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Old 05-14-2011, 11:19 PM
sinew's Avatar
sinew sinew is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 18
Default Developing independence

Moving from mono to poly in my marriage has exposed a lot of my weak areas, and I've given a lot of thought to my lack of independence in particular. It definitely made/is making the transition harder, and I've been working hard to find ways to gain the confidence and self-direction to be more comfortable with knowing areas of my husband's life that used to be solely "my" territory are now shared with others. Independence also seems to help with the feeling of abandonment that I've sometimes had when he's out with Juliet, and it gives me a better chance of weathering the fear that I'll be found lacking in comparison to her.

For context, it's worth knowing that I have a darned successful career in leadership roles, and was plucky enough to skip ahead 4 grades in school - yet in my home life I've been mostly a hermit, leading a quiet life that revolved in a substantial way around my husband.

So, I figured I'd post a few of the things that have helped me cultivate independence, and see if others have advice on more ways.

1. Embrace an adventurous philosophy. Pema Chodron taught about "going to the places that scare you", because doing so makes your world bigger, your heart more open, and your mind more agile. I give myself regular reminders about the philosophy I've developed around this, in hopes that I will remember it in those hard moments where I really want to just withdraw to the safe and familiar. I try and ask myself, is this truly harmful to me, or could it be an adventure?

2. Try hobbies. I really didn't have hobbies before all this, but I try now to challenge myself to do the things that interest me. I like making things, so every week now I go on Instructables.com and pick out some little projects to try on my own. I took up origami. I read more. I'm trying to grow plants. I find that regularly doing stuff that involves only me is a good way to change how I think of being alone.

3. Be of service. Volunteering is actually quite empowering, I've found. It gets me out into the world, experiencing new things, and gives me a self-image boost. When I feel capable of making a positive difference in the world, I have greater confidence in myself.

4. Be physically active. I hate this one, actually, but it is still good for me. I generally hate exercise, and stay slim by not eating much for the most part. But realizing I wasn't totally happy with that, I sought a form of activity that I enjoy. In my case, I learned pole dancing (from a Pilates instructor). Yeah, really. I have a pole in my study and everything, and it makes me feel sexier and better about my physical self.

Have others found independence to be a challenge in beginning poly, and found things that helped?
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