PW 476: How do I know where I stand?

How do you know where you stand with a new poly partner?where do i stand

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1:00 Host chat

  • We’re on Google Play Music
  • New class! Poly Pitfalls: Fixing Things When They Break is Tuesday, May 24 at the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle. Come join us! Tix here.

3:15 Poly in the News

13:10 Topic: How do I know where I stand?

Confused in California writes in to ask how to figure out where she stands with a new poly partner who began by lying to her about being single and who won’t give advance notice for infrequent dates. How does she know how much of a partner she actually is to him?

Minx recommends reading the Relationship Bill of Rights, which is a standard for EVERY relationship, not just poly ones. In particular, you have the right to be told the truth, to choose the level of involvement that YOU want (not what he/they are willing to offer), to feel and communicate your needs and to seek balance in what you give to the relationship and to what the relationship gives back to you.

22:45 Feedback

  • Viro from the furry relationship advice podcast Feral Attraction writes in to comment on episode 47, saying it is sometimes OK to talk to one partner about another
  • Heather writes in to share how poly has improved her sex dreams
  • Dee calls in with a new poly relationship term: “comet.” This is someone who passes through your life repeatedly who is intense and awesome and when gone you were still in contact with that person in some way, but they’re not a continuous partner. Love the idea!

29:45 Thank you!

Thanks to Elizabeth for her donation, and welcome Amy and Dylan to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

31:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Want to book us to speak or teach? Email lustyguy@gmail.com!

PW 475: When hierarchies collide

What to do when your hierarchy gets in the way of your actual relationships14341341_s

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Host chat

Poly book review: Dragongirl

5:00 Poly in the News

Super cool poly 101 video being distributed
Poly living and cohabitation recriminalized in Utah court ruling

10:45 Topic: When hierarchies collide

S is new to poly and started dating one guy, Matt, who wanted a primary + more structure (he’s divorced with kids and anti-marriage). Then she started dating Luke, who is unmarried and wants to be married. So Matt rushed off to find himself a fresh, new primary as she contemplates marriage to Luke.

Any advice on dealing with hierarchies when they aren’t serving anyone well?

20:50 Feedback

Grant writes in to ask when to share his user manual in the dating process

27:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Want to book us to speak or teach? Email lustyguy@gmail.com!

PW 474: Recapturing your innocence

How do you recapture your innocence after being hurt or abused?4820153_m

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1:00 Host chat

3:30 Poly in the News

Polyamory made my marriage better—and it might make my divorce better, too

8:20 Topic: Recapturing your innocence

A listener writes in to ask how to go back to being that carefree, open person after you’ve been hurt or abused? How do you recapture that openness and stop fearing and mistrusting everyone?

23:25 Feedback

A listener calls in to ask where to find a poly glossary. More Than Two has one, and Opening Up is always a great resource.

25:15 Happy Poly Moment

Heather shares a happy poly moment involving metamour appreciation and good dental hygiene!

30:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Want to book us to speak or teach? Email lustyguy@gmail.com!

PW 473: The myth of poly perfection

Is poly ever perfect? Is anyone or anything?8809875_s

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1:00 Host chat

2:15 Poly in the News

You, Me, Her: a new polyromantic comedy as reviewed by Kit O’Connell

4:30 Topic: Myth of poly perfection

Join Koe and Minx as they talk about the idea of perfection or a perfect type of polyamory.

25:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 472: Minx coming out udpate

Two years after coming out to her family of blood, what happened when Minx tried to go back home with LustyGuy? 44239090_s

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Poly in the News

9:00 Topic: Minx coming out udpate

Nearly two years after coming out to her biological family, Minx shares an update about an upcoming visit to her biological family. The blog post on how things went down. Long story short: I’ll never see my mom again.

25:30 Feedback

M loved our non-sexual relationship episode 469 and wants to know

28:15 Happy Poly Moment

Bill and Jen share a first threesome happy poly moment

31:30 Thank you!

Thanks to Coby for a $69 donation!

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 471: Emotional intelligence

What is emotional intelligence, and how can we train ourselves to have it?lolcat-hugz

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Host Chat & Announcements

  • Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass is now $69 for a single student and $129 for a polycule! Register here
  • Michele writes in to say how useful her user manual turned out to be!

5:12 Poly in the News

9:30 Topic: Emotional intelligence

Laurie Ellington talks about emotional intelligence: what it is and how to get it.

40:00 Happy poly moment

L shares a West Coast Swing happy poly moment!

43:40 Happy Poly Moment

Thanks to Chris for the donation!

44:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Minx coming out update

44239090_sA family chat, two years after coming out

Warning: this post is far more personal than most on this blog. In fact, it’s a bit closer to a diary post than anything I’ve ever published. However, I’m sharing this with you because many folks out there have it much, much worse than me. When they come out, they may lose their homes, their loved ones, their income, their marriage or their kids. My story is puny in comparison, but as LustyGuy says, “Everyone’s shovel is always full.” I still believe it’s worth sharing, this real story of how I coped when a family member out-and-out rejected my orientation. So here goes.

As many of you know, a little under two years ago I came out to my family. It seemed almost a non-issue at first, with my sister-in-law quickly saying, “As long as you’re happy, that’s OK.” My mom wrote me a disapproving letter a month later, but things seemed to stop there.

Then, last spring, heeding Dan Savage’s coming out advice for adult children to their parents, I spent a weekend with my mom and gave her the ultimatum: now that you’ve had a year to process and judge, your seeing me is contingent upon seeing my partner as well. I told her that I will only travel to Texas for visits in the company of my sweetie LustyGuy, and if she wasn’t comfortable with our staying at her house, we could get a hotel. Alternatively, I would pay for her to fly to visit me in Seattle and treat her to a fun weekend, and I would even give her my own bed instead of having her sleep in the guest bedroom (she complains the bed is too low).

I told her she didn’t have to make a decision right then. Since I only visit once a year for her birthday, anyway, she had a whole year to decide what she wanted to do. It was totally up to her; I would respect whatever decision she made.

Now, two years after coming out, her birthday is coming up again. And it’s her 80th, so I was planning to do something special: fly to Texas, sponsor a barbecue after the Sunday church service, get my brothers to come in that same weekend and take her out as well.

I’d left her a message about some birthday plans, and she called me last night. She told me that I was welcome to come, but LustyGuy and L were not, period. When I reminded her that if she wanted to see me, she’d have to see LustyGuy as well, she refused because what we were doing was “illegal.” When I asked for clarification as to what law we were breaking, she said that you can’t marry two people. Of course I clarified again that we weren’t legally married and were therefore breaking no laws, but she continued with her “illegal” objection (which is not unusual for her–once she decides she has an objection, she carries it to the grave, despite all facts and evidence to the contrary). She said, “I’m old, and I’m not going to change my mind.”

Being the bigger person

Now, I may seem all cool and calm now, but keep in mind that I HATE confrontation, even over the phone. My heart was beating out of my chest; my mouth was so dry that when I tried to swallow, there was nothing to swallow. And I was shaking to boot! I listened carefully, put myself in her position first rather than reacting with my own emotions, and I took a breath.

Here is where all that sex-positive and communication training kicked in, and I got the opportunity to be the bigger person, even though I was shaking:

This is 100% your decision, and if that’s what you want, I will respect it. I wish you would respect my choice like I’m respecting yours, but I understand this is hard for you and will miss you. I still love you, and I still respect you. I will still call you, and you are still welcome to visit me on my dime.

She did not reflect any of that language back on me, but that’s not unusual. (My parents have never told me they loved me or were proud of me, and I long ago gave up trying to get their approval.)

Some helpful self-talk

Frankly, I should have expected this reaction from the start, but I suppose I optimistically believed that pragmatism would win out over narrow-minded moral judgments. LustyGuy, who is far more cynical than I am, was not surprised in the least. Silly me!

But for those playing the home version of this game, here is some of the positive self-talk that I found helpful:

  • I am loved I am surrounded by my family of choice who loves me just exactly as I am, which is far more valuable to me than my family of blood. They chose to love me.
  • I chose my path and live my values I am smart, successful, compassionate and tolerant, which is something that any parent not my own would be proud of. More importantly, they are traits that I am proud of. I chose my path and live a life of integrity.
  • I’m no longer a rebellious teen (well, maybe a little bit) While I gave up being a rebellious teenager many years ago in favor of showing my mom compassion and patience, it’s curious that she can still bring that out in me! I had a devious little thought that LustyGuy, L and I could form our own legal corporation that would give us similar rights to those of marriage and then gleefully call my mom and tell her that I took her advice and made my relationship legal. (But then I remind myself that I’m in my 40s and far too mature to do things exclusively to piss off my parents!)
  • Mom’s disapproval = the right thing for me My mom has never approved of my choices, and her disapproval is typically a sign that I’m doing something right and good with my life. She thought I should go to college in order to meet a man and get married; she thought my French degree was useless, even when it landed me my first two jobs; she thought I was being seduced by “glamorous” big-city life when I moved to Chicago for a job opportunity; she even thought that I should abandon my pets when I moved cross-country because you could always get another dog or cat. So her ardent disapproval is usually a sign that I’m doing the right thing for my values.

Another thought I’ve been musing over is that perhaps my mom doesn’t enjoy my yearly visits as much as I thought she did. Perhaps she is faking it, too, and doesn’t enjoy spending time with me any more that I do spending time with her. I began making the trips as an alternative to visiting for the holidays, so I could spend Christmas with friends and family of choice. And I always go to lengths to make sure her birthday weekend is about her: the places she wants to go, the food she wants to eat, the topics of conversation she prefers, the activities she doesn’t get to do otherwise. It might very well be that she is doing both of us a favor by putting a stop to these visits, in the end!

Where I am now

All that being said, it will be very odd never to see my mom again. It’s quite likely that the next time I see her will be at her funeral. For those who may think I’m being a bit dramatic, here’s a story: my mom carried her judgment of her sister (over a small financial dispute in the 90s) literally to her sister’s grave. My mother refused not only to speak at her sister’s funeral but even to say a kind word about her at all ever again. She did attend her sister’s funeral, but she stubbornly refused to say one positive word about her. So believe me when I say that the next time I see her will be in the urn holding her ashes in Texas. And if an urn could look disapproving, I’m sure she could manage it.

That being said, all the above self-talk is still true, and I encourage you to use it if you’re having similar judgments placed on you. I’m so fortunate to be in every way independent of my narrow-minded family: financially, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and geographically. I have my wonderful life, my wonderful friends, my awesome kitty and the best listenership a podcaster could ever hope for. In the end, this judgment is unfortunate, but it will not change me nor my path.

If you are going through a tough time, here’s hoping that these words and this situation will help you to know you are not alone.

PW 470: Do I have to date my species?

How bad is it if I like someone who is monogamous?Dogs-Love-Cats

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Host Chat & Announcements

3:00 Poly in the News

You Me Her, a polyromantic comedy, debuts March 22

4:15 Topic: Do I have to date my species?

A listener calls in to say he’s married and poly but is interested in dating his ostensibly single, monogamous friend. How bad will it be? Well, no one can say for sure, but our Facebook poll indicated that 5 people say hell, no; 12 say “I tried it and it didn’t work;” 5 indicated success and 2 were in the process.

It definitely poses a risk of drama and heartbreak, but if you and your wife are up for it, go in eyes open.

12:00 Happy poly moment

A listener writes in to tell a tale of bravely dealing with a difficult situation by welcoming her metamour to make her husband happy.

16:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

FAQ: How to bring up polyamory within a monogamous relationship

18262195_mHelp! I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for (1-25) years, and I’ve just discovered polyamory/think I’ve always been poly. How do I get my monogamous partner to agree to this?

Short answer

You can’t make anyone do anything. You can only control your own words and actions.

Medium answer

Ask for what you want, and be willing to accept “no” as an answer.

“Relationships exist to make the people in them happier and healthier versions of themselves,” LustyGuy is fond of saying. In any relationship, it’s your responsibility to know what will help you to become a happier and healthier version of yourself. And it’s wise to ask your partner on a regular basis what he/she needs as well, regardless of the relationship structure. If being a practicing polyamorist is essential to your health and happiness, it’s your responsibility to ask for it.

However, if you are in a long-term monogamous relationship and have recently either come to the realization that you are poly or feel you have always been poly but either unable or unwilling to express that need until now, I probably don’t need to tell you you’re in a difficult and risky situation. It’s entirely possible that you can come out to your partner as polyamorous and ask for the relationship to be opened up only to cause drawn out arguments, disastrous dates and potentially even the end of the existing relationship.

Likewise, it would be dishonest of me not to acknowledge that successful relationships in which one member is monogamous and another member is polyamorous are few and far between. (I’ve personally never heard of any in which the original participants remained happily together for more than year, but there is always the hope.)

That being said, if you don’t ask for what you want, it’s guaranteed you won’t get it. If you do ask for what you want, there is a chance you might get it. And as Franklin Veaux says, “Life rewards those who move in the direction of greatest courage.” Or we can go with Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.”

Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that ultimately, the answer may be “no.” Your partner may either shut that door permanently or be open to further discussions but ultimately determine that he/she can’t be happy and healthy in that arrangement. And as we say here, never ask a question you’re not willing to accept a “no” to.

In the end, having the courage to ask for what you want will in the long run make you a better partner and a better human.

Long answer (if your partner is willing to talk)

Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

A new self-identification of polyamory can be frightening and threatening to an existing partner. Remember that while you may have spent months or years wrestling and coming to terms with the idea of polyamory, your partner hasn’t had that luxury. While you may see love as limitless and joyful, your partner may be inclined to distrust, especially if there have been issues of infidelity in the past (or present). Keep in mind that your partner will need time and a safe space to identify his/her own fears, insecurities, emotional triggers and boundaries with respect to polyamory.

And it’s helpful not to have a deadline looming or a potential partner waiting in the wings. These only add pressure to a topic that is already socially quite disruptive on many levels for most people.

It’s worth mentioning that if you have already engaged in any type of infidelity with someone else, it’s unlikely that a discussion about polyamory will be received enthusiastically. These things take time and trust. In cases of infidelity, trust must be rebuilt before poly can even be considered.

Keep in mind that if you expect a partner to respect and nurture your self-identity as poly, you should likewise be prepared to accept and nurture his/her identity as well. Set up a safe space to listen to your partner’s reactions to the idea of polyamory. Just as you eventually want to be understood, take the time to listen to what your partner values in your existing relationship—without defending your own choices or making it about you and your new poly needs.

Over time, these listening sessions may eventually become “what if” conversations or even fantasies musing about what poly might look like. They can end up taking place over months or in some cases over years, and they can be tremendously helpful in gaining a full understanding of everyone’s needs, regardless of the outcome.

Also, these months/years should be taken for introspection by both parties. Both people need to determine what they need to be happy and healthy in the relationship. Are the drawbacks of the non-preferred relationship structure truly intolerable? Are the benefits of the preferred relationship structure truly irreplaceable? Which is a want versus a need? It’s not unusual for the topic of polyamory to be brought up, discussed over time and ultimately rejected, leaving the relationship all the more solid for having considered an alternative. Likewise, it also happens (less frequently, to be sure) that polyamory is brought up, discussed theoretically over several years, and ultimately leads to the successful opening of the relationship with little to no drama.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, the important aspect, as always, is healthy communication between loving adults. If everyone involved has asked for what they want, listened to the other party, owned their own shit and determined their baseline for happy and healthy, the ultimate decision about relationship structure is undoubtedly the right one for everyone involved.

Ready to bring up the idea of polyamory with your partner? We’ve made the process easy (well, easier!) with a free checklist for you. Click below to download your free checklist:

Checklist CTA

PW 469: Non-sexual relationships

11870375_sHere’s a thing we don’t talk about enough: non-sexual relationships

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1:00 Host Chat & Announcements

  • For the latest news, discounts, book and class announcements and poly in the news, join our email list 
  • Why become a Poly Weekly Playmate? Apart from being my best friend forever, you get weekly Positively Poly Pointer emails, like the one Minx shared today: Still think the three magic words for relationships are “I love you”? Try “you were right”! 

5:40 Poly in the News

7:50 Topic: Non-sexual relationships

Your sex positive educator for the 21st century, Koe Creation, shares her thoughts on non-sexual relationships in polyamory and in life.

29:00 Thanks!

Thanks to Craig and Steve and welcome Marcus to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

30:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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