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  #11  
Old 08-01-2011, 04:05 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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I think preparing for poly is kind of like preparing for pregnancy, birth and a new baby. You can read books and websites, talk to lots of new parents, take childbirth and breastfeeding classes, but you can't know the joys and challenges of getting pregnant (esp if there are fertility issues), being pregnant, changes in one's body image, nausea, extreme fatigue, choosing a dr or midwife, birthing, breastfeeding, pediatrician visits, lack of sleep, til you're really doing it. Not to mention the stress it puts on the partners' relationship, because you now have so little time to talk, date, have sex, connect, be spontaneous.

That was my experience when my ex and I opened our marriage. I'd read the Ethical Slut, my ex and I seemed to be in a good strong place in our marriage, I am bi, he is straight, we found a nice woman... but I had no idea what NRE would do to him, and us. I didn't know how I'd feel about their romantic dates, how I'd feel about the time he'd be taken away from our kids, hadn't thought about how I'd feel about him spending OUR money on taking her out and buying her gifts, the constant passionate emails, how she and I would manage trying to become friendly metamours (since I'd imagined she'd be my lover too). I'd imagined feeling jealous of her, but hadn't thought about her jealousy of me, etc etc.

So, please don't judge us so harshly, Cindie.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

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  #12  
Old 08-01-2011, 04:50 PM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
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?
I think truth, even for those of us who are "successful" (however one chooses to define success) lies somewhere in the middle.

Mags really hit the nail on the head. You can read and imagine and prepare, but it's still freaking overwhelming at times. And it's what you do at that point that I think shows whether or not you'll make it. Do you slow down, figure out what's going on, see who needs to work on things and then do just that? Or do you give in to NRE, put your head in the sand and keep going?
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2011, 05:07 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Yeah, I take responsibility for freaking out over my ex's NRE. I didn't handle it well at all, didn't expect nearly the intensity of it.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2011, 05:46 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I think preparing for poly is kind of like preparing for pregnancy, birth and a new baby. You can read books and websites, talk to lots of new parents, take childbirth and breastfeeding classes, but you can't know the joys and challenges of getting pregnant (esp if there are fertility issues), being pregnant, changes in one's body image, nausea, extreme fatigue, choosing a dr or midwife, birthing, breastfeeding, pediatrician visits, lack of sleep, til you're really doing it.
This is So true Mags but consider the alternative.
The advance education and planning does take SOME of the edge off and minimize a lot of the early mistakes. It gives you a point of reference to cling to when you think you are drowning. It's a "wait a minute - I've read/heard of this and ways it can be managed" thing.

That's a lot different than "OMG - the world is coming to an end - what do I do !"



GS
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2011, 05:53 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Oh, of course. Since I am a La Leche League Leader, I'll just toot my own horn and mention that women that attend 4 of our monthly meetings while pregnant go on to nurse for months longer than women who don't!

I was not saying don't prepare at all. Thank gods (and girl power and medical research, and improvement in openness about S.E.X), that we aren't in the dark ages now about birthing that women were when my mom had me!

And I guess we can say the same thing about our little support group for polyamory here and the books that are available now.

Still, we all make mistakes in parenting and poly, have issues, no matter how much we read. Only practice makes perfect (or at least not tragic). My practice/mistakes with my ex, and my gf's experiences with several poly relationships, has made a much smoother road for her and me in managing multiple relationships. And for a further link between poly and parenting, my counseling experience with the mothers in LLL has helped my communication skills across the board.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 58, living with:
miss pixi, 37, who is dating (NRE):
Master, 32
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  #16  
Old 08-01-2011, 06:34 PM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
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I agree that reading up and knowing things is definitely helpful, but it's only the first step in any new adventure. You have to also build up the appropriate skills you might need, and then be open and in the moment of the experiences and adapt and adjust and build new skills as needed.

I do think there is a "skill set" for successful relationships in general. Things like open, honest and non-aggressive communication, listening skills, empathy, non-judgment, acceptance, etc. These are such vital skills, yet skills that I don't think are adequately taught or supported much (at least not in the U.S.).

And I think doing your own work first is highly important as well. Knowing yourself, what you want, what you believe, and being able to identify, name, and pick apart your emotions when things go awry and figure out what the core issues are... so helpful!

I find it interesting when you see people struggling to live a poly life when they don't even really have the skills to be in a healthy relationship with ONE person. Like they expect things will magically "work out"... the poly fairy will fly in and poof! everybody will get along, nobody will ever feel hurt, unicorns will abound.
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  #17  
Old 08-01-2011, 06:50 PM
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Phy Phy is offline
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I think you are absolutely right.

And I like the poly fairy
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  #18  
Old 08-01-2011, 06:54 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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There is also a tendency for poly-folks to put up with more bullshit because they think it makes them more tolerant or open minded or whatsa.

I am not interested in proving to the world how open minded or not-uptight i am.
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  #19  
Old 08-01-2011, 06:58 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonKaos View Post
There is also a tendency for poly-folks to put up with more bullshit because they think it makes them more tolerant or open minded or whatsa.
I figure that sort of thing arises more from codependency issues than trying to prove tolerance or somesuch.

As in, "I'm afraid this relationship will end, despite the fact that I knew that was a distinct possibility from the outset." One has to be prepared for any relationship to end prior to entering it, I think, to be prepared for it in the first place.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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  #20  
Old 08-01-2011, 11:08 PM
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River River is offline
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I simply cannot imagine attempting to practice polyamory in this culture at this time without the contextualization of a conducive spiritual outlook and practice. For me, relationships are as central to my spiritual (mostly buddhist) practice as sitting meditation, mindfulness and metta (lovingkindness) practices. How can people find resliliency and freedom and joy in life without these practices and their supportive discourses? I have no idea.

I've found that love and joy, which are manifestations of freedom and love-of-truth,
emerge in the atmosphere of non-clinging appreciation. If one wishes to have love and joy, one must let go of all that obstructs it. Jealousy is little more than fearful clinging and grasping. It isn't appreciation and love. So it has to be transcended (trance ended?).

If my long time partner, or any other partner, were to love someone else and that loving itself caused me suffering, I'd know that I've lost my way and I was temporarily caught in some illusion or another. Typically, the illusion that causes such suffering is the illusion that one is worth less / worthless. One feels abandoned or the fear of abandonment when one feels worth less. But such a feeling-thought is always an illusion. Every human being has infinite value, is infinite value. All else is illusion.

Self-esteem is crucial to all relationships, whether mono or poly or whatever. It's crucial
to any well-being in life, even for single and solo people. Almost all relationship troubles
seem to me to have a failing of self-esteem as the principal cause. If I had poor self-esteem, and Kevin (or 'M') were to fall in love with someone else, I'd probably worry that he'd (she'd) leave me, that I was not as good as this other person, and so on. But because I now do have good--healthy--self-esteem, I'd celebrate with him his ( & her) newfound love. I don't depend on another person to reflect my value/love in order that I may experience my value/love, though I do intensely appreciate these reflections. And I even need them. But I don't need them in a basic lack way, as I once did. My cup runneth over, if you will. I've come home to myself. And that's what we need in order to have healthy loving relationships with others -- whether mono or poly. But especially in poly, because poly is a daring experiment in our cultural setting. It could be the cultural norm, as monogamy now is, and monogamy would then be a daring experiment, and a deep challenge due to lack of cultural / social supportiveness, understanding....

But how is self esteem advanced? Ironically, perhaps, I think it is most swiftly advanced by letting go of one's self -- which is what one does in meditation and mindfulness and metta (loving-kindness) practices. And it is what one does when one seeks to transform the lead of jealousy into the gold of compersion. Self is not supposed to obsessively focus on self; this makes a self sick! A self which surrenders, which is generous and compassionate and kind, this is a whole self, a becoming whole self, a healing self. When the self realizes its wholeness it comes home to life, to itself. In letting itself go the self wakes up. In waking up it sees its own infinite beauty, goodness, loveliness.... Self-esteem emerges in letting self go.

We can make a regular practice of letting ourselves go, and thereby opening ourselves up and waking ourselves up. Buddhist sitting meditation does this for me better than anything, better than skydiving or bungee jumping, better even than
sex or double fudge chocolate ice cream. Sitting still and comfortable on a cushion is both the hardest and the easiest thing I know how to do, and by far and away the most daring. It takes great courage and fortitude. It is a huge risk -- everything is risked! (I've fallen suddenly into empty black space doing it!) I think it was the sitting that finally opened up enough space for my heart to finally begin to awaken to itself, and allow me to enter much further into the mysteries of human loving.

I dare you! Better..., dare yourself.
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Last edited by River; 08-01-2011 at 11:28 PM.
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