PW 398: Poly-mono mix

Monogamy_Cabernet_SauvignonHow a monogamous person copes with a poly relationship 

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

1:53 Topic: How does a monogamous person adjust to polyamory?

  • Take your time It’s OK to take your time exploring polyamory. You don’t have to do everything all at once TODAY. Give yourself time to find your self-identity.
  • Take care of yourself Avoid “shoulding” all over yourself. “Should” is the enemy of happy. It’s OK to experience negative emotions.

LustyGuy has advice on dealing with specific events and using a three-step process to deal with tough events:

  1. Discuss Before the event, do a check-in with your partner to go over how you feel about your relationship—good stuff that has happened, things you’re both working on, appreciate any recent affection/chores, etc. Confirm the love!
  2. Distract During the event, distract yourself! Have a night with your friends, watch bad TV, get a massage. Have fun while the tough event is going on!
  3. Do After the event, do a check in with your partner and demonstrate that you still love each other after the event. Breakfast in bed, do each other—whatever will help you to bond and come back together.

More tips:

  • Request behaviors And remember that in discussions, focus on specific behaviors rather than vague emotional states. Rather than saying “I need to be the primary,” for example, you might ask that you get regular Friday night dates, morning sex or sappy, sexy text messages.
  • Write your user manual And of course, write your own user manual!
  • Lather, rinse, repeat Repeat the thing you have difficulty with to help develop your coping mechanisms. Just do it! (And then do it again and again!)
  • Be aware of warning signs If you’re resorting to alcohol, drugs or dangerous behavior in order to deal with polyamory, this may not be the lifestyle for you. It’s OK not to be polyamorous; please take care of yourself first.
  • Get a support network Find online or real-life communities who have been through this before and gather a social support network, even if you self-identify as monogamous

23:45 Happy Poly Moment

Derek writes in about finding his local poly community in Tulsa, OK!

25:20 Wrap up

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11 comments to PW 398: Poly-mono mix

  • Rossana Pedroso

    I just listened to your podcast on poly-mono mix. Was monogamous before and I am a newbie in the polyamory world. My relationship is with a husband and wife. Our relationships is about two years old. Often times I felt that I am taking care of them to make sure that their needs are met. Enjoyed what you both said about taking your time and taking care of myself. Thank you for this podcast I will take the tips that were given and also know that I am okay for feeling selfish at times or having negative feelings. Most of all, I need to take care of myself. Thank you.

    • Rossana–

      That’s great to hear! Yes, sometimes we who enter an existing relationship give too much precedence to that relationship at the expense of our own needs. It’s always OK to want what you want and to take care of yourself!

  • chasingjoy

    Thanks so much Minx and Lusty Guy for the really fantastic podcast. At one point Minx talked about emotions changing sometimes in 5 minutes, a week, a month, etc. Well, that is what has happened to me in a big way. I wrote the email in the show about a month and a half ago and things are so much better for me now. I still struggle with feelings of “why am I not enough” but the positives of the lifestyle keep stacking up for me and being a pros and cons list kind of gal this is still a journey I’m pursuing even through the discomfort. There was so much great advice in this podcast. I will incorporate most of it I think and I look forward to listening to the podcast about the Owner’s Manual so I can incorporate that as well. One final note, I think it’s great that Lusty Guy was concerned about my safety since my use of words was not very clear when I referred to not being very nice to myself. Minx was correct though. I have been mentally berating myself over my emotions that are not getting into line after I agreed to change the structure of our marriage to poly. Of course that’s very irrational but it would be so great if I could have just flipped a switch. :-) Thank you again for all of your hard work. This episode meant so much to me!

    • lucy

      Hi chasingjoy – i wonder if you would mind sharking your positives that keep stacking up… your pros and cons list. I am struggling in my relationship as i am not experiencing any positives to the lifestyle. All I seem to find is every single problem in my relationship comes down to it being poly. I am starting to resent poly… hell even the word right now is aggravating me. I cannot keep my eye on the prize (being in a LTR with a man I truly love). I just cannot find the benefits to all this emotional processing. I read book after book and all I seem to find is lessons on all the difficulties and problems i will need to overcome… why bother?! Would appreciate any words of wisdom on this. Am desperate to find some sort of balance: I want to feel happy when my partner is happy talking to his other partner. But right now I feel like this is tearing me apart.

      • Jen

        Hi Lucy,
        I’m not ChasingJoy, but I’m also a monogamous person in a relationship with a poly partner. I don’t have an interest in being Poly, so I have not adopted the lifestyle for myself (I don’t want to date, etc.). As a result, I personally don’t get many positives out of a Poly relationship. The two I can point to are:

        (A) I have a relationship with my partner (who IDs as poly and will not be in a monogamous relationship again), period. He and I have an amazing relationship and connection, and the benefits of just *being* in a relationship with him outweigh the difficulties of the relationship type itself.

        (B) I have learned an awful lot about myself with all the self-introspection and talking (“talk til you puke” is pretty much our motto). Sometimes, the issues that drive you to doing that level of self-introspection make it feel like a backhanded benefit (like losing 20 pounds from the flu), but it’s still a good result.

        Overall, though, I like to think of it a bit differently: what benefits do I get from a relationship with my partner? For me, I can list an awful lot, and again, that outweighs any of the difficulty I’ve had with this type of relationship. It’s hard, it’s work, but if you have a great relationship and connection, then it can most definitely be worth it.

        Hang in there and talk, talk, talk to your partner. Find other folks to talk to as well (there are poly/mono resources on Yahoo, and some of the online resources can be supportive too). Heck, sometimes it’s nice to just know you’re not alone. :-)

      • chasingjoy

        I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner.

        Adopting the poly lifestyle and cultivating what that means to me is an ever-evolving process. And sometimes it’s exhausting! And sometimes I ask myself why the hell am I doing this considering I don’t feel a compelling need to be with other people. But the bottom line is that my husband’s brain and desires coincide with a poly lifestyle so it is necessary for me to find some common ground to give him a greater sense of fulfillment in his life. My only options are to leave or adjust because even though he has offered more than once to return to monogamy for me I know he would be miserable so I continue to explore for his benefit and have found many unexpected benefits for myself along the way.

        1. The most obvious pro that pops to mind is that our marriage has vastly improved. All the walls between us completely dropped soon after converting our relationship to poly. That includes walls that I did not even know existed. It has been incredibly freeing to suddenly be able to say anything at all without fear of how it will be taken. And with everything on an honest playing field he can accept those conversations and not get in a defensive mode with me. Our communication in other words is better than I could have ever dreamed.

        2. We are more into each other now than we were before as well. Stirring up the sexual pot has brought a lot of magic back to us. It’s not all about his other relationships or my other relationships. The greater benefit is the improvement to our relationship.

        3. While I don’t believe I was inhibited before I have become freer in bed with him now and it has made our sex life a lot better as a result. Again, it’s dropping those walls and just living in the moment.

        4. I have also learned new things about myself sexually that I never would have learned before and I have enjoyed beginning to explore those aspects of myself. He is 100% supportive and that is very cool.

        5. I had gotten into a deep rut before and basically thought of myself as a big blob but through meeting and chatting with new people and the increased attention from my husband I have begun to feel alive again and I feel very sexy again. I gotta say, that’s an awesome feeling that I wish everyone could feel!

        I’m sure if I kept thinking I would come up with others but the most important thing is hugging my husband 9 or 10 times a day and feeling so much chemistry, joy, and excitement between us. We are brand new to each other again. It’s like new relationship excitement except we also have 12 years of history and knowledge of each other that makes that feeling so much more intimate. I look at other couples that look miserable and I sometimes want to say, “Hey, give this a try.” LOL.

        Cons for me is a much shorter list but still very intense.

        1. Insecurities still come up for me occasionally but are thankfully far less common now. My husband and I have talked this point to death. I know he’s not trying to replace me. I know he has not taken love away from me to give some to other women. I know I’m his rock and he won’t give that up. Still, there are times where a cloud of despair drops down around my head and I spend hours cussing him out in my mind and saying hateful cruel things sometimes to him if he gets in my way. He has learned not to push me to talk when I get into a funk. I need time to process and then we can talk and then I will feel better. Our talks always are the #1 key to my recovery from that place. In the beginning I would sit in that despair for 3-4 days and they would come at least once a week. Now, 5 months later I can go 2-3 weeks with none of that and when it does come it lasts no longer than 1 day.

        2. The exhausting amount of self-analyzing that goes with this. Honestly though, I have a masters degree in marriage and family therapy and the time I spent in that program was much more draining than this is and I suspect it will get easier faster than it did in that program just as my bounce back time from despair has improved. I think we will “work out the kinks” (haha) much faster and then those follow-up conversations will become shorter and less painful.

        The bottom line is I am still struggling but I love the improvements to my life and I see progress on my cons list. I feel it’s possible I may not have a cons list one day.

        Best wishes! Learning to be poly is much like a roller coaster ride. This podcast, books, videos I’ve found on youtube and through showtime, and the More Than Two website have been my frequent saviors over the last few months. They all preach about communication and I have to say whatever amount you communicate now communicate more! It seems like there can never be too much communication. And in the end, it has brought my husband and I so much closer! YAY!

        • DancinD

          Thanks so much for this message, Chasingjoy. I feel similarly in that, I GET intellectually the rationale for poly, and I keep processing and working and sometimes feeling progress, but sometimes I just get down to “Why am I doing all this again? What’s the point, when I’m not feeling any urgency to be with other people?” Hearing that you can have a positive experience right alongside those days of despair/anger at the partner is so encouraging. I see flashes of it, but when the bad feelings come back, I start to wonder if I’m fooling myself about progress. Thank you thank you for the encouragement that this can get better, that it brings you benefits, and all this energy isn’t for naught!

  • Mr. P

    Very interesting and helpful information that I wish I had read earlier. I left my marriage of 15 year due to not being honest with myself or my wife about my true feelings. With myself identifying as monogamous and the exponential rise in the popularity of polyamory, one needs all the knowledge one can get when and if I think about entering a committed relationship again.
    Thank you.

  • […] to find a poly community here in my hometown of Tulsa, OK and how awesome the people are.  In her podcast (#398), Minx talked about my email and suggested that I should feel free to develop my own community as […]

  • […] –Cunning Minx and Lusty Guy, of Polyamory Weekly, in PW 398: Poly-Mono Mix […]

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