Navigating your first poly relationship [SLIDESHARE]

Please enjoy these slides from our popular new class, Navigating Your First Poly Relationship.

Pondering your first foray into the wild and wooly world of non-monogamy? Dazzled by the buffet of terms, or confused about how one person’s polyamory rubs up against another’s open relationship while yet another’s relationship anarchy is looking interesting across the room? Join Cunning Minx and LustyGuy as they take you on a guided tour of your first poly relationship. Learn how to identify, communicate and negotiate your needs and expectations, how to deal with changes in yourself and your relationships and what kinds of questions you should be asking yourself and your prospective partners.

Who should attend:

  • Solo polyamorists
  • Couples considering polyamory
  • Couples or tribes involved in their first or second poly relationship
  • Experienced polyamorists with partners who are new to poly
  • Monogamists or the poly-curious

PW 478: Don’t try poly without listening to this

What do you need to know before trying polyamory? (rebroadcast)

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit

1:30 Host chat

3:50 Poly in the News

6:05 Topic: What you need to know about poly relationships before trying one

Koe Creation and Minx highlight one of the most important pieces for you to read, review and integrate before trying a poly relationship. No, it’s not about jealousy. No, it’s not about dating. No, it’s not about safer sex. This is a topic that very few people discuss before trying polyamory and is usually the cause of the demise of the first poly relationship.

What is it? The rights that every person has in every relationship, regardless of the structure: Franklin Veaux’s and Eve Rickert’s Relationship Bill of Rights.

38:05 Thank you!

Thanks to Shelby for the donation!

39:05 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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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 399: Poly mythbusters!

mythbuster lolcatThe top five poly myths you wanted to see busted!

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Introduction Under 18? Stop listening now and visit

1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

5:30  Topic: Poly mythbusters

  • The original article that inspired this episode
  • My original list:
    • It’s all about the love
    • Only men want it
    • No one ever gets jealous
    • It’s more evolved than monogamy
    • But when I put it to you, the listeners, you voted in these top five myths:
  1. Poly = fear of commitment (aka “you’re just afraid to settle down” or “when you meet the Right One you’ll change”)
  2. 10:16 Poly = orgies (also general promiscuity and sex)
  3. Poly is bad and confusing for the children
  4. 16:04 Poly = cheating
  5. Poly doesn’t work or doesn’t last

22:20 Feedback
Derek wrote in to share how he and his sweetie avoided a relationship land mind.

24:50 Thanks

Welcome Savanni to the PW Playmates and to Doug for his $69 donation!

25:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 374: Four mistakes couples make when opening up


Marcia Baczynski and Minx at CatalystCon West 2013

Marcia Baczynski and Minx at CatalystCon West 2013

How to avoid the classic mistakes couples make when trying nonmonogamy

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1:00 Host chat

Nothing to see here; move along!

2:00 Interview: Four mistakes couples make when opening up with Marcia Baczynski

Thanks to Marcia for sharing with us these four tips! Where to find Marcia:

And here we go! The classic mistakes:

  1. Not knowing what you want. Poly may mean different things to different folks. Take the time to talk about what you want and direct the picture in your head; this also means you develop terminology for future discussions. It’s also useful to take stock of your current relationship.
  2. Going too fast. Many couples move way too fast, and a few move too slowly. Find your comfortable pace. This isn’t about restrictions; it’s about taking the time to enjoy experience, as with any romance. Enjoy the journey! Take the time to find your comfort zone rather than diving in headfirst.
  3. Avoiding jealousy. Don’t ignore the truth of negative emotions because you think it makes you a bad poly person. That only leads to uncomfortable situations. No one is too “good” to be jealous. Just admit and deal with your jealousy.
  4. Trying to be the perfect poly person. Feeling that you have to be perfect either for your partner or to prove that poly was a good choice for you are both self-destructive beliefs to hold. Nothing beats admitting your emotions. Practice some tough love on yourself! No one was perfect at poly the first (or even the last) time they tried it. Be willing to be vulnerable.

35:20 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 369: Getting over the poly hump

Franklin Veaux, Eve Rickert and Cunning Minx

How do you come to accept and embrace poly when it wasn’t your idea?

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1:00 Host chat with Minx, Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux

  • Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert are writing a book! Help fund their Indiegogo campaign to write it!
  • Check out the awesome new Beyond the Love conference, November 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio. Educational sessions, social events like poly speed dating and poly prom and the attendee-directed poly summit! Use code polyweekly at checkout to save 10%!
  • I’m presenting at CatalystCon on how to be a part-time sex educator Sept 27-29

9:00 Topic: Getting over the poly hump

Franklin and Eve give advice! How did you come to accept and embrace polyamory when it wasn’t your idea? For those who didn’t originally self-identify as polyamorous, how did you deal with conflicting emotion and come to embrace polyamory?

  • Recognize that your partner wanting polyamory is not about you.

    More Than Two Crowdfunding

  • Thank your partner for having the courage to be honest about what he/she needs.
  • Acknowledge that the relationship has already changed, so resist the urge to hold on to what you used to have.
  • Accept that this exploration of polyamory may mean that the current relationship might end.
  • Recognize that you are empowered to leave the relationship if it doesn’t work for you.
  • Find something in this new type of relationship for you that is a true benefit, not a “grit-and-bear-it” situation.
  • Finding someone to model successful poly relationships (like a poly support network) is essential.
  • Avoid the urge to control the polyamory with veto power or other restrictions.

Listener responses:

  • GreedyPaul calls in to say that he came to embrace polyamory when his mistress and her husband showed him over the months that their relationship and communication were honest.
  • Jess wrote in to describe her first and second introductions to polyamory and that, despite initial freakouts, she is “poly and never looked back.”
  • IssaWalters, Shadalicious, PolyNirvana and ZenHeathen were all swayed by the logical arguments
  • And thanks to Les and Lisa for sharing their experiences on Facebook

36:15 Happy Poly Moment

  • AggieSez shares a solo Happy Poly Moment
  • HeartWhisperer shared a HPM in which he felt compersion

41:00 Feedback

  • Vaughn on episode 361 comments that your polysaturation point changes over time
  • Vir mentioned a poly domestic fantasy novel Lifelode
  • A listener writes in to call bullshit on something not mentioned on episode 364 on being in love and vetoed: it’s the responsibility of the partner to stand up for the new relationship. The fact that the husband defend his relationship in the face of his wife’s communication blockade was indefensible. He says if you’re at the point of a vee, it’s your job to stand up for your new relationship as well as for your existing one.
  • Listener calls in to say that PW saved her and kept her sane!

53:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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