PW 397: Relationship land mines

land mine lolcat1LustyGuy and Minx pre-ponder common relationship land mines

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

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

1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

3:20 Topic: How to prethink relationship land mines

Relationship land mines sound effect by harpoyume via Freesound

Minx and LustyGuy came up with a series of questions to think about to give some pre-thought to what kind of best person you want to be in a relationship. Even if you have rules against some of these behaviors, know that many or most of them will happen, anyway. And what will you do when that happens? (Please don’t make another rule against it or clamp down harder on the rule!)

So with the understanding that experience shock happens and you react in an unanticipated way, give some thought about some of these classic relationship land mines.

  • How will you respond when your partner falls in love with another woman? What about another man?
  • How will you respond when your partner is enjoying NRE with a new partner?
  • How will you respond when your partner dates someone who seems smarter or prettier than you? Richer? Better job?
  • How will you feel when you fall in love with someone other than your partner?
  • How will you see your existing relationship when you have a shiny new one?
  • How will you respond to seeing your partner hold hands or snuggle with someone new?
  • How will you respond to a request for privacy?
  • How will you respond if the new person wants to move in? What if your partner wants him to move in?
  • How will you respond if your new partner turns out to be more into your husband/wife than you? Will you be able to support them?
  • How will you respond when your fears are triggered?
  • How will you respond when you feel insecure?
  • How will you maintain intimacy and excitement with your current partner?
  • How will you keep up communication with your partner(s) to address issues early?
  • How will you support your partner’s new romances? How will you support their loss/ with your partner being hurt?
  • How will you support your partner’s choices, even if they don’t match yours?
  • How will you respond when you aren’t getting what you want?
  • How will you respond when your new lover isn’t getting what he/she wants?
  • How will you respond when your partner isn’t getting what he/she wants?
  • How will you respond when your metamour isn’t getting what he/she wants?
  • How will you support your metamour?
  • How will you maintain communication with your metamour?
  • How will you respond when there are issues with your metamour?

19:15 Happy Poly Moment

Erika writes in with a great story about being herself on OKC and getting great results!

22:15 Thank you

Thank you to ChasingJoy for being our newest PW Playmate!

22:50 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 364: I’m in love and got vetoed!

What to do when your relationship is vetoed AFTER you fell in love

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Host chat

Showtime poly series starts a new season

Now we’re “stuck” with non traditional marriage

10:30 Topic: I’m in love but just got vetoed!

L writes in for advice. What do you do when you trust that the couple really is poly and end up falling in love with the guy, only to have his wife veto you a bit later when she breaks up with her own boyfriend?

  • This sucks and is unfair and unkind.
  • Lying about the nature of your relationship isn’t healthy.
  • Expecting him to leave her isn’t terribly healthy, either.
  • Accept and grieve the loss. Value yourself and the experience.
  • Next time, vet the couple to be sure each person is stable, fully embraces polyamory and is personally secure.

22:35 Happy Poly Moment

  • B in Seattle shares a Happy Poly Moment. British comedies FTW!
  • Cate shares a beautiful story of a metamour leaving a footprint of food and love. Want to win a metamour of the year award? Be a Hot Dish Elf!

26:00 Feedback

32:00 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 349: Poly relationship models

Considering polyamory? Kathy Labriola shares three basic poly relationship models

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Announcements and host chat

12:20 Interview: Kathy Labriola on poly relationship models

Kathy Labriola, counselor, nurse and author of Love in Abundance: a Counselor’s Advice on Open Relationships, shares her insights on different relationship models for polyamory.

40:20 Happy Poly Moment

M shares an OK Cupid happy poly moment

41:30 Feedback

Jane shares her insights on herpes: the poison ivy of the relationship world. Just a minor inconvenience, not the scarring STI it’s made out to be.

45:20 Thank you

Thanks to Kathleen for her donation and welcome I to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

46:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). 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 340: How to argue

How to fight fair in a relationship

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Announcements and host chat

There have been quite the happenings in Sweden, writes listener D!

4:30 Topic: How to argue

Great advice on how to argue and fight fair in a relationship:

  • Treat the other person with respect
  • Listen
  • Summarize back what you heard
  • Assure your partner that his/her feelings are valid
  • Use “I” statements
  • Don't get revenge
  • Diffuse the anger
  • Talk about your feelings rather than acting on them

19:30 Happy Poly Moment

Jess writes in to share some sweet gestures from her metamour on first meeting!

22:00 Feedback

Mike G calls in to discredit the “upsuck” theory of female orgasm mentioned in episodes 333 and 336

Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). 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!


zp8497586rq

PW 339: Dating someone in a doomed relationship

Listeners, LustyGuy and Minx give advice on dating someone who is in a long-term relationship that is imploding

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Announcements and host chat

  • LustyGuy tells a story

4:00 Topic: Dating in a doomed relationship

A listener writes in to ask how to deal with dating someone whose marriage is falling apart. Should she distance herself? How does she deal with the soon-to-be-ex wife?  PW listeners give advice, including:

  • Stop dating him and be supportive friend to both
  • If the relationship is already long-term, don't leave, but offer to be a sounding board (we disagree that you should offer to be a sounding board but agree that not taking sides or speaking ill of anyone is key)
  • Be prepared to fail
  • Set limits by saying hurtful behavior and words won't be tolerated
  • Be aware that how he acts during this breakup is very telling in how he will eventually treat YOU

29:20 Happy Poly Moment

David writes in to share his experience going from cheating to DADT to honesty and is rewarded with some frubble.

37:00 Thanks

Thanks to David for the donation!

Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). 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!


zp8497586rq

PW 337: Successful non-monogamy

Marcia Baczynski of Successful Nonmonogamy

What four things do you need to evaluate before opening your relationship?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 News and host chat

8:00 Sex for your earbuds

Sex Nerd Sandra podcast

11:00 Successful Nonmonogamy

Marciz Baczynski is hosting a series of ongoing classes and coaching for those entering their first non-monogamous relationship. Because one book and a friend or two isn’t enough; we need ongoing support to keep drama to a minimum! Visit her site to get her free ebook and read her blog.

38:00 Happy Poly Moment

A great story of finding a good spiritual home that welcomes leather lesbian nonmonogamists.

42:00 Thanks

Thanks to Toma and Hayley for their donations!

Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). 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!


zp8497586rq

From two to three: advice on opening up from an HBB

There’s no one right way to do polyamory, but there are plenty of wrong ways – Miss Poly Manners

At OpenSF last month, a session on Negotiating Non-Monogamy gave me some food for thought on the perils of taking those first few steps into non-monogamy. The truth is that most couples who approach polyamory do so with the best of intentions. And yet, they often so diligently focus on the health of their own relationship that they can fail to consider the needs and health of the person that they intended to bring lovingly into their relationship. The result? Drama and pain for everyone involved!

A novel approach: the HBB speaks

Most books, articles and sessions on negotiating non-monogamy are geared toward the couple who is opening up a relationship. That makes sense; while there are many single polys, it’s often a monogamous couple that is seeking advice on opening up a relationship for the first time. And these books, articles and sessions are inevitably written and developed from the point of view of the couple. But here’s a twist, the secret no one will tell you: if you want advice on how to successfully open up a relationship, ask the people who would be interested in joining it. (Or run away screaming from it.) That is, ask the people you intend to date how you as a couple can put your best foot forward.

So that’s the novel approach here: how to negotiate non-monogamy successfully, from the point of view of the HBB (Hot Boobiesexual Babe) that you hope to bring into it! If you want to know how to get a quality new lover that will get along with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/spouse and present minimal drama, read on.

This is not a post about general poly skills you need to negotiate your first poly relationship. Instead, this is a list of specific do’s and don’ts that couples often overlook when negotiating their first non-monogamous relationship. First, let’s start with the positive: the do’s.

Newly non-monogamous do’s

OK! You’ve done the scary part and told your partner you want to be non-monogamous, and that partner didn’t leave the room screaming. Great first step! So… now what? What often follows is a series of long talks and negotiations that are all aimed at one thing: protecting the existing relationship. Now, protecting the existing relationship isn’t a bad thing per se, but if it’s your primary concern, you’ll find you won’t have a very positive first poly experience. Most couples begin with this mindset:

“How do we move forward without damaging our current relationship and without my getting hurt?”

This may seem to be a logical question, but in the dating world, fear of change is self-defeating. Of course your relationship will change; you’re adding another full human being to it! Not being open to changes, including those within yourself, is the #1 killer of first-time poly relationships. The first person you date outside your relationship is a human being with needs, quirks, desires, sarcasm, giggles and a whole wealth of emotions, just like you do. And adding another person to a family always changes the dynamic. Going into defensive/protection mode isn’t beneficial for you, your current partner, or your new partner.

Rather, try asking yourselves this:

  • What value do we have to offer to someone else?
  • How can we/I make a new partner feel loved, comfortable and included like I do?
  • How can we enrich this person’s experience with us and with poly?

Think of it this way: if you as a couple discovered you were pregnant, would you sit down to have a lot of talks about how you are going to protect yourself from the damage the new child will do to your current relationship dynamic? Would you plan how you’re going to keep the new child from threatening you and your lifestyle? Would you make a list of rules to prevent the child from crying when you’re having a dinner party and kick the child out if she does? Would you insist on having veto power and kicking the kid out if he doesn’t stick to his appointed nap time?

Well, you could, but it would be a bit cruel. If you’re that worried about maintaining your relationship exactly as it is, you’re probably not ready for a kid. And ditto with polyamory: if you’re more worried about protecting what you have than welcoming change, you’re not ready for a non-monogamous relationship.

Rather, when a couple contemplates a child, they tend to think less of the limits the child will place on their lives and the stresses it will place on their relationship and more about what they have to offer the child and how much joy they will take in watching the child develop and change them as partners and parents. They look forward to discovering a new dynamic with the child: will she bring the family together at her ball games? Will he need a ride to his dance recitals? How much fun will it be to chaperone her first sleepover? Who will support him when he’s down and needs a shoulder to cry on?

OK, to some extent, it’s a ridiculous analogy to compare a fully-grown adult to a child. But in another way, it’s not. A new romantic relationship can change your relationship just as much as a new child will, and making rules to limit an adult’s love and interactions can be just as cruel as making a list to limit a child’s. In fact, it can be even more so, since the adult is fully self-aware and often capable of clearly stating and negotiating needs and wants, unlike a child.

So sure, be realistic about the relationship change, and make sure you have date nights and some alone time. But it’s far more beneficial to begin opening up your relationship by anticipating the joys of the new relationship dynamic than by fearing the change it will bring. And when you approach polyamory in this manner, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of treating your new partner(s) with respect and love rather than as a disposable test case for your own foibles.

Newly non-monogamous don’ts

This list is far easier to make, since time and time again, new poly couples break hearts in their quest to keep their own relationship primary and protected. Advice from those who have fled unhealthy couples, don’t:

  • Allow veto power. Insist on communication rather than veto power. Veto power too often is a substitute for communication. It’s not wrong per se, but it’s quite often a cop-out and used to wield power instead of communication. Be mindful that you should only be expected to control your own actions, not those of your partner. Wielding veto power often shifts the balance of power in a relationship and causes far more tension and drama than those relationships that don’t offer this easy out. “Because I don’t like her” isn’t good enough; insist on thorough communication, and trust your partner to make choices that benefit everyone involved.
  • Say there’s no hierarchy if there is. One of the things I love about Tristan Taormino’s book Opening Up is this relationship structure she named, Partnered Non-Monogamy. This is the structure in which has as its base a couple, and the couple is primary with no other primaries allowed. The parties may have additional lovers, together or separately, but there is no desire or option for any relationship that would equal or rival that of the original couple. This relationship model is often desirable for the couple but can be less so for the partners entering the relationship, so it’s a good idea to be clear if this is the desired relationship structure. If this is your structure of choice, be sure not to mislead new partners by saying “we don’t believe in hierarchies” or “you’re not secondary.” Those phrases may be more politically correct, but they aren’t true in partnered non-monogamy. Respect your new partner by being honest with him/her. And for goodness’ sake, don’t make this rule for one partner but then change it for another! That doesn’t sit well with kids (ask anyone who was the oldest!), and it’s equally unkind to do to adults.
  • Ignore metamour communication. Roughly 50% of the emails I receive asking for advice are from a person in a couple asking how to deal with an issue that arose with a metamour. More often than not, what has happened is the relationship developed between partner A and the new lover, while partner B watched from afar and heard tidbits. Now, oh noes! There is an issue with the new lover and partner B, who have barely spoken before. What to do? Partner B doesn’t have to be best friends with the new lover, but it’s always a good idea to open up the lines of communication. Personally, I like to meet the new lover and then set up a coffee or lunch once a month just to chat. We rarely talk about relationship issues; the idea is to have a line of communication open so that if an issue arises, there is an already-established channel of communication and some trust in the trust bank. This makes dealing with relationship issues a breeze when they do arise. This is somewhat akin to a corporation setting up a blog and blogging on a weekly basis: communication, familiarity and credibility are established, so when a crisis arises (the CEO goes on a sexting binge with Newt Gingrich), there is a channel for communication already open to deal with the tough questions.
  • Have the point of the vee moderate. In cases in which partner B has an issue with the new lover of partner A, and metamour relations have been ignored, it often happens that partner A (the point of the vee) ends up moderating between partner B and the new lover. Anyone who has ever had someone else speak on his behalf in an emotionally charged situation will understand why this is a terrible practice. It puts the full burden of communication among all parties on one person (the point of the vee) while absolving the others of any responsibility to communicate clearly with each other. It’s a stressful situation for the point of the vee and disempowering for the other partners. In interpersonal relationships, every involved party should have a voice. Her own voice. It is simply bad communication practice to disallow a partner from participating in discussions that concern her. Even in hierarchical situations such as partnered non-monogamy, every partner deserves the respect of having a voice in the communications. No two people should ever make a decision in the absence of the third, no matter the hierarchy.

A case study

Here’s common example of this dynamic that the couple might not even realize is disrespectful: partner A is dating a new lover, and the desire has come up for an overnight. Partner A says, “I’ll check with partner B,” and partners A and B have a long, intimate conversation about the merits and drawbacks of an overnight visit. The new lover is excluded from all communication and waits patiently outside the relationship, much like a child waiting to see if he gets a raise in his allowance or not. In this case, partners A and B undoubtedly didn’t intend disrespect, but that brand of communication is setting up a power dynamic in which the new lover is essentially powerless to speak or negotiate on his own behalf. And it’s a shame, because that particular situation is an excellent opportunity to forge a new and powerful dynamic by having all three involved parties meet, express their needs, listen to concerns and create a mutually-beneficial solution. In fact, it’s difficult communications such as this that forge intimacy and trust and make for stronger relationships all around. Don’t waste this valuable opportunity!

PW 320: I hate my metamour!

Listener M writes in with a dilemma: what do you do when you love your girlfriend but hate your metamour?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

Introduction

Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

  • Welcome to our cohost, LustyGuy. Can you tell which Scotch he is sipping?

1:50 Topic: I hate my metamour!

M writes in to say that he finds his girlfriend’s new partner so repulsive that he hates the guy, which is not helped by the fact that the girlfriend revealed that the partner is trapped in a sexless marriage and believes that M and girlfriend are moving too quickly.

  • A drama queen? Much of the negative information on the partner (“Scary Clown”) came to M secondhand from the girlfriend. Always question why your girlfriend chooses to reveal unflattering information about a metamour secondhand. Is there a need for drama on her part? Relationship management skills are needed here.
  • Open lines of communication there is no line of communication open between Scary Clown and M. Of course he feels uncomfortable.
  • Responsibilities of the point The person at the point of the vee (here, the girlfriend) has additional responsibilities in terms of nurturing healthy relationships and conveying only the most relevant and supportive information to partners. However, this person should NEVER agree to act as mediator between the other two parties.
  • Setting boundaries the people at the edges of the vee need to set boundaries and be careful to express what they need rather than a simple “I don’t like so-and-so.” For that matter, the person at the point of the vee also needs to set boundaries such as “No saying that M and I aren’t good as a couple. That’s not supportive, and I won’t tolerate it.”

19:45 Feedback

Wayne writes in about an NPR piece on breasts. Audio and transcripts are here.

24:00 Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 319: Marriage as a choice

Thoughts on marriage as a conscious relationship and lifestyle choice rather than the default or the result of peer pressure

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

Introduction

Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:20 News and host chat

3:10 Topic: Marriage as a conscious choice

A recent Huffington Post personal essay questioning marriage as peer pressure in the 20-30 age range as well as:

  • The possibility that even with a lot of love and communication, it might not be enough and the marriage might need to end
  • The groupthink that marriage is hard but always worth it
  • The lack of alternative relationship choices
  • Marriage as the default rather than a custom option

20:20 Feedback on episode 316 Queer as a verb

  • Alyssa writes in to say “Sometimes the radical, panties-in-a-bunch, queers need to chill the fuck out, and what better way to chill out than to realize that something you revolve your life around isn’t a big deal to EVERYONE!”
  • Vir writes in to say that I’ve queered my relationship and my sex life (through kink/fetishes)

24:10 Thanks

Thanks to Meg for the donation this week!

Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 311: Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!

Franklin and Minx tackle the rule dilemma: do rules work in poly relationships?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

Introduction

Under 18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen.

1:00 News and host chat

7:00 Topic: Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!

Guest cohost Franklin Veaux has written extensively on why rules don’t work in poly relationships. And I agree; rules tend to be a substitute for actual communication and a fairly powerless shield against insecurity. Why most poly rules don’t work and advice on what to do instead of creating hard and fast rules.

38:10 Thanks

To Charlie for the $69 donation. We love that amount!

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Make a Donation

Poly Weekly Playmates!

Wanna play?

Poly Weekly on Facebook

Poly Weekly on Twitter