Welcome to the Living Revolution 🙂
In a recent conversation with one of my lovers, we shared our stories about when we realized “traditional” relationships were not going to be how we interacted with the world around us. I try to have this conversation with anyone I know who participates in non-monogamous, open, or poly relationships; we all have different paths and I love to hear how people become who they are now. She told me about how, when she was in high school, “opening up” used to be her way of distancing herself from an already-imploding relationship. She used multiple relationships as a defense mechanism against boredom, or to avoid addressing issues in her romantic relationships. Eventually, she recognized the unhealthy pattern she was mired in and stopped. She also learned how to effectively communicate with her lovers/partners, and found a moral, ethical way to engage in multiple sexual, romantic relationships, and continues to enjoy her lifestyle choice.
I told her I wasn’t sure I remembered the exact moment. Go figure. I didn’t really have a story so instead, I explained how many of the behaviors and personal characteristics that make people successful at multiple relationships, also simply contribute to that person being a pretty awesome human. (I know there are exceptions, and I know there are stereotypes, but generally, people who put in the effort required to be successful in this kind of lifestyle, tend to put that much effort in to other parts of there life as well, and people who put extra effort in to how they live their lives, tend to be better people.) Behaviors including honesty, compassion, compersion, generosity, and humility generally make people good at non-monogamy, and make people more pleasant, and generally, more pleasant people are better people. I explained how I had always made an effort to be a “good person” in my relationships , but it wasn’t until I met the sweetest love of my life that I really learned what it meant to apply these ideas to a romantic relationship.
In the beginning stages of our “opening up”, we were unconventional NOOBS. We experimented. A LOT. Perhaps we were foolish, perhaps we were naïve, perhaps we were ignorant. Nevermind, no “perhaps”.
We also learned about each other in a myriad of ways most people can’t even conceptualize.
We sacrificed for each other, we compromised, we held our breath and closed our eyes, and jumped off more than a few metaphorical “edges”. We learned that it was interesting to push the envelope, but it wasn’t always necessary. We learned how to REALLY talk to each other, and we learned how to communicate without saying a word. Needless to say, the experience of opening our relationship has contributed exponentially to the incredible relationship we share today.
A large part of enjoying multiple relationships is understanding and participating in SHARING. There are obvious scenarios and situations in which sharing is overt, and the object, person, or emotion being shared are unmistakable. A 3-some is the first thing that pops into my head: I’m sure you have your own examples :). There are other scenarios in which both partners must work hard to elucidate what is being shared. Sometimes this process of uncovering layers to reveal what you are both experiencing can be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary process in learning how to share.
Most often when we think of sharing, we think of something positive, but we also share in all kinds of negative experiences, which means we must also learn how to empathize and how to commiserate with our partner. Beyond the share that goes on between you and your partner, you also learn how to be comfortable and happy with sharing your partner with other friends, lovers and partners. Typically, this is the point where traditional relationships often experience problems, but I am here to tell you that isn’t the road you need to take! Hallelujah, thank ya sweet baby Geebus!!
Try this instead. Think of the highest good you want for your partner. Do you want them to be happy? Do you want them to pursue their dreams, to chase their goals, to actualize the life they desire? How can you best facilitate these pursuits? Once you answer these (and a few other) questions, you are well on your way to learning how to share. By practicing compersion , and feeling what it feels like to be happy for your partners happiness, you get to make their positive experience part of your positive experience. Trust and believe this requires focus and intent, and it will require you to unpack some of your own insecurities, and it might make you realize that IT ISN’T ALL ABOUT YOU, and then you might get over yourself, and remember how blessed you are, and let go of petty jealousy and really feel what it feels like to enjoy sharing. I’m not promising anything, but just maybe. You might learn something new about your partners needs, wants and desires, and you might find out you aren’t able to participate in fulfilling that need, and you might then realize THATS OKAY. Giving up some of the responsibility for meeting your partners EVERY NEED is a very liberating endeavor, and when you let go of worrying about constantly pleasing your partner, you can redirect that energy toward loving them for the complex, fascinating creature they are. All this and more can come from the conscious recognition of learning how to share.
There’s my two cents for today. It has been forever since I’ve written anything, and that feels like a good place to get back to this work. If you have thoughts on what I’ve written, please contact me and let’s start a conversation! Thanks for reading and thanks for participating in the Living Revolution :). Until next time…