|Posted on October 29, 2012 at 6:20 AM|
Hello all! Someone suggested to us the other day that we creat a "polyamory 101" cheatsheet. What a brilliant idea! Below are some helpful hints to keep in mind if you are planning to open up your relationship.
• Arm yourself with information. Join a group or community, read some books, or look on the internet. This will mean that people who have been there before you can help you avoid making common mistakes.
• Get out of the “scarcity” mindset. Living in a monogamous society means that we tend to think of love as a finite thing. There is a fear that if someone gives their love away, there will be less left for you. Try to shift to the “abundance” mindset. If you are feeling worried or scared, ask yourself – how would I treat this situation if I knew, 100%, that there was always enough love in the world for me?
• Don’t just treat your partner how you would like to be treated – treat them how they would like to be treated. Imagine buying your spouse tickets to a rock concert because you like rock music, or a pot plant because you like gardening. Ask your partner what is important to them, and then strive to provide them with it, even if it is something you wouldn’t necessarily want/need.
• Don’t insist on everything being equal. Some couples function perfectly well with one partner being monogamous and the other partner having several relationships. Or one partner might have very casual relationships, while the other might have very committed relationship. Do what works for you, not what you think should work.
• Remember, you may have infinite love, but you don’t have infinite time. It’s great being able to see other people, but a garden doesn’t flourish if you don’t tend to it regularly, and neither will your relationship. Make sure you regularly put aside time to spend alone with each of your partners.
• Be aware of NRE (new relationship energy). When you enter into a new relationship, physical changes take place in the brain that mean you are unable to think rationally. These changes can last anywhere from 6-12 months. Put some safeguards in place to make sure you don’t neglect your other partners during this time. If you partner is the one experiencing NRE, try to be extra compassionate – they aren’t thinking clearly.
• Create a relationship agreement of some kind. Even if you do nothing more than write two sentences on a piece of paper, stick them in a drawer somewhere and never look at them again, I guarantee the resulting discussion will be one the most productive and informative you have ever had.
• Be prepared to see a professional. You wouldn’t buy a new car and then never have it serviced. Having an open relationship is like trading in the old car and building a new one from scratch with no instructions. It’s ok to need help with it.