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Old 01-15-2010, 12:55 AM
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Default How to have and maintain healthy relationships

How to have and maintain a healthy relationship so that another relationship can come into your life

"As I see it, each person is 100% responsible at the same time. So I am 100% responsible and the other person is also 100% responsible. We are both totally responsible, and equally so. I don't mean that making things work is up to one person, just that it is an ideal of mine that each individual in the relationship takes the perspective of being responsible for what is happening to them, and in the relationship. Again, my ideal is that everyone in the relationship does this; if one person takes on responsibility while another disowns responsibility, then I don't think that's an ideal scenario"

I took this quote from Nerdist on another thread (post,#45 http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...p?t=923&page=5). To me it is what we have always tried to accomplish in our relationship he and I, as he is my husband. It's why I think it has worked up to this point. I would really like to know how to stop a relationship from becoming unbalanced because that 100% becomes less, to the point that one person feels they have to cheat and have affairs in order to get their needs met and be happier.

To me, giving my relationship 100% is that I am keeping aware of what is going on for me in my thoughts, in my body, in my life so that I can be fully present in my relationship. That is very difficult when I don't get too much time for myself, but I manage and part of that is asking for time and arranging time... like I have right now as I write this...... it's all part of it for me. 100% is also about being aware of how I effect others and influence their lives. I want to make sure that I always leave a positive, loving, caring, respectful wake where ever I go. That doesn't mean I compromise my values, that is a value of mine. It's my life long work. I guess there are other ways I give my relationship(s) 100% such as checking in with Nerdist and others to make sure they always have a safe space and time to talk to me. That is also important to me... among other things... I wonder if others subscribe to the point of view of a relationship works best if the partners all give evenly to the relationship 100% and what that means to them.

To me, in a situation where someone has or wants to cheat, there is someone in the relationship not giving it 100%. When I say that I mean that they are not telling the other how they feel, not looking after themselves and their own needs, becoming resentful for various reasons; not just that they do something to sabotage their relationship knowingly because they are desperately trying to get out of the relationship and/or are unhappy. I'm talking everyday stuff that becomes unbalanced in the form of either not knowing it is or pretending that everything is okay.

It takes some time for a relationship to become unbalanced I think. Over time there can be several things that happen before an affair occurs. From the NRE of a new relationship to a relationships end stuff happens that makes it so that relationship ends. Sometimes there is just nothing left between a couple and they both decide that there is really nothing left to stay for and sometimes it ends in the culmination of time spent not giving it 100%.

What can be done if one person is giving a relationship 100% and the other isn't? Some people talk of that on here and elsewhere that they were just not getting the response from their partner that they were hoping for and eventually were whittled down to feeling they needed to desperately go and find what they need elsewhere. What does one do with that... it seems reasonable to me to practice self preservation, but how does one do it while being respectful to their partner and to their own feelings of self worth and respect.

If any of you have read what I have said in the past about cheating you will know that I absolutely abhor it. I think it is the single most distructive activity that is destroying family life and community life on many levels. It teaches our children that the needs of one are more important than the needs of many, it teaches others that a quick fix is the answer when it very rarely is when it comes to the complexities of relationships and it has made a society of untrust, loneliness, separation, desperation, depression, and sadness. It seeps into every aspect of a persons life and reaches far and wide to other relationships and future relationships. Yet even when that is a known, people still do it...

What can be done to take what we know about cheating and affairs and make it a useful tool so that people can be healed from it rather than hurt from it? I ask this as a personal question to myself and to others that have cheated on their partners or had an affair. I am asking myself what it is I learned when I cheated and what I now know about myself that translates into my willingness and ability to give 100% to my relationship with Nerdist and Mono and just about everyone I care about.

I will leave it at that for the moment and reflect on those thoughts in the hopes that I have some answers or someone finds an interesting train of thought on the questions I have asked.
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Last edited by redpepper; 01-15-2010 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:11 AM
Mark1npt Mark1npt is offline
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Excellent post RP. Tough questions indeed.

Person A gives 100% for 25 years. Person B gives 100% 10 years. Persons A and B develop other interests. Life happens. Shit happens. Needs go unmet. Affairs happen to meet needs......and on and on and on.

How many times have we all seen/heard/done that?

In an ideal world........yes, I'm dreaming.........People living a long term monogamous life have to want the same things, need the same things and deliver 100% of the time to eachother over the life of the relationship however long that may be. Realistic? I can count on one hand the number of people I've met like that in 50+ years. Who are we kidding?

How many of us are the same people we were 5, 10 or 20 years ago? How many of our spouses are? How realistic is it to remain so over 50-60 years as we live so much longer today than past generations? Is it safe to grow and drift apart a little, develop other interests and meet ones needs in other places, or.......must we remain tied to the hip like siamese twins into eternity??????

Can we learn from affairs, yes. Can relationships heal, move on? Yes. But won't the same things just happen again if we aren't having our needs met effectively? What if our partner can't or won't or isn't interested in meeting our needs any longer? What if divorce is out of the question?

My God, RP......I've asked more questions than you have and maybe even taken your post off task, I'm sorry.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:28 AM
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Still digesting. But you should submit that one for the article section if you haven't already.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:30 AM
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Still digesting. But you should submit that one for the article section if you haven't already.
That's funny,....I was thinking the same thing as I was reading it.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:34 AM
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I agree..this is a great article idea! Nice lead in which, despite the topic, lends itself to being positive and forward moving I would love to see this thread grow in experience contribution and diversity. With any luck it will remain semantic free and avoid cycles of stagnant debate so we can all enjoy and learn.....and move forward

I will be collecting my thoughts on a fitting response to the cheating discussion as I have been there as the perpetrator. I can also provide the view of the person I cheated with when I explained to her the concept of poly and how this was different.

Great job, Lilo!
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:05 PM
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RP,

This is excellent
It seems to mirror questions we have and expressed in another thread we posted just prior. We must be on the same wavelength from similar observations of the reality of the world we see around us.
You however have laid it out in a better fashion than I did - kind of cutting directly to some of the central questions rather than letting them expose themselves through dialog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
[B][SIZE="4"]To me, in a situation where someone has or wants to cheat, there is someone in the relationship not giving it 100%. When I say that I mean that they are not telling the other how they feel, not looking after themselves and their own needs, becoming resentful for various reasons;
This statement just raises some concerns for me - not because of the 'theory' behind it - which is solid, but because of the many possible extenuating factors it can't address.
First is an assumed level of communication skills for all parties. Some might say that those skills can be learned (via counseling, self dedication etc) but in reality things often reach some critical mass prior to that. We'd wish otherwise but as they say - "if wishes were horses - beggars would ride".
Second, we have situations where the 'needs" (you know how I feel about that term ) of one simply can't be met by the other (physically, emotionally,intellectually etc) and this is a discovery that could only be made over time. There is a certain part of many of us who might struggle with presenting that to someone we loved. A fear of damaging their psyche or self worth. Certain areas are more subject to this than others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RP;
What can be done if one person is giving a relationship 100% and the other isn't? Some people talk of that on here and elsewhere that they were just not getting the response from their partner that they were hoping for and eventually were whittled down to feeling they needed to desperately go and find what they need elsewhere. What does one do with that... it seems reasonable to me to practice self preservation, but how does one do it while being respectful to their partner and to their own feelings of self worth and respect.
Yea- this seems to cut to the heart of why "cheating" surfaces so often...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RP
(Cheating) I think it is the single most distructive activity that is destroying family life and community life on many levels. It teaches our children that the needs of one are more important than the needs of many, it teaches others that a quick fix is the answer when it very rarely is when it comes to the complexities of relationships and it has made a society of untrust, loneliness, separation, desperation, depression, and sadness.
But a big question for me here has been MUST it be that way? Is that the ONLY lesson available ? Could the lesson not just as well be what we spend so much time here talking about - that we need to recognize the fact that the complexity & breadth of people's desires are unlikely to be met by any one other person and that there are productive, loving ways to deal with that ?

Which logically leads to the question of WHO is responsible for imparting that lesson ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RP
What can be done to take what we know about cheating and affairs and make it a useful tool so that people can be healed from it rather than hurt from it?
And so - here is indeed where we end up. WHAT - and WHO ?

Last edited by GroundedSpirit; 01-15-2010 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
First is an assumed level of communication skills for all parties. Some might say that those skills can be learned (via counseling, self dedication etc) but in reality things often reach some critical mass prior to that. We'd wish otherwise but as they say - "if wishes were horses - beggars would ride".
Ah yes, the "my wife/husband doesn't understand me" approach to getting laid.... heard that one before.

Quote:
Second, we have situations where the 'needs" (you know how I feel about that term ) of one simply can't be met by the other (physically, emotionally,intellectually etc) and this is a discovery that could only be made over time. There is a certain part of many of us who might struggle with presenting that to someone we loved. A fear of damaging their psyche or self worth. Certain areas are more subject to this than others.
OK, so if you don't feel that you have the courage to be honest with your spouse, that's fine. It's when the need to lie to them and cheat on their relationship with them trumps this that I have a major issue.

When someone says either of these two things and wants a relationship with me, I feel that the options are:
  1. Learn to communicate with your partner - get counselling if you have to. You obviously have some major needs that you are not getting addressed - work at your relationship.
  2. If there really is a "needs gap" then discuss it first, and agree that there is that gap there. If you aren't ready to do that, then in my opinion you aren't ready to have another relationship in additoina to that with your current partner.
  3. If neither of these work, either terminate the marriage or learn to live with the solemn promises that you made.
Yes, I'm sure this sounds harsh, and maybe conservative, but I have heard these things used as an excuse too many times to get laid. Promises made are too easily cast aside unilaterally without the knowledge of both parties in order to fulfill a personal need. Don't they mean anything any more?


Quote:
Could the lesson not just as well be what we spend so much time here talking about - that we need to recognize the fact that the complexity & breadth of people's desires are unlikely to be met by any one other person and that there are productive, loving ways to deal with that ?
Sure, but loving to whom? Not the spouse that is being cheated upon at all, who this person supposedly loves and honours and respects...

I have heard some highly creative justifications for why cheating should be allowed, respected, and even included into the definition of polyamory, but they just don't fly with me, I'm afraid. I do my best to aspire to be as honest as I can with the people that I care about - having anything with someone who is lying to their spouse would eat away at me.

If others want to do it, then that's their deal, but it's really not for me.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
Promises made are too easily cast aside unilaterally without the knowledge of both parties in order to fulfill a personal need. Don't they mean anything any more?

" who this person supposedly loves and honours and respects..."
I agree with this totally but maybe for different reasons. Promises ARE often made too easily, without necessary knowledge of the implications of that 'promise' over a longer term. That's another subject but have always been very guarded in making "promises" to anyone - especially if I had a feeling of not understanding the true long term implications or variability of them.

But here I think it's important also to keep in mind that we're really dealing with a very specific instance rather than a generalization of the concept of 'promises'. This is specifically to do with an institution of 'marriage' (or equivalent) where your quoted promise is inherited often with little analysis of all it's implications. Add into that the fact that many (not all) people making that 'promise' are drowning in what we call here 'NRE' and often operating without a true in-depth knowledge of the myriad factors inherent in the personality & beliefs of the person they are making this 'promise' to. So this is the environment so many relationships are launched from. It's the reality. As that changes (hopefully) the dynamics have the potential to change with it.
But for now..........we have what we have.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
I agree with this totally but maybe for different reasons. Promises ARE often made too easily, without necessary knowledge of the implications of that 'promise' over a longer term. That's another subject but have always been very guarded in making "promises" to anyone - especially if I had a feeling of not understanding the true long term implications or variability of them.
GS, I am very much like you in this regard - I am very very careful who I make explicit promises to. When I do, it has to mean something.

Quote:
This is specifically to do with an institution of 'marriage' (or equivalent) where your quoted promise is inherited often with little analysis of all it's implications.
Right, in marriage the so-called "solemn promises" have been devalued to the point of almost meaninglessness for some people. "Till death do us part" has come to mean "while it's convenient for me".

Quote:
Add into that the fact that many (not all) people making that 'promise' are drowning in what we call here 'NRE' and often operating without a true in-depth knowledge of the myriad factors inherent in the personality & beliefs of the person they are making this 'promise' to.
So effectively entering into a contract while they are not of sound mind. Sounds like a recipe for success for me... Hmm, maybe the system of marriage needs an overhaul - now there's a radical concept!

Quote:
So this is the environment so many relationships are launched from. It's the reality. As that changes (hopefully) the dynamics have the potential to change with it.
Yes, it's the reality, and I agree fully that it is. That doesn't make it right, though. It doesn't mean that the status quo has to be accepted. It doesn't mean that it has to be legitmised, either.

If I seem crabby about this, please forgive me - it's one of my pet peeves that we seem to be willing to turn a blind eye towards something that I think should be fundamental to humanity and isn't - trust.

OK, I want to add something to this - an afterthought - let's use an fictitious analogy. I need a new car - my old one is basically unsafe, so I need money. I don't have money. My job doesn't pay me enough, and I don't have the guts or the "open door" to discuss a raise with my superiors. So I lie on my timesheet and claim that I did a bunch of overtime that I didn't. Should the company turn a blind eye to this? Should I expect that people forgive me because my needs aren't being met and I can't talk to my boss? It seems to me that this is exactly the sort of thing that people who cheat on their spouses expect, and often get from society, and it (quite obviously!) doesn't sit right with me.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:33 PM
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Redpepper, it's obvious you put a lot of thought into your post. Thanks. I have a lot to say on the subject of cheating and I thank you for putting so much feeling into your writing.

In response to your questions:


Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I wonder if others subscribe to the point of view of a relationship works best if the partners all give evenly to the relationship 100% and what that means to them.
Yes, I do. I connect this concept with each individual taking responsibility for the path that they're traveling. As an individual, to me this means I open myself to experiences constantly in an effort to grow, to connect ideas with reality, to learn. As a partner in a relationship, this means I share my journey with someone else openly, and allow them to change my life. It means that I'm always making time to share my thoughts, feelings, and especially actions, experiences, time, body, etc. That's the fuzzy ideal.

The most important thing about the "maintain" in "How to have and maintain healthy relationships" for me is accepting that to share openly with someone in this way will reveal ugliness and inability to cope just as much as it will reveal orgasmic connection and growth together with a loved one. Giving 100% means the darkness and the light come just as strong.


Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
What can be done if one person is giving a relationship 100% and the other isn't?
It's going to happen. One will get distracted by something overwhelming and not have the tools to deal. Sometimes it takes awhile for an issue to get resolved. Sometimes I have to be satisfied to be patient and keep trying. If it lasts too long without progress, then it's time to reconsider whether the relationship can be healthy again.

What can be done? Oh, a number of things. And it gets really messy sometimes as one tries to pull the other back. Everything is weighted. Nothing is clear. Even when there is love and respect for the other, many times the issue is love and respect for self that is so hard to face.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
What can be done to take what we know about cheating and affairs and make it a useful tool so that people can be healed from it rather than hurt from it?
I've been a cheater. I've been cheated on. Of course it's terrible. Any lie is. I find it really interesting RP that you ask how it can be used as a tool to heal. I have experienced that in my life.

As a recovering cheater, I rarely chime in on the subject because I am frustrated by the dogmatic absolutes that people throw out about cheating. It's sort of like drug addiction. Of course it's terrible and harmful and no one should be a junkie, but it's a mistake to think it can't happen to you, to proceed as if you're immune. I've been a drug addict too. And my loved ones still value me, and I do my best to value myself.

For me, it has been vital to who I am to see myself in the mirror at these low points. Sometimes it takes a catalyst or two to spur tremendous growth. These times have acted as challenges in my life, and when I choose to act on my mistakes instead of condemning myself or ignoring them and burning bridges, they act as a benchmark for progress I have made as a person. They help me continue to move forward knowing what to avoid and how to love better. They give me compassion for others and a way to start a dialogue when someone else faces the same dangers.

It depends on so many factors what will happen when someone cheats. In my case, I confessed immediately and moved out of the house to re-evaluate myself because I knew I was spiraling out of control mentally and had been for awhile, - I needed to get my shit straight. Over a year later, that self-destructive move I made has been the catalyst that my husband and I have used to really commit to each other, love each other madly again, finally be honest with one another about so many things. I regret the pain I caused, but I know I am forgiven, and that took so much work. I don't regret the work.

My husband is the most amazing man I've ever known, it must be said.
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