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-   -   Prepping for poly - how? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12826)

nycindie 07-30-2011 10:14 PM

Prepping for poly - how?
 
In another thread, I wrote:
"I gotta wonder why people sign up for polyamory when they cannot handle their partners having feelings for others."

Perhaps my remark was a bit callous -- but maybe not. I know that oftentimes we can't really know the emotional impact of our decisions in advance, and I'm a solo person pursuing poly on my own, so maybe I just cannot relate to the idea of opening up a marriage or relationship, which seems to be the prevailing situation of most posters who come here torn up over consequences from choosing to live polyamorously.

However, since I posted that comment, it got me thinking about how one can prepare to immerse themselves in a practice and relationship structure that goes against the grain of how we've been taught in society to live. How can we prepare ourselves to be loving and happy when the ones we love also love others? Is it even possible to prepare for it? Or is it something we just have to keep working toward? Will we eventually reach a state where we become unruffled by it and are totally compersive? I know it does come easily for many poly peeps, but again, I wonder why so many people agree to poly when they really don't want to see their partner in love with someone else.

Sadly, I'm sure that many poly situations that had much potential for happiness and success end because the parties couldn't handle their emotional reactions to multi-partner loving. So, I hope this makes sense as an inquiry, but I'm wondering...

How many of the most successful poly tangles have become that way from a foundation of reading, discussing, extensive soul-searching, and a dedication to self-knowledge beforehand, and how many of them had to overcome devastation and save themselves from drowning because they jumped into the deep end of the pool without much forethought or preparation beforehand?

AutumnalTone 07-30-2011 11:09 PM

I'd say some imaginative rehearsing would go a long way to figuring out how things would feel. Spend time imagining what would happen and see how that feels.

Using me as a reference point, as a hetero male, I would have to imagine the ladies with whom I am and/or want to be involved interacting with another male SO. Picture them greeting each other with hugs and smooches, showing affection as they sit and talk. Perhaps even imagine the ladies getting nekkid and flashing "fuck me" eyes at other men. The ladies going to parties or dinner or movies or plays or whatever *without me* and *with somebody else*.

Then sort through all of the feelings those imaginings generate. Figure out what bothers me and why.

Of course, to continue it, then I could imagine her when she then spends time with me feeling so much more fulfilled by having other loves. How her expanding joy will make things so much better when I'm with her. And then how much better I'll feel not having to try to fulfill all of her relationship needs. Stuff like that.

There's much to recommend that sort of mental rehearsal as a form of preparation.

nycindie 07-30-2011 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutumnalTone (Post 94686)
There's much to recommend that sort of mental rehearsal as a form of preparation.

Yes! Many times, I've given myself the exercise of imagining myself five years from now and looking back on a situation which currently has me upset or confused. In five years, how would I describe the outcome to someone? I imagine the conversation and even talk out loud. This helps me see things more clearly. One could imagine themselves telling a friend about their poly relationship five years from now. I think these kinds of imaginative exercises can get us in touch with our gut feelings, and what we really want in our heart of hearts, without being hampered by rationalizing or our intellectual thought processes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutumnalTone (Post 94686)
Then sort through all of the feelings those imaginings generate. Figure out what bothers me and why.

^^ This is surely the most important part. If one can't resolve certain issues, it's probably best to hold off on jumping into poly then.

GroundedSpirit 07-31-2011 01:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 94678)
................ So, I hope this makes sense as an inquiry, but I'm wondering...

How many of the most successful poly tangles have become that way from a foundation of reading, discussing, extensive soul-searching, and a dedication to self-knowledge beforehand, and how many of them had to overcome devastation and save themselves from drowning because they jumped into the deep end of the pool without much forethought or preparation beforehand?

Hey NYC :)

In my way of thinking, most of the difficulty is caused by the fact that, in general, people don't take the time to think about what "love" really is and how it progresses. It's simply too much effort and nobody stipulates it's required. We can just swallow the pill form.........

The media, past and present, is overloaded with a distorted, unrealistic 'definition' of love that people swallow whole and expect to live within. There isn't that 'soul-searching you speak of except for a small minority of people.

This single fact seems to be at the root of all difficulty with living 'poly'.
It's extremely difficult to overcome such a heavily stacked deck. This is one of the reasons I've always been an advocate of required 'education' in the realm of love (and sex) before any marriage is permitted. And I'm NOT talking the low key, sugarcoated version give to kids in school. I'm talking the REAL DEAL, the hard stuff, the stuff that requires that deep understanding and soul searching.
We don't allow drivers on the road without driver education............

GS

Minxxa 07-31-2011 09:57 PM

I agree that training would be good!

I think for the most part people don't think in realities in general. They see the fantasy or the ideal. For love, relationships, living situations. It's all about hat they WANT, not What is. So the idea of other sexual partners is the fantasy and because they are in love with their partner it doesn't occur that they can and may also love another. I think for many people they go for adding spice to their relationship. Not necessarily *poly*.

I also think a lot of people don't do a lot of detailed picturing of possibilities and so get surprised when emotions pop up especially I'd they feel they are mentally good with the idea.

marksbabygirl 08-01-2011 02:44 AM

NOTHING prepared me for what happened.

I had been involved in non-monogamy for some time. We had been swingers. We had had an open relationship.

Prior to the "L" word, prior to anything else - the first "date" they were having - we were all sitting in my living room - them on one couch snuggling, me on another alone, and a conversation happened that left me feeling worthless and unloveable.

Then they left me alone.

It was not a good start - and the end was worse.

It leaves me hesitant to start up anything with anyone - although I'm still sorta "looking" and he has decided that he is adamantly NOT going to pursue anything else - the pain and stress was too much for him.

I did a lot of research ahead of time. I had already experienced non-monogamy. I had no real problem with it.

If anything, what I did "wrong" was to not insist on more conversations and that things NEEDED to slow down.

Although the few times I did express that they were going too fast I was told that I was being "irrational and unreasonable and controlling"

So meh.

I was sorta prepared, but not.

BornEmpathinVirgo 08-01-2011 03:16 AM

Nycindie, I have had so many of these same questions processing in my head. I love the way you put your mind processes on this forum.Thanks for this discussion:D

BornEmpathinVirgo 08-01-2011 03:19 AM

AutumnalTone, your advice is definitely something that I am going to put into action! Sounds like a very good place to begin to answer some of these questions! :D

BlackUnicorn 08-01-2011 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutumnalTone (Post 94686)
I'd say some imaginative rehearsing would go a long way to figuring out how things would feel. Spend time imagining what would happen and see how that feels.

When I dig at the bottom of all the feelings of insecurity and a priori jealousy these mental rehearsals create, I always find the same underlying fear; I fear that someone I love might not hold me in as high regard and may not respond to my feelings with equal intensity.

So deep down, I'm just selfish. I see love relationships as investments and wonder whether I am getting my due returns. Instead of this selfish and calculating attitude, I try to cultivate the sincere wish for all beings to achieve the fullness of joy, and a commitment to help them achieve that in which ever way I can. I try to drill it into my thick skull that truly loving someone means you seek their happiness before your own.

Imagining the worst case scenario and then taking it apart and looking at what is really so terrifying about it, what am I really so afraid of, is how I prep for my relationships.

Carma 08-01-2011 03:24 PM

We came into poly as a result of an affair. I was already in love with another man, yet still in love with my husband and we did NOT want a divorce.

But NOW.... my husband has just begun a relationship with someone, and even though we have talked about it and I myself have been sleeping with another man for the past 10 months... it was surprisingly difficult for me!!! ("Paybacks are a bitch???") -- Although my husband didn't do this as a "payback," of course. I encouraged him to pursue this woman. I wanted him to be happy, I wanted him to feel more love, I wanted him to heal from some of the ego-crushing he has dealt with over my polyamory... Then when he actually had a date with her Friday night, I went into a bit of a swirl. I panicked, that I jeopardized our marriage, that I forced him into something he really doesn't want, and yes, a little fear that he will like her more, leave me for her...

I'm doing better now. Friday night was extreme, though. Sundance says the fear comes in waves -- you learn to ride them out.

I have to remind myself that I have been programmed by society to fear my husband's capacity to love. Also, at this point he is not feeling "love" -- he calls it a fling. I feel silly that I reacted as I did -- I believe in polyamory, I do! And it is working out wonderfully for ME; it's being on the other side that is a new challenge! "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." -- It's all good. :)


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