Well hello, my lovely readers! It has been a while, hasn’t it? Sincere apologies for the lack of posting – since I moved out of my student house nearly a month ago, it’s been none-stop for me. There was the Nomad-in-hospital incident, then I moved into my temporary flat, started my new job, and have been settling in and getting used to living in Oxford. Suffice to say, I absolutely love it here! Wherever else I may live in my life, I think my heart will always belong in the City of Dreaming Spires. Among all the good things about living here, though, the absolute best is that (for the first time ever since I’ve been poly!) I live in the same town as everybody I’m currently involved with! My beloved Nomad is only a couple of miles away, and I can finally see my sweeties S&A more frequently! Hooray!
I am also pleased to announce the beginning of the Love is Infinite Book Club! (Term used loosely.) Basically, for now and however long I feel like it (or until I run out of material, or something) I will announce my poly-book-of-the-month near the start of the month, read it during the month, and review it towards the end. If anyone feels like reading the same book so you can chip in and discuss it on the review post, that’d be amazing!
This month’s book is: Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits, by Deborah Anapol.
Anyway, without further ado, onto today’s post! It’s a light-hearted one to get me back into blogging regularly, but I’ve got several more in-depth ones (plus a couple of ranty ones) coming up!
I was listening to a back-episode of Poly Weekly on my way to work this morning, in which Minx challenged listeners to come up with 10 Poly Do’s – that is, ten positive poly tips of the “do this!” variety, as opposed to the “don’t do this!” variety. So I thought I’d give it a go….
Talk to your metamours.
My absolute biggest mistake, early on in being poly, was being afraid of my metamours. (Hey Chesh, remember when I was scared to talk to you because I thought you’d hate me for sleeping with your partner? :-p) Seriously, they’re just people, they’re likely to be equally nervous about talking to you (unless they’ve been doing this thing forever, and sometimes even then,) and direct communication is the best way to clear up any misunderstandings that can so easily ensue when even the best-intentioned middle-person (usually the shared partner) relays something slightly wrong.
Learn to be friends with your exs.
This one comes with a massive caveat: Within Reason. Heck, I certainly haven’t mastered this yet, but that’s because I’m really, really good at choosing horribly abusive partners who mistreat me terribly until the relationship explodes in a fireball of drama. No, I will not attempt or even pretend to be friends with the man who raped me. But y’know what? If they didn’t do anything particularly bad to you, if things just ended because you weren’t compatible or something changed between you, you are not obligated to hate your exs! That is a damaging myth of mono-culture! The poly community is small. If everyone hated everyone they’d ever slept with but were no longer sleeping with, no-one would be speaking to each other any more.
Always, always practice safer sex.
This includes communicating with your partners about what each of your definitions of safer sex are, and where the lines of acceptable risk begin and end. It includes making agreements and sticking to them. It includes being tested regularly, and being honest about your STI status and your practices (which may include numbers of partners, and what activities you do and don’t engage in) with your partners, lovers and metamours.
Know what you want….
What do you want, from polyamory, from life in general, or from a particular relationship? Think about this. Visualise it. Be honest with yourself. And try to communicate it to your partner(s.)
…But let things happen the way they want to.
This may seem like a contradiction, but it really isn’t. Knowing what you want and need is hugely important, but trying to force things to be something they’re not is a recipe for disaster. I firmly believe that, if allowed to, each relationship will fall into what it is naturally meant to be. Let it. Many a perfectly good relationship has been destroyed by the participants trying to force it into a level of seriousness it wasn’t ready for, or wasn’t meant to be. Many a heart has been broken because people who were in love were determined to ‘keep things casual.’ Remember, one of the beauties of poly is that not all relationships have to be all things.
Follow your intuition.
Intuition is a powerful tool. If something feels a certain way, listen to your gut and try to work out what’s going on and the best way to respond. Once Nomad and I begun to get to know each other, I knew somewhere deep down (though I didn’t recognise it at the time) that this was someone who was going to change my life. When I was with No Good Very Bad Ex (short-term one, this time, not long-term one) I knew something wasn’t right, I just didn’t want to admit to it until the Universe smacked me in the head with a clue-by-four. It’s not an exact science, of course, but in my experience intuition is very often spot on.
Honesty is the best policy. No exceptions.
Yes. No exceptions. Feel like something is wrong? Be honest. Not getting a need met? Be honest. Like someone new? Be honest. Hurt by something? Really, ecstatically happy?…..You see where I’m going with this. Seriously, total honesty is the starting point of good communication, and you’ll never get anywhere without good communication.
Good self-knowledge is really important to any relationship, and even more important when multiple people are involved. Get to know your needs, your desires, the way you respond to things, and how your mind and emotions work. Accept that these CAN and WILL change over time. Learn that self-knowledge is a process, not a destination… and probably one that will be ongoing your entire life.
Forgive: Yourself and Others
Mistakes will inevitably be made. No matter how sorted you are, how well you communicate, and how long you’ve been doing this – sooner or later, you are going to do something which will hurt someone, and someone will do something which will hurt you. Assuming the intention wasn’t malicious, talking about it, resolving it and moving on is really important to maintaining healthy relationships. You’re human. So are your partners. No-one is perfect. Remember that.
Be Excellent To Each Other.
That includes to yourself!
What do you guys think? What are your Top Tips for a happy poly life?