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Old 10-08-2012, 04:24 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,086

Thanks for the compliment. That was kind.

As for the imaginary married couple in question? Let's call them Jane and John Doe. Jane asks me for advice.
  • What do I say about her logic and thinking process?
  • What practical advice would I give her to help her pick A -- the ethical path?

I would say this below to Jane. Enjoy the read.



Jane? Relax. You have not done anything yet. You are safe inside your own brain. Mere thinking about things does foment them into being.

I am bothered that you seem to have this core belief. Excessive worry about the future stops you from being present enough in the here and now. It's like worrying about the tiger that might be up ahead in the journey and neglecting to see that you are going to walk off the cliff if you do not follow the bend in the road at your feet right now.

If I were you, Jane? How I would tackle thinking this out for myself? Strip it down to essentials.

You talk about community opinion. I want to lift this up -- you and John could agree to be in polyship and not be "Out" to a single person other than your poly peeps. So dealing with general community reaction can be postponed until you are stronger in your polyshipping confidence with John, right? Right. Leave the tiger alone for now. It muddies your thinking process. It is a valid concern, but bringing it on board right now is premature and prevents you from getting a handle to begin with. So pause it, please.

So this is not really the crossroads that you are at in your polyshipping journey just yet:
A) being open and honest, but possibly destroying all of these layers of relationships that you have developed for years or decades with friends and family and so on.

B) having secret relationships whether sexual, romantic, or both (with the hidden potential to destroy those same long-developed relationships with friends and family and so on.).

If you set aside the "community factor" it becomes this:
A) My being open and honest with John about what I want. But accepting this would possibly destroy my relationship with John.

B) My having secret relationships whether sexual, romantic, or both behind John's back. (with the hidden potential to destroy my relationship with John.)

If your want is open and honest communication, and open and honest polyship with John? Just throw choice B away then. Do not engage in behavior that does not support your desire to be open and honest. Cheating on John behind his back is not open and honest. That's why I colored it gray. Having that on the table of choices just muddies your thinking process. There. Mental trash basket! That was easy.

Now we are here then in the thinking process then.
A) My being open and honest with John about what I want. But accepting this would possibly destroy my relationship with John.
Focus on what you want. Not what you do not want.

Here you are focusing on what you do not want -- destruction of the relationship. You state you want open honest polyship with John.

(I am baffled why your thinking process leaps to negative conclusions and uses words like "destroy." I shan't argue that word choice but encourage you think think about why you use words like that in describing your role in the relationship. Why lean towards destruction rather than construction? Is your thinking pattern habit destructive rather than constructive?)

So rewrite it to focus on what you want.
A) My being open and honest in communication with John about what I want. I want an open honest polyship with John.
This thinking is getting clearer but still not organized in terms of stating your needs, wants, and limits. I like to organize my thinking that way. Perhaps rewrite that in your head to have wants, needs, and limits on there. That can help suggest the course of action -- the HOW. Clues to your next behavior to achieve the goal.

So really you could be looking at this on the table, Jane:

What I Need:
  • I need to be open and honest communication with John.
    • I go to him with my stuff. He listens to me talk.
    • He comes to me with his stuff. I listen him talk.
  • I need to understand that I cannot control him and his behavior. I can control only what I do -- my own behavior. .

What I Want :
  • I want to be in an open, honest polyship with John.
  • I want to know if he would be open to that or not.

Limit to my ability:
  • I am not a mind reader.

Conclusion for my behavior to help achieve my want:
  • I could ask him how he feels on this and if he's willing to entertain the idea at an appointment time later.
  • If willing to set a time aside to talk to me, I could ask him what I could bring to the Big Conversation table to aid us. (Poly links? Open relationship models to look at?)

Possible Method:
  • I could ask him for a moment of his time to engage in Big Conversation via oral communication? Written communication?

Reasonableness testing:
  • Yes. Asking my husband how he feels is reasonable in the context of a marriage. Married people ask each other things.
  • Yes. Asking my husband for a Big Conversation appointment time so we're not distracted or rushy with other things is reasonable.

Conclusion to reasonableness testing:
  • It's good. All reasonable so far.

Reality testing:
  • I DO NOT WANT to do oral communication or written communication with John to ask him this. That is why I had that old cheating choice B on there in the first place.
  • This is in conflict with my WANT of "I want to be in open, honest polyship with John."

Conclusion to reality testing:
  • My reality is in harmony or conflict? Conflict. My reality is in conflict with what? My other reality. This is a problem on the "me to myself" tier at this point then.
  • I could do inner conflict resolution with myself first to reconcile my feelings. WHY is it hard for me to articulate to John? I could identify things that give me trouble. What is my unwillingness speaking to?
That is how I would think it out if I were you, Jane. Clear the muddy factors away to help reduce and simplify it down to something I can understand to myself and see what tier in relationship the wrinkle(s) are at. Clear it down to something that could help point to my next course of action -- what could be my next behavior?


I cannot give you practical advice for how to surmount your obstacles. You have not identified them, Jane. I do not know what they might be.

Please elaborate on WHAT makes open and honest communication with John hard. Then people can try help you by giving constructive feedback on how to overcome these things to help you move closer to your goal of "open and honest communication with John."

Eventually you will actually have to ask John his feelings – does he want to be in open honest polyship with you?

But don't jump ahead there to the
Jane <--> John tier
of your polymath yet. You are not all clear on the
Jane <--> Jane tier
to do the level up.

Before you practice being open and honest with John? You could practice being open and honest with yourself and do a self-assessment first. Could consider what is stopping you from being open and honest in your communications with John? Could consider what skills do you need to build up in you? Could look within. Shine the light in dark inner places.

Whether alone, in a monoship, or in a polyship, the first tier of interpersonal relationship skills is always the first tier of how YOU relate to YOURSELF.

If you cannot think clearly in your mind, you cannot sort your wants, needs, and limits in your mind into clear form.

If you cannot do that, you cannot take it out of your mind and articulate your clear wants, needs, and limits to another person.

Thinking and articulating in clear fashion is hard. But like any skill -- it can be learned. You can do it, Jane!

Did you need people to guess what might be your obstacles? To help you articulate them to yourself?


Last edited by GalaGirl; 10-09-2012 at 03:16 AM.
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