PolyLiving- Discussing Polyamory and the Poly Life
Poly Lifestyle => The Poly Mind and Life => Topic started by: Administrator on June 26, 2012, 10:40:56 PM
Over 12 years ago, I wrote about the poly mindset, but that original posting about the poly mindset was limited to polygamy and polygyny because my prior experience and knowledge were indeed limited to these two forms at that time.
Nonetheless, a poly mindset is necessary for anyone who lives any form of poly. Without a poly mindset, many issues will arise within our poly relationships due to a monogamous mindset. When a person in a poly relationship maintains a mono mindset, many emotional and other issues arise and may even cause the downfall or degeneration of all or some of the relationships. When a person holds a mono mindset within a poly relationship, this person thinks and cares only about their own individual relationship with their partner. Many times, this mono mindset works to benefit one's self at the expense of others within the relationship or also in a relationship with one's partner. Some would call this mono mindset selfish, but I like to think of it as a habit. Many times, a person with a mono mindset tries to guilt manipulate their partner to only focus on them rather than their other partners.
When we practice a poly mindset, we constantly remember that our metamours have other metamours, who they also love, outside of us. We do not try to force our metamours to only and fully focus on us. We free them to love others. When we practice a poly mindset, we think and care about our metamour and all of their metamours, and we do work to only benefit ourselves. Because we love our metamours, we care about all of their relationships. We want them to be happy, so we do not work against them in their other relationships.
Any thoughts, questions, ideas, or input about this subject?
You know I have recently moved away from the idea of a 'mindset' because I feel it is a little amorphous and not so easy to break apart and examine. Instead I actually think each mindset is simply a set of behaviours, that we can analyse in isolation and by using certain skills we can break those habits and retrain our minds into habits more useful for Poly relationships....
For example If Candy and Ken live together for four years, Kay moves in and Candy is finding the transition stressful, she sometimes gets angry, jealous and mopes about pouting. Ken is blissfully unaware. Finally Candy snaps saying 'I hate this/her/you - this and that and that happened and you do not care and I miss just us and you are not spending enough time with me and our life is terrible now and....etc etc etc'
I think it is too easy to accuse her of having a mono mindset because that is what she focused on when she snapped, but her actual problem was caused by her dysfunctional communication method which was to sulk and expect someone to coax her issues out of her.
Communication in a Poly relationship is so integral to its health that many of the things we associate with having a mono mindset would probably disappear.
I agree Natja that not every issue is a mono mindset issue and that some issues are either based upon the lack of communication or even the lack of the proper type of communication. However, I also feel that especially in a new poly relationship, when people have not been poly before or at least one person in the poly relationship has not been poly before, that these people tend to enter with a mono mindset. Some have a mono mindset intentionally trying to purposefully destroy their metaphor's pre-existing relationships with others in order to have their metamour to them self, while others have a mono mindset unintentionally due to habit...it's all they really know.
However, I also feel that especially in a new poly relationship, when people have not been poly before or at least one person in the poly relationship has not been poly before, that these people tend to enter with a mono mindset.
You know what I read the other day that really appealed to me, someone wrote that seeking a triad is like trying to enter Poly school at Advanced level without taking beginners and intermediate classes and to me that is 100% correct.
My partners took the first two classes and IMHO it is the main reason we have succeeded in this fairly complex form of Polyamory with our dynamic intact.
I was pretty clueless about the practical, my partners experience (and my own inherent stubbornness) carried me through, reading and talking does not replace practical experience and the idea of so many new people entering this 'Be all and end all' form of Poly seems a bit insane to be honest.
I agree that no amount of reading, learning or talking can EVER replace experience. Before I started our poly relationship, I logically accepted it and logically felt I could be poly. Once I became poly, however, I had to learn to accept it emotionally. I had to put my logic into action, and it was extremely difficult especially since we had a lot of outside interference. Experiencing a poly relationship was more difficult than what I imagined emotionally. I've also learned that even though we can be successful with one form of poly does not mean we can be successful with another form.
To me, there is no be all end all form of poly. I also know what works for me, might not work for someone else. This much I do know though, in order for any form of poly to work, oneindividual cannot be set on having a monogamous only relationship with any one of the metamours.
As you both have said, no amount of "prepping" can actually take the place of the actual experience. I knew from an early age that I was wired differently. So call me surprised the first time I felt jealousy in our polygamous relationship. You can also call me surprised when I realized I was more comfortable with a V than a true triad--that REALLY surprised me, and it was for reasons other than the obvious.
Until you experience it, you just don't know for sure how you will act, how you will feel, and for that matter, how everyone else is going to feel. It is a process of give and take, conversations and adjustments. And it is a process that should continue throughout the relationship--no different than successful monogamous relationships. Each relationship needs to be fostered and developed so that at the very least, a level of repect is earned and reciprocated.
Well said DeeDee.