Thursday, December 30, 2010

Guest post: The Other Side of the Coin

(Reposted from forum.)

Last night a new friend to our ever growing community asked if we could
get together to talk. She is very mono it seems but working at building
a relationship with her recently declared poly boyfriend. I agreed
without hesitation and then thought about the impact of any comments I
may have for her.

I spoke to my partner about my concerns and she pointed out that I should
get our friend to thnk and answer questions for herself as opposed to
actually injecting my opinions.

Anyone on here who knows me is aware that I am not a big fan of
mono/poly relationships. I am even a bigger non-fan of two people
starting thier relationship lives with this type of hurdle (and it is a
hurdle). But I do know they work. My biggest concern is always that each
partner has not got to experience a meaningful relationship with some
one who feels the same way about how love is shared and expressed.

She is young and as far as I know has never been in a long term
committed monogamous relationship. Immediately I have to swallow my snap
assessment and understand what I say to her could not only affect her
actions but also the heart and happiness of her boyfriend. I don't know
either person very well but still care about them as human beings and
have a responsibility not to sabotage anyone's natural relationship

So I thought I would put together some questions that I will ask her to
make her think and then hopefullly be a little more prepared and willing
to choose the best path as she sees it.

Does she truly feel monogamous?
Has she ever felt a romantic connection with more than one person? Can
she see a benefit to being open for the development and expansion of her
own relationships? Is she more traditionally conditioned mono;
influenced by the expectations of society and family? Is she internally
mono, wired to only have one romantic connection as I like to personally
put it.

What has she experienced?
Has she felt what it is liked to be someone's "one and only"? To have
some one give themselves to her willingly the same way she gives
herself? Not controlled but a willing gift of exclusivity as is the core
principle of true monogamy - a gift, not a shackle. This is important
because more than likely she will get the "grass is greener" feeling in
her relationship. I personally feel it is very important to experience
the grass on your own side of relationship nature before venturing into

What are her relationship goals short term and long term?
Short term mono/poly is arguably much easier to enjoy than the
expectation of long term commitment depending on what the individual
Is she a person with traditional relationship aspirations? Will she want
a standard wedding with traditional vows. If there is no long term
commitment ideals such as kids, house, marriage, and retirement planning
then I am much less reserved about exploring different relationship
types to in fact have "experiences".

How important is societal blending to her?
Is she prepared to stand her ground and push for at least acceptance of
how she loves with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors or will she
ok with keeping secrets about the reality of her life?

Who are her close friends and how will they react?
I lost most of my old friends but don't fault them. I am just too far
off their scale of comfort. I have made some very good friends though.
Is she willing to accept the potential loss of her regular crowd to be
replaced a crowd of people who largely have different views than she
does? I still struggle with this at times and have become almost like a
half-member of both, fading in and out of tangibility.

What will her parents think? For some of us, parental acceptance is not
that important in many ways. For others it would be crushing to be cut
off from our parents pride and endorsement of those we love. It's hard
to have a family bbq when your partner is not welcomed by your parents
or siblings because they "cheat" on you. I would be very concerned if my
daughter committed to a relationship with a polyamorous guy and I live
this life quite happily. Imagine if I didn't have a clue about poly? I'd
be waiting for the cheating bastard on the doorstep. You get my point.

What is her boyfriends idea of poly?
Is he looking to add a specific person or persons or is he wanting to be
open to all and any relationships that may present themselves?
Is she prepared to share him? To have him come to her bed after sharing
another woman's? Can she imagine them together and still embrace him
fully? He deserves her untainted love if she goes down this path. He
can't expect to have a partner who is holding back for the duration of
their relationship. If she can't face the reality of his other
relationships how can that be healthy for her or him long term? Is she
prepared for an ongoing cycle of his interest in others? Flirting,
discussing boundaries, the first night they have sex, the meeting of
people he is NREing over? Will she always be worried about every social
thing he attends for fear he is "hunting" or being hunted?

So I plan on meeting her and asking questions more than giving my own
perspective. She will probably ask why I am so happy with my
relationship and my short answer is always, my mono needs were met and
the planets basically had to align for me to be happy in this...truly
happy. Yes I have my worries and areas of concern but every night I go
to sleep and morning I wake up I am happy in knowing I love my partner
and we are family.

Those moments before sleep and just after waking are very telling times
for me. They are the gauge of my health and happiness.

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