AskMiriam

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Archive for the tag “appreciation”

Back to Basics

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the following 4 things: communication, time management, jealousy, and appreciation. In my mind, these are the 4 things you need to grasp as someone who’s in poly relationships. I will describe those 4 things below.

First, communication. Of course, you need communication in every type of relationship, be it with friends, in monogamy, or in polyamory. Some argue, especially in polyamory. I have written before that polyamory is more than anything a communication style. We have to be open about what and who we want, what kind of sex we want, etc. We also need to master, what I call, the art of the heads up. Say for example, you’re at a party with a partner. If you anticipate flirting with other people, let your partner know. You can let them know either before or during. If you get separated from each other and you flirt with someone else, you can let them know afterward. In polyamory, we often talk about “processing.” After something significant happens, we talk about it with our partner(s). So, you can see that communication is so important. For myself, I am a very verbal person. I like it when people tell me things and I like telling people things. Some of my friends know that it can be hard for me to keep my mouth shut. That’s one of the reasons why poly works for me. If I meet someone I like, I will tell my partner(s) and probably my friends as well.

Next, time management. If you have more than 1 relationship, scheduling can be an issue. For someone like me, it is especially a challenge because I like having hobbies; I play ultimate frisbee, I dance, and I write poetry. Plus, most of us need to work. There are only so many hours in a day! Last year, I saw a talk by Tristan Taormino, author of one of the poly bibles Opening Up. She said that a poly person must have invented Google calendar- it has lots of colours and different means of scheduling things. I have been in relationships with people who use it and I have to say, it’s so gratifying when you see their calendar and your name is on it. I try to schedule my time as fairly as I can. It can be difficult when people want to see me and I have to say no. Also, the amount of time you spend with people is often indicative of how important they are to you. Be sure to sit down with your partner(s) and see what they feel is fair.

Thirdly, jealousy. I have had both positive and negative experiences with it. By positive, I mean that it can show you how much you care about the person. However, if it takes over your life, it will feel very negative at times. In my experience, communication defeats jealousy. The more you talk about things, the better you will feel. A friend of mine said that defeating jealousy requires good communication and a healthy sense of self. If you can realize how important you are to your partner, jealousy should not be an issue. Your partner(s) should also be reminding you how important you are to them. We also have to realize how much love there is to go around. After all, one of the reasons we became poly was because we wanted to love, or at least have the opportunity to love, more than 1 person. Our culture sometimes reminds us that things are scarce, but love isn’t one of those things.

Finally, appreciation. Awhile back, I was with 2 people who complemented each other almost perfectly. I felt very fulfilled and as a bonus, the 2 of them got along very well. I reminded them as often as I could what I appreciated about them. In poly, everyone brings something to the table. I really wish we didn’t feel the need for hierarchy though this seems to naturally happen. Ideally, everyone should be recognized as bringing something unique into our lives. Secondaries should not be made to feel secondary. They ought to be recognized for who they are.

If you have any questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca  As always, thanks for reading! Please write in 🙂

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Words on Journeys, Appreciation, and Confidence

Many people have described polyamory to me as a journey. I remember feeling that way when I first started attempting to practice it. It felt like I was setting out into the unknown and my only companion was knowledge; I knew I wanted to have the opportunity to have relationships with multiple people. Polyamory itself has also accompanied me on many journeys such as my month long train trip in the US last year. I went to conferences, talked to people about poly, talked to poly people about their identity, etc. Last week, Patrick, a fellow poly blogger (itsnotaboutthesex.wordpress.com) made a very long journey to see me. A month and a half before or so, we had a skype conversation where he said he wanted to visit me for his 40th birthday. I was taken aback by his decision, but definitely excited. We started corresponding at the end of November through Twitter, then through long emails, and then on skype. Over that time, we became more familiar to each other and the excitement about each other grew. There was some disappointment this weekend, but overall, we had a good time. Patrick was enthralled by Toronto and how open and accepting we are. We went to a few areas of the city, had some great food, and talked a lot. We visited a sex club and watched each other be sexual with others. I actually met someone who I’m going to see again; recently I feel like I have only met people at that sex club who live out of town, so I was happy to meet someone who actually lives in Toronto. I was also glad to see Patrick step out of his comfort zone and eventually feel comfortable being naked in front of others. On Sunday, we decided that we would only be friends, but he is still quite interested in living here and I don’t blame him. Toronto affords so many opportunities when you are poly. As I wrote above, we are very open and accepting, we have sex clubs, etc. It is so nice to be reminded of how good we have it here. Occasionally I forget…

I also wanted to discuss appreciation within poly relationships. Many monogamous people think that if you are poly, it shows that your relationship is faulty; you have to seek things with other people because you are not happy with what you have. This could not be further from the truth. I have observed that poly makes good relationships stronger. This is exactly how I feel right now about Ben and I. Since we are confident in what we have, we are able to have relationships with others. We don’t take each other for granted and we always communicate what is going on, which takes all the jealousy away and we actually get turned on when we talk to each other about what we’ve done with others. We also appreciate each other more because of the variety. For example, we often think the same thing at the same time, and that rarely happens in many relationships. Conversely, poly makes weaker relationships worse. Poly  often brings things to the surface that would cause a breakup in that relationship if they do not get addressed. So, if you are already in a relationship and you want to open things up, make sure you aren’t doing it because something in the relationship is off. There are times when something IS missing like rougher sex, for example, but poly can be a genuine solution to that. There are lots of poly BDSM folks out there.

One last thing- I have been thinking a lot recently about confidence. Personally, I don’t think I could do poly if I wasn’t a confident person. As I said before, jealousy often arises because of insecurities. I know that I’m not a perfect person and there are things about myself I want to improve, but overall, I’m happy with the person I am. In our culture, women are not supposed to be confident and when we show it, it can be threatening. We also aren’t supposed to accept compliments and I do. I often take things literally, so when people compliment me, I feel that they are being genuine. Perhaps they are lying to me, but if they were, why say a nice thing? They could just say nothing at all. I think many people are hard on themselves, but personally, I feel that life is too short for that. You have to work with what you have.

If you have a question or a comment, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca Stay tuned for more blogs!

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