Make sure they both understand
that any learning to live with any flavor of non-monogamy will likely be the hardest thing they have ever had to deal with. One of the hardest things about combining the lessons of Freedom and Love is that during the learning process, you feel you can handle college level coursework and sign up for the class only to find you really should have been taking a one hour class all year every year since Kindergarten.
It is virtually impossible to exercise freedom without being held accountable for the responsibility associated with it, which unfortunately has an invisible price tag that the majority of the world denies it even exists.
I feel the most effective way to lessen the pain in the lessons is to practice being honest with yourself. Taking a few extra minutes out of every day to honestly identify your genuine emotions. It is far to easy to not be honest about why we are feeling the emotion we feel. Especially when it comes to being upset. It is a complicated process to explain, but it is like getting upset at a person who drives the speed limit because you are late for work. Of course there are varying degrees which the seemingly slow driving may be genuinely responsible for annoying you, but there is a night and day difference between a person who hit snooze four times and now has five minutes for a thirty minute drive and the person who woke up to a flat tire that unforeseeingly needed to be changed (and the one with the flat tire is typically not angered by the slow driver) Genuinely understanding the source of any anger usually takes practice. Taking things into consideration like; do I get angry at people who drive the speed limit when I am not late for work? Do I have unrealistic views about how heavy traffic I should expect for the hour of my commute (ie: if there is heavy traffic, was I really using my best judgement in trying to predict how much time I would need or was I rationalizing and telling myself white lies)
Getting angry at other drivers is an easy model to view how undeserved bitterness takes an honest person to realize they have no right to be bitter at anyone but themselves.
Not practicing that type of personal accountability for the genuine reasons you feel each emotion can cause trouble because you will end up being directly responsible for causing a lot of confusion among those learning the combination of freedom to love without restraint.
Having very intimate relationships with those you love, something closer to poly as opposed to swinging, can require an awful lot of empathy and compassion for everyone you are involved with. It can require an awful lot of self-reflection and being overly critical of your behaviors so when a person is not practiced at knowing the genuine reasons for every emotion they cannot give their partners the information they will need in order for their polyship to be steered away from the rocky cliffs. It poisons the self-reflection process because it just makes the self-reflective person feel crazy rather than having that self-reflection be of benefit.
Because we live in a world where truth is often fooled into believing it must remain closeted or else suffer the consequence, it automatically sets up our relationships to incorrectly identify our emotions, often drastically by simply having to sometimes keep relationships secret.
One of the most important things is to remember to go back and confess to your loved ones immediately when you recognize you misplaced some of your anger onto their behaviors because it isn't fair to let them think something they did was the cause of your grumpiness when it was not because when others are genuinely trying to learn how they can make poly work in a relationship with you, they will be self-reflective of their interactions with you and if they mistakenly believe they may have been responsible for problems they are not, it can be crazy making. So it's important to tell them things like,
"when I snapped at you and said you make me feel hovered over, it was because I was trying to have a cigarette after I supposedly had quit"
because failure to inform them of little unpleasant truths is directly responsible for confusion, which causes unnecessary pain and can even be responsible for things not working.
In a weird way, successful intimate polyships are a lot like the dynamics of Alcoholics Anonymous in regards to following the steps. However luckily for some their are many different types of non-monogamy and many people have different personal definitions as to what constitutes true intimacy. But if you are envisioning "classic" polyamory it is best to make sure you aren't leaving out even the tiniest of every single tiny baby step because not doing so results in unnecessary pain (esp within a community)
Last edited by Dirtclustit; 11-28-2012 at 07:25 PM.