, L, is poly and has recently met someone (S); they have a lot in common. However, S hasn’t had any experience with non-monogamy. L is into BDSM and has a few play partners, including a more serious one, A. L and A have talked about the situation with S and A very much trusts L’s judgment. S wants to start very slowly with an open relationship and see how things go and L is open to this.  

A: This can be a very tough spot for a poly person to be in for many reasons. First of all, you basically have to teach the new person how to be poly. For me, this is both a turn off and a turn on. I like sharing my knowledge, but it can also get very tiring. I have had varying degrees of success of introducing poly to non-poly people. In the summer of 2013, I met someone online who had never been poly before. Like L and S, we had a lot in common and had a lot of fun together. I was dating someone at the time and they got along very well. I had to end the relationship, but not for reasons related to poly. There were also 2 other people I met who had never been non-monogamous either. I really liked one of them, but he didn’t think he could be poly, and the other one was very attractive, but lacked social skills, so I didn’t pursue it. 

The other snag with introducing someone to poly is you are still seeing others. The new person, in this case S, has to accept the fact that you will be seeing other people and that can be scary. S is surely going through a lot of emotions like jealousy and has to have the communication skills to work through them. L, I would advise you to proceed with caution. Your relationship with A, I think, is significant and I don’t think you want to give up seeing them. One thing I would bring up with S is the fact that you DO live in different places and it may be beneficial for both of you to see people in your own city. Being in a long distance relationship myself, I know that being able to see people in my own city is very nice. It can be a double edged sword though; I find it makes me miss Ben more because it really shows me how much we click.

I have realized that there are lots of cool poly people out there who I have things in common with. You may meet one or more of them here and realize you don’t want to continue seeing S. I would bring this up with S and see what they say. At the begining of a relationship, I like to lay all my cards out on the table. I actually did that last night when I had a second date with B, who I met at Oasis when Patrick was in town. B told me that if he met someone he really clicked with, he would be monogamous with them. I don’t like the specter of this hanging over my head so we decided we wouldn’t see each other anymore. B is a very cool person and I’m sure he’ll meet someone he really clicks with. For myself, I get emotionally involved fairly quickly and easily and I want to have relationships that can go the distance…

Thanks L for writing in! If you have any questions, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca  All questions are posted anonymously.

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