Archive of the Victoria, BC, Canada, discussion group.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Guest post: The Other Side of the Coin
(Reposted from polyamory.com 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 progression. 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 another. 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 wants 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.