Daily Archives: November 12, 2007

Back to Basics

In any physical art you study, be it dance, martial arts, swimming, or team sport, one day, you’ll go to class or practice and the coach/teacher will announce with an evil gleam to the eyes, “We’re drilling the basics today.”

The beginners won’t react much. They’re still learning, after all, and any basics drill is going to be covering new material.

The intermediates will groan, restrain from showing any eye rolling, and be frustrated. They know this stuff!

The really advanced? They’ll be nodding their heads internally. Yep, yep, yep, it’s about time for another good basics drill, they’ll be thinkin’.

With that in mind, we’ll be looking at the basics of polyamory today.

  1. It’s about love. Polyamory is a Greco-Latin abomination of a construction that means “Many Loves”. If you’re not coming from a place of love, you need to go back and find that first. It’s the most important thing. No, really. I’m serious. If it ain’t about love, it ain’t worth bothering with. Make sure what you’re doing is really love, first.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. This is often called the Polyamory Mantra and it’s called that for a reason. If you do not let your loves know what’s going on in your head, and paying careful attention to what is going on in theirs, you’re asking for trouble. Do remember that communication is a two-way street. Stephen Covey of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” fame says, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” This is fantastic relationship advice, not only for romantic relationships, but for any human interactions. Humans need 1 to feel understood. Communicate. It’s like taking food from someone’s mouth not to do so.
  3. Polyamory won’t solve your relationship problems. I once commented Polyamory will mercilessly expose any cracks you have in your relationship. I stand by that more firmly than ever. If you’re bored with your partner, the two (or more) of you aren’t getting along, if you’re losing that spark? Please, please, please don’t be one of those “Relationship’s broken, add more people” types! It doesn’t work, it won’t help and it’ll wreak havoc on all involved. Solve your internal problems first, then decide if you want to branch out or not. But make for damn’ sure your original relationships are solid. 2
  4. It’s about love. Love. It’s about love –not the slippery bits stuff (delightful, though that is!) Wasn’t kidding when I said it was about coming from a place of love.
  5. Know Thyself. If you don’t know yourself, you can’t know some crucial things that permit you to be able to be loving and have a good relationship. Do you know what your boundaries are? If you don’t, you sure as heck cannot communicate them! Do you know what you want? I mean do you know what you really want? Can’t ask for it until you know. Make sure you know!
  6. Know Thy Partner. You’d be hard put to come up with a more loving act than to take the time and energy to get to know someone down into their bones in a way that does not frighten them or barge into their vulnerabilities. It’s a courting process that’s actually far more difficult than getting someone into bed. It’s also a process that takes years. Yeah, yeah, I know you feel that wonderful connection when you fall in love. Feels great. That’s not what I’m talking about. This takes years. Puttin’ in those years is a fantastic act of love. (Opening up and helping the other person really know you is also such an act. Courageous, too, ’cause that’s vulnerable as all hell!)
  7. It’s about love. I keep reiterating this and I hope I’m not too boring. Thing is, when I’m talking about love, I’m not talking about some pansy-assed, fluffybunny nonsense about “feeling positively” towards someone. I mean the real thing, from the blood and from the bone. I mean the force that gets you up in the middle of the night to attend to a sick kid. I mean the force that gives you the courage to be vulnerable. I mean the force that gives you the energy to focus all your attention on someone so that you can “know” them — and yeah, I do mean Biblically. There’s a reason that expression exists <grin>.

In fact, I challenge my readers, experienced polys or not, to come up with what they think are a good set of “polyamory basics” — things to think about that you can go back to on a routine basis as a checkup to see how you’re doing in your relationships.

Until next week, behave yourselves, my poly chillun.

Mama Java, out…

1Many of my faithful readers will note I seldom use the word “need” when talking about anything other than physical things that keep you from dying. Guess what? A human that does not feel understood at all by at least one other person is a suicide waiting to happen.
2Barring that, have the balls to end and clean up the detritus from the old relationship before starting new ones if you think the old one is broken beyond repair. Suck it up and own your own shit, first!