Help! 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?
You can’t make anyone do anything. You can only control your own words and actions.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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:
Is a new marriage the best place and time to introduce a poly l0ver?
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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com
1:00 Host chat
- Too much drama in your relationships? Invest in the Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass online course, just $99 for one student or $169 for up to a three-person polycule!
- Positively Poly Pointers As a thank-you for their investment and as motivation for ongoing skills development, KPD students and Poly Weekly Playmates will soon be receiving weekly email relationship tips!
2:50 Poly in the News
5:15 Topic: My best friend just got married! Can she and I date now?
A listener writes in to say he and his best friend, former lovers, want to start their sexual relationship back up now that she is recently married. But she hasn’t come out as poly to her new husband. What should our listener do?
11:20 Thank you!
Welcome, Michele, to the Poly Weekly Playmates!
12:00 Wrap Up
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email email@example.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!
Adding a third without making a third wheel
How do you open up a couple? Advice on how to welcome a third from a HBB
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1:00 News and host chat
- Congratulations to our Burning Man ticket winner!
- Thanks to M, Christopher, Eynstein, Wayne, Elijah, Marshall, Ioana, Devon, Jessica, Karl, Scott, Jason, Lee, Greg, Cornelius, Damita for their donation during the Burning Man fundraiser
5:00 Topic: From two to three
Advice to couples on opening up their relationship from a HBB: what to do and what not to do. Full blog post here.
- Instead of considering only protective measures, consider what you have to offer and how you can welcome a third and make him/her feel as loved as you are
- Try this exercise: how would you feel if you were welcoming a child into your relationship? Approach a new lover with that same sense of joy, sharing and hope.
- A few don’t’s: don’t allow veto power, ignore metamour communication, say there is no hierarchy if there is. Don’t have the point of the vee moderate communication.
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the listener comment line at 206-202-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!
The state of poly in the media in 2011: a chat with Alan, content curator extraordinaire of the Poly in the Media blog
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Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to http://www.scarleteen.com; friend us on Twitter or Facebook, call 206-202-POLY with comments or discuss your own topics at the forums.
Interview: Alan of Poly in the Media
At Atlanta Poly Weekend, a chat with Alan of the Poly in the Media blog. Alan covers the significant stories of the last five years, trends in current reporting on poly, and the newest poly books.
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email email@example.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review! Want Poly Weekly for your very own? Get the Best of Poly Weekly collection from PodDisc.com Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions.”
Poly Weekly #167: Real people open up
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0:00 Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to www.scarleteen.com; friend me on Twitter and answer questions about what you want on the show, call 206-202-POLY with comments or discuss your own topics at the forums at http://forum.polyweekly.com.
(This episode was a bit difficult to timecode. People didn’t keep repeating their names so I wasn’t able to always tell who was who. I did what I can. -FS)
4:20 This weeks subject for the online book review. “The Myth Of MOnogamy”
6:15 Minx starts by asking everybody if they have read the book. Tom and Eros both participated in the discussion.
6:43 Minx asks, what things really grabbed them. Eros commented on how specific the conversation needs to be on sex and love.
8:00 Minx points out that her and a previous partner had different ideas of what “sex” and “scening” was. Communication would have brought this out.
9:10 Tom agrees and talks about his relationship and how his partner and him come from different backgrounds.
10:30 Tom and Minx discuss different meanings of “sex.”
12:10 Tom points out that he is mainly mono in his relationship from laziness!
12:48 Greg has also joined us from text.
13:00 Minx asks if any other revelations from the book. Eros talks about the meaning of “polyamory”
14:50 (I think this is Tom) brings up when your partner ends up with somebody you don’t think they should be with.
16:30 Minx asks Tom how the book helped him in that scenario.
18:00 The discussion moves to dealing with your partners when they start to make mistakes and how to deal with them.
19:20 Minx quotes from the section of the book on the kind of people to look for and talks about it.
20:07 Eros thinks you have a responsbility to say something to your partner if they are making a mistake but don’t badger them. He brings up an example in his own life.
22:00 (I am not sure who this is, Tom I think) talks about the unique experience of being poly where you might have to help your partner with comfort on the loss o a lover.
23:40 (I think Tom’s) wife loved the book.
24:20 Minx comments the section on sexual health and safer sex practices and how much she likes it.
27:00 it’s hot in chicago! 🙂
27:00 Minx brings up the chapter on common challenges and problems. Eros references back to the interview with Tacit to talk about NRE (New RElationship Energy).
29:00 Minx talks about her opinion on NRE using some excerpts from the book.
31:09 Eros asks if there is a way to tell when the NRE falls off.
32:10 Minx brings up other common problems from this chapter and asks for opinions.
33:10 Eros brings up time management and the group disucsses this topic.
36:50 (Eros I think) brings up three different definitions of love from the book and Minx adds to this discussion.
39:35 Eros felt the book made sense to him.
40:18 Eros is working through fluid bonding issues which starts a discussion.
Thanks to Tom and Eros for working on the announcing themselves.
- CPR for kinky people, Saturday, September 13, 2008, 10 am-6pm, Leather Archives & Museum, $90; Contact Descara: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meet and Greet, October 4th, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
Online Book Discussion: Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up
Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email email@example.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!
Want Poly Weekly for your very own? Get the Best of Poly Weekly collection from PodDisc.com
Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions”
Since Saturday’s SkypeCast attempt was full of epic fail–I got booted off at least six times, and everyone else who tried to log in got booted off as well, save one lone woman in Austria–let’s try this again, with TalkShoe. Turns out Skypecasts are no longer Mac compatible. Huh!
And Tristan’s book is so wonderful that it still needs to be discussed, so let’s try this again, shall we? With a more reliable service this time?
Sunday, July 20th, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Central
Click here for call info
Dial in to (724) 444-7444 from any phone
Come log on to the Skypecast tomorrow to discuss Tristan Taormino’s new book, Opening Up!
When: Saturday, July 12th, 3:30 p.m. Central
How: Click this link and sign on to Skype
What: anything you’d like to say about Opening Up
The discussion will be recorded, so please be aware that participating means your voice will be posted online. Thanks for your participation; I can’t wait to talk about this will y’all!
It’s that time again!
Poly Weekly Book Club meets tomorrow, Wednesday, July 2nd! We’re discussing Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up, but please come on out even if you haven’t read the book; the discussion will undoubtedly be lively!
Where: The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, 2nd floor on the white couches
When: Wednesday, July 2nds, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Who: anyone interested in poly who wants to discuss this great new book!
Can’t make it? Join our online discussion on Saturday, July 12th at 3:30 p.m. Central. You’ll need Skype (available for free), then just click the link at that time!
It’s that time again! This month, we’re eagerly reading (what else) Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up. I’ve already started it, and I can’t wait to discuss it with y’all! Of course, if you just want to talk polyamory or meet poly folks, reading the book isn’t required–just come out and say hello!
When: WEDNESDAY, JULY 2ND
Where: The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, 2nd floor by the white couches
Why: because poly can be confusing and sharing opinions is fun (plus, the Mad Baker brings GREAT snacks!)
Who: anyone interested in meeting poly folks
If you’re interested in coming, please RSVP to Minx (cunningminx at gmail dot com) with the subject line “Book Club” so I’ll know to look for you. We’ve had some people not able to find us in the past, so we’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again!
Also, if you’re interested in discussing the book but aren’t local to Chicago, mark your calendar for Saturday, July 12th, 3:30 p.m. Central. for a Skype online book discussion.
What a great pleasure to spend the better part of Friday with the lovely and whipsmart Tristan Taormino and Colten. (I want my own Colten–can I have one? Please, please, please?) Full photo set is posted to my Flickr, but a few choice shots here:
Lunch after the interview:
The reading at Women and Children First:
The crowd at Women and Children First:
For more info and to discuss the book, visit her blog and forums at www.openingup.net