What you need to know about the intimacy-autonomy scale and how it might be affecting your current relationship

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1:00 Announcements

3:55 Interview: Kathy Labriola describes the intimacy-autonomy scale

Kathy Labriola, a poly counselor, nurse and hypnotherapist and author of Love in Abundance: A Counselor’s Advice on Open Relationships, shares her insights based on the intimacy-autonomy scale and how mismatches can cause misunderstandings in relationships. Need more autonomy and independence but matched with a partner with a higher need for attention and intimacy? Good advice all around. Find the book at Greenery Press or at the Stockroom (better than Amazon for authors!)

17:30 Happy Poly Moments

  • A listener writes in to share a Happy Poly Moment—discovering an old friend is actively poly: “It was so NICE to find someone “real”, someone I have known for years, to whom I had a relation out of the web or a meetup thing, who at least new what polyamory was… for the first time in years, we could talk with other people, face to face, about our opinions and experiences. Priceless.”
  • MG tells of running home to his lovely fiancée to tell her his girlfriend just said she loved him: “When I think back three years ago to the beginning of our poly adventure I couldn’t have imagined this. It makes all of the work that my fiancée and I put into working on or communication and jealousy issues (mostly me) worth it.”

20:45 Feedback

  • Scott, a listener in Australia, found us through Google+! And gives props to the HSV blues episode: “After contracting HSV from my first serious primary partner, I struggled a bit personally with it, and with what that meant about me and my lifestyle choice, and felt my ex’s condemning voice in the back of my mind. So it was refreshing to hear it put into an appropriate perspective.”
  • Gryphon writes in that Poly Weekly has taught him to be unafraid of asking for help and support and suggests the antithesis to NRE—Break Up Brain?

28:15 Thanks

Welcome Robin, Ryan and Nomputers to the Poly Weekly Playmates! And thanks to Jim and Bill for their donations to keep us running!

29:00 Wrapup

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Commenting area

  1. Wow… this intimacy/autonomy scale? This is exactly why my primary relationship imploded just a few months ago!
    My ex fiancé is easily a 10. We shared one vehicle and never had a conflict because we did everything together. The nights I slept over at work (taking care of the elderly) he would sneak himself over because he didn’t want to sleep without me. We shared all of our finances, our home, and co-parented my 7 year old. It was odd to see us somewhere without us touching in some way – holding hands, hugging, back scritching, kissing, legs entangled on the couch. Everyone was utterly shocked when we broke up (including me).
    I’d say that I have a fair range that I am comfortable with… probably anything from a 2 to an 8 depending on the kind of relationship I have with a person and the expectations set by it. I had certainly pushed myself to a 9 to be able to accommodate his needs – but was constantly being told that it just wasn’t enough. No matter what I did – he was never getting enough love/attention/affection.
    So… with that background: my comment is on the idea that a person who is at a higher number can do well in a poly situation because they can supplement the attention that they get that way – whereas a person a the low end of the scale isn’t going to do well with poly because they only have so much time/attention/desire for intimacy to go around. I don’t think this is true at all. I DO think that the person with the higher score is going to perceive that the attention and energy that they receive is diminished (at least that is what happened to my fiancé) whether it is or not. The moment we decided to resume a poly relationship (we had both been poly when we met but took some time off to establish our relationship) he started to mentally prepare himself for the inevitable end. I had hoped that being poly would help him get his needs met elsewhere.. which it did – he found someone else to fixate on and left me.
    I also feel like my level of integration with another human being doesn’t prevent me from also having a similar level of interaction with someone else – even though I was the one with the lower score. For instance… if you are an 8, I don’t think that means that you can have a 3 with one person and a 5 with someone else. I think you can be an 8 with as many people as time allows. Especially if you take a sort of “big happy family” approach to poly, where everyone hangs out as a group and are close. But I also think it can be difficult for those with a higher intimacy score to avoid perceiving that they are going to get less.

    • Cunning Minx February 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm · ·

      Great personal insights! I don’t think the scale is prescriptive, but it does provide some interesting information as to assumptions about sharing, personal space, extroversion, etc., doesn’t it?

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