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Old 04-08-2014, 06:21 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
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Some of this is reiterating SchrodingersCat's post, but sometimes reiteration is helpful, especially if done in different words concerning a particularly important concept.

Re (from copperhead):
"I just want to hear other peoples experiences, so that I don't need to make all the mistakes myself."
May I recommend delving into the Life stories and blogs board? It's a ton of reading, but a ton of insights as well. You can read all about the pitfalls people fell into -- and how they got out. FWIW, my blog can be found there and you're more than welcome to read it (and ask me questions here or there if you like), in case that would help.

"This makes me think how to undo that monogamous programming? Should it be done before one enters a poly relationship? Would it be possible? Or is it just something one needs to go through as it is happening?"
In most cases I think the monogamous programming is deep and thorough enough that undoing it is a lifelong process (one that is never entirely finished). It's a good idea to work on it before getting involved with a poly situation, but sooner or later you have to make the call to venture into the poly situation while continuing to chip away at the mono programming at the same time.

Book reading can help. I especially like "Sex at Dawn" (Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá), not because it "diagrams non-monogamy" (for that I recommend "Openening Up" by Tristan Taormino), but because it shakes up the conventional wisdom of human sexuality with "Monogamy is in our genes" being the biggest myth it topples. But, immersing yourself in will probably help with that process too.

And personal experience is a necessary part of the process. Your own blog can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings as you go along.

"I really would like to work toward an answer [to pain-free poly] or several different answers."
I reckon this would be a good thread for that researching process. A good start at least.

I should add that many opinions exist out there describing protocols and precautions that can reduce the chance (and severity) of getting hurt in poly. None of those bits of advice are guaranteed safeguards however, and people are best at thinking of them when asked about specific situations.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle (in discovering a pain-free formula) is that one person's bane is another person's boon. For example, relationship anarchy is the only way to go for some people, while strict polyfidelity is the only way to go for others. This is one of the reasons why "how to work through the difficulties without anyone getting hurt" is such a puzzling riddle.

"Okay, so it comes back to communication. It seems like this is the cornerstone of polyamory. Maybe there is no answer beyond that. Then it would mean one has to learn to be honest with oneself first and then honest with others. It would mean that the goals of communication are understanding and respecting each other. But this then leads me to wonder how do you know that you have understood someone correctly or that you have been understood correctly? Respect or lack thereof is easier to notice, I think. Or is it? (I'm full of questions )"
Well look, you're on the right track. I can't guarantee that communication is "The Answer," but so far it looks like it's probably "The Main Answer" at least and most polyamorists would agree about that.

One of the biggest obstacles in communication is it only works if both (or however many) people engaged in the conversation are doing their level best to be honest (and considerate), improve how they communicate (by research as well as trial and error), and become good listeners as their top priority (good talkers as their second priority). Of course if at least one person refuses to try to communicate at all, then there will be a problem.

How do you know that you have understood someone correctly or that you have been understood correctly? You don't (to a 100% certainty), but you can greatly improve your odds by repeating back to the person what they just said -- in your own words -- and ask if that's what they meant. (And you can ask them to do likewise for you.)

Is respect or the lack thereof is easier to notice? Usually but not always. Here again, repeating back to the person what it is that they just said (in your own words), and asking them for confirmation or correction, may defuse the sarcasm they may have been using and convince them to re-state themselves in a more respectful manner. People often reciprocate when a good behavioral example is offered to them.

Perhaps the biggest thing I have learned about communication so far is that there doesn't seem to be "One Big Secret" that makes it work. Instead it's a lot of little things you have to learn. Some things you can learn in books, some on forums, and some by good old first-hand experience. Heck and stuff like counseling, workshops, conferences, and support groups can also aid in that learning/discovery process.

"I'm still busy congratulating me for sticking with my decision of ending the relationship if my boundaries are not respected. But to protect myself from lies ... I suppose I need to talk about my stuff more openly. It seems like a good way to hear if things are not what they seem. I also think being open leaves no room for emotional abuse of any kind. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but if I don't talk about what happens in my life, I'm alone with everything, and there's a good chance I'll miss warning signs then."
That's good wisdom; it will get you far.

"I really would like to hear very concrete examples from people's lives. This is how my brain works. I understand abstract things by having enough examples on them. I don't understand them from universal explanations."
Well again, I recommend reading other people's blogs on our blog board here, as well as continuing your own blog so as to chronicle your progress and organize what you are experiencing and learning.

"I think now I have a better understanding of how it can be done ethically:
  • know yourself,
  • communicate,
  • respect others,
  • don't let others treat you badly.
Did I miss something?"
Haha, probably, but that's gotta cover most of it.

Seriously, I'm never 100% sure if I've covered everything, and if I ever am, I always seem to find myself soon proven wrong. But with the four principles you listed, one could go far with little pain to go through. If, that is, one can master those four principles ... and it's in mastering them that the real challenge lies.

Heh, I could almost compare it to an earnest student approaching a wise teacher and asking, "How can I become a karate master?" That teacher will probably say, "You will have to suffer many bruises along the way, but if you are patient, I can teach you."

That's sort of the pickle we polyamorists are in. And while teachers do exist, we ultimately find that we must learn to become our own teachers, for the ultimate master of polyamory does not yet exist in this world. (At least not that I know of!)
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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