PW 468: Talking to one partner about another

Is it OK to vent to one partner about another partner? angry woman vintage on phone

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1:00 Poly in the News

8:00 Topic: Talking about one partner to another partner

Babbling B writes in to ask if it’s OK to vent to one partner about another, as long as it’s not gossiping. LustyGuy, L and Minx all sound in.

24:30 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!

Minx’s guide to surviving Valentine’s Day

35380558_sIf you’re like me, Valentine’s Day can fill you with insecurity and dread. It can turn the most confident, competent, self-assured person into a blithering ball of sopping insecurities.

Having spent many, many years either solo or far away from partners for Valentine’s Day, I developed several techniques to help me cope with what some of us affectionately call “Single’s Awareness Day.” The kicker is, of course, that many coupled folks don’t even bother to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so in essence, its primarily function seems to be to make everyone NOT in a “primary” couple feel bad about their love lives.

But we are sex-positive, so we don’t need no crappy holiday to tell us when and how to love, right? Right. So here are my tips:

For solos

For those who are either without partners, solo, or in partnered relationships but unable to spend time with their partners for whatever reason, here are my tried-and-true tips:

  • Self care Above all, do something that makes YOU feel special, sexy and loved. This may be a bubble bath, a pedicure with friends or a Netflix marathon. But go through your list of your favorite self-care techniques, and take some time to indulge in those for yourself on this day. I love how I feel when I go dancing, so I make sure to find a swing or a salsa dance event to attend that day.
  • Socialize If you’re extroverted or simply feel the need for company, organize an outing. Go to the closest steam bath with a group of girlfriends; organize a mani-pedi party at the spa; go do one of those touristy things that you usually only do when family is in town: a wine tour, boat tour or go to the top of a local landmark. You could even just organize dinner and a movie with a group of friends, either out or at your own place. Instead of pouting, bring your support network to you! I’m fond of throwing a Valentine’s Day brunch and sharing stories over mimosas.
  • Give Whenever I’m bummed about my life (usually around the holidays), my foolproof trick has been to reach out and give to those less fortunate. I make a donation on Kiva, put together a goodie bag for the homeless or volunteer at a local charity. Helping others is a sure-fire way to stop obsessing about how much love you are or aren’t getting.

For partnered people

Even if you have a partner or partners, there can be pressure to create some perfect romantic evening and/or gift that is worthy of a Hollywood movie, complete with swelling music and tearful gasps as the gift is opened. But many of us are not gifted with a flair for the dramatic, or we simply don’t have time to spend weeks prepping a perfect evening, especially with multiple partners. So my advice:

  • Breathe Your partner(s) will love any thoughtful gesture you make. It really is the thought that counts. Worry less about perfection and more on what you and your partner(s) actually care about: being together. Sometimes, a lovely card and a phone call is enough. And here’s a tip: if your partner(s) have an Amazon Wish List and you can afford it, for goodness’ sake, take advantage of that and purchase them something you know they’ll like off the list!
  • Focus on who you are Most people I know aren’t romantic like in the movies. We aren’t perfectly dressed; we don’t say those pithy romantic lines that melt the heart; we are generally pretty dorky. So, if you’re planning a romantic evening, plan something that is reflective of you as a couple/triad/group. A group cuddle party watching your favorite movie? A whisky tasting at your local distillery? Indoor sky diving? Whatever is reflective of and special for YOU is best. I actually do enjoy an opportunity to dress up, so my partner(s) know that whatever we plan needs to have a dressy or costumy element to it for me to be happy.
  • Share If you are in a couple and don’t generally celebrate Valentine’s Day, consider loaning your partner out to a friend or other partner who does want to celebrate it. I’ll never forget the one year during my dating-but-solo-poly phase when one of my on-again, off-again’s partners’ wife said, “Take Minx out for Valentine’s Day; we don’t celebrate it, and she does.” What a wonderful gift!
  • Determine privacy If you have several partners and date separately, a group date might not be the thing. Talk with each partner about what he/she wants for Valentine’s Day, and do your best to accommodate them. Again, many people have very different ideas of what makes for a great romantic holiday, so don’t assume; ask! You may be assuming you need to make four separate dates for four separate partners, but that may not be the case at all. Ask everyone how much private time they need in order to feel special. And, of course, don’t forget to add what YOU want into the mix.

I hope this is helpful for you–let me know your ideas in the comments!

Ask Minx: What’s the line between venting and gossiping?

Minx podcasting headshot 2013Minx:

My partner has a concern: that I will “run to” my other partners and gossip about him when things aren’t great in our relationship. I can admit that gossiping is one of my shortcomings. I find a lot of value in being open about my life and the things I am thinking about and struggling with, but I understand (in theory) that others want or need more privacy, that my venting might interfere with that privacy. So how do I find the line between venting and gossiping? Maybe seeing this in a new light will help me curb my behavior.

–Babbling B

A good general policy is not to talk about one partner to another, except to praise. LustyGuy is great at this–he is always singing L’s praises to me (and, presumably, mine to her).

Yes, it may SEEM like you should be able to vent harmlessly to your new friend/lover, who after all likes and respects your live-in partner, right? No. It doesn’t work that way. It ends up creating back alley alliances, fear, uncertainty and an environment of competition all around. After all, how could anyone trust you if they all know you’ll share the least flattering bits of your interactions with others, who don’t love them like you do?

Here’s a tip: make all your new partners aware of the no-venting-about-others policy and ask them to help you enforce it. In addition to training yourself to stop venting, train them to stop you when you start complaining and cut you off with, “this is not a conversation you and I are going to have” or “go tell him that” or just hand you the phone and say “call him!” If you need to get a poly-friendly therapist or have a non-partner friend as your established ventee, do so.

But your partners should only hear the best about each other from you. 

PW 403: Striking while the iron is cold

grumpy-button-lolcatShould you bring in a new poly partner when your current partner agreed to it years ago and you’ve become distant in the meantime?

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

9:10 Striking when the iron is cold

Ricado has been with Sue for 20 years; used to have a strong bond, and she used to be adventurous and even liked the idea of poly but grew apart due to her disability involving chronic pain. Years go by; separate bedrooms (physical reasons, not sexual), and he meets someone. An intimate friend he’d like to bring in to the relationship.

What to do? The timing of the friendship is suspicious, and he doesn’t want to just say, “Hey, I met someone!” nor pressure his current partner into feeling like her disability was the cause. What to do?

First, be brave and tell her everything you just told me, including your fears about how it came about and what you’re afraid that will look like to her.

Also, a few things to consider:

  • You What course of action is going to help you to be a better version of yourself?
  • The relationship What course of action is going to support the health of your current relationship? It sounds to me like it has become based on tacit understandings rather than open and honest communication, which hints that the relationship might not be completely healthy at the moment.
  • The prospective partner If you want to have hope of successfully initiating a new poly relationship, you must heal your current relationship first. It’s unfair to invite a third party into a relationship that isn’t 100% open, honest and healthy. That will have an extremely high likelihood of causing a huge amount of drama, pain, guilt and resentment for all parties involved.

 21:40 Feedback

Kabe responds to the Poly Mythbusters episode by reminding us that 1-2% of the population is asexual, so it’s really NOT all about the sex.

23:30 Happy Poly Moment

D happily reports that his monogamous relationship is now poly-ish due to BDSM proclivities!

26:00 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 402: PW live at CatalystCon!

CatalystCon West 2014 PW livePW LIVE at CatalystCon with Reid Mihalko and Charlie Glickman!

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

Bawdy Storytelling is coming to Seattle October 3 at 8:00 Rebar!

1:30 PW Live from CatalystCon West!

My guests are Charlie Glickman and Reid Mihalko!

  • Charlie Glickman on self descriptionTopic: how do we stop policing our poly communities and embrace tolerance?
    • We need a space for the newbies and the old guard who don’t want to have to step back and explain the 101 questions
    • remember when judging others that the finger points back at you#cconminx date your species
    • how can we tolerate a world free of shame if we then shame others?
    • if you’re happy and dating your species, why does it matter?
    • let’s not shit on the mono community–bad marketing!
    • “There is no one more zealous than the newly converted” – Charlie
  • 34:00 if you’re a newbie, is there something you need to be able to demonstrate to share with the veterans so they’ll be more comfy with you?#cconminx self awarenes
    • Reid: ability to clearly voice needs and wants; self-awareness. Minx says “self awareness is really sexy”
    • Charlie: how do you handle conflict, anger and fear?
    • If you get a negative response such as “wow poly sounds hard,” ask “why does that sound hard to you?”
  • 39:45 What does queer mean to you?
    • Reid: I’m awesome sexual. When I started dating sluts, no one was complaining how slutty I was. Date #cconminx Awesome sexualyour species! There’s a difference between a car working harder because it’s going uphill or straining because the parking brake is on.
    • Charlie: date people of both genders but more about world view rather than gender assignations
  • 45:30 How is poly done differently regionally?
    • Charlie recommends asking for community norms before visiting
  • 48:00 How do you find a good local community? Openingup.net, also Google “polyamory” and the name of the city

52:00 Thank you!

Thanks to Bret and David for their generous donations this week!

52:30 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!

PW 388: It’s not about you

judgmentcatTurns out that many argued against tolerance in the community, so let’s revisit poly policing other people’s right to self-identify

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

Poly movie review: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

7:30 Topic: It’s not about you, or everyone is doing poly wrong redux

A number of listeners commented and wrote in to argue that sure, tolerance is great—until you disagree with someone else’s definition of poly or self identity. So we brought in the big guns to reiterate the point: LustyGuy! Y’all wrote in with quite a few objections and instances in which you REALLY wanted to dispute someone else’s self-identity, including:

  1. But Minx, _____ isn’t the RIGHT definition of poly
  2. But Minx, if we don’t have one common definition of poly, we can’t communicate
  3. But Minx, the cheaters who call themselves poly hurt our cause
  4. But Minx, the cheaters who call themselves poly insult my hard-won ethical relationship

31:15 Happy Poly Moment

  • SH shares a happy poly moment of encouraging a friend to pursue the same woman
  • Em shares a happy poly moment of her two partners meeting up secretly to sign a birthday card for her

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 386: Telling the emperor he has no clothes

types-of-dishonesty-lolcat

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1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

  • OKCupid has added Relationship Type (mono/non-mono and mostly/strictly) under your details! Plus, you can specify “in an open relationship” (versus “seeing someone”)
  • I’ll be teaching at Debauchery April 25-27 in North Carolina

Topic: How do you tell the people you’re dating that their relationship is fucked up

G writes in to ask how to broach the topic of seeing some issues in the relationship of the couple she’s dating. If you see something unhealthy or concerning going on, is it your business? Should you just butt out? How can you tell if it’s a harmless quirk of the dynamic or a relationship-ending issue? And if you do decide to bring it up, how do you do that diplomatically?

This is a tough one! No one likes being told that their relationship appears unhealthy. But the general rules of relationship communication apply: if you see something you’re afraid to bring up, you absolutely should bring it up. But how?

I don’t have any magic plan for this one; it’s really tricky. So I applied the basic guidelines for bringing up any difficult topic:

  1. Set a time to talk
  2. Use “I” statements based on your own experience
  3. Acknowledge your limitations
  4. Refer to specific behaviors first
  5. Refer to your own experience
  6. Ask for insights

Happy Poly Moment

Harper shared a happy poly moment in which her mother chose to publicly acknowledge Harper’s poly relationship rather than avoiding it!

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!

Kicking Poly Drama in the Ass

Want to avoid poly drama? We had a great time at Winter Wickedness discussing what “drama” actually is and how to kick it on its ass for a drama-free poly relationship.

Full deck below:

And if you’re interested in having me present at your event, contact Minx at Poly Weekly

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