« on: April 04, 2012, 09:12:09 AM »
I felt that this was very important and kept a copy of it for myself. I'm sorry, I don't remember the sources, as I'm sure the following is from several people/responses and possibly even forums.
Poly lifestyles add a layer of complexity to the already intricate duty of maintaining an intimate relationship. Just like building a good monogamous relationship does not occur over night or by accident, neither does building a good poly relationship. However, poly relationships add a few challenges of its own, which deals with the poly mindset. A must in any relationship, whether monogamous or polyamorous, is relationship and interpersonal skills. Here are a few dos and don'ts for poly relationships:
1. Don't force your relationships into predetermined or predefined forms, roles, or shapes. Let relationships run their natural course. This sometimes occurs when a couple tries to bring someone in to their previously established relationship. They may try to make this new person fit into their pre-established arrangement. Remember each person is different, and we cannot force another person to fit into our box. Respect each person and who they are, and value what they have to add to this relationship. Each person needs a voice in the relationship. Each person needs to be heard and counted. Furthermore, we cannot expect for a new person to be in an equal relationship with each person of the original couple.
2. Do understand that your needs have nothing to do with your partner's other partner. Sometimes in poly relationships we want to blame the other partner for our needs not being met by our shared partner. We may say, "If it were not for her or him being in your life, then you would pay more attention to me." Do not ask, "Am I getting what she or he is getting?" Each person in a poly relationship is an individual and has individual needs. Instead, ask, "Am I getting what I need?"
3. Do not keep tabs or score. This is not a fairness game where we keep tallies. Do not say, "Well, you spent an hour with her, but you only gave me 30 minutes. That's not fair!" Fairness works according to need. Don't keep track, or watch the clock. This is way too stressful. Sometimes, our metamour may be going through a crisis, facing a problem, or may need more support and attention at that time. We need to be sensitive to this as long as this support is available to each of us when each needs it.
4. Do ask for what you need. Do not assume that your partners or their metamours can read your mind, or that they know you well enough to know what you need. Assumptions are risky. Even though what you need may seem obvious to you, it may not be to your partners or metamours. When you feel like your needs are not being met, talk to your partners, and do not wait for them to discover it on their own.
5. Don't table a problem or let it stew or sit for too long. When someone hurts you whether intentional or not, do not let it ride or sit. Confrontation can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary in any relationship. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! Even if the problem is small, do not let it slide or sit. Small problems will eventually turn into a bunch of small problems which makes one BIG issue. Conquer a problem whether big or small as soon as it arrives. Have you ever heard of the statement, "Do not make a mountain out of a molehill." Well, this is exactly what humans do regularly. Handle molehills before they become mountains.
6. Don't assume that poly will solve problems in your already existing problem relationship. Just like some monogamous couples assume having a baby will help save their damaged marriage, some monogamous couples assume adding another partner will also help their relationship. This is a false assumption. Adding anyone else into a hurting relationship only causes more problems. It is also unfair to the new person to bring them into a hurting and damaged relationship. It makes them a pawn. Usually, this new person ends up getting blamed for the problems or for making them worse.
7. Do pay attention to the condition of your boyfriend's or girlfriend's current relationship with his/her current partner. If it is rocky, do not enter the relationship. You do not want to become the person who later is expendable or blamed to be at fault.
8. Don't gang up on another person or take sides. This is destructive.
9. Do become flexible. A person can only be in one place at a time. Remember this and be sensitive to this. Do not expect him/her to be superman/woman.
10. Don't blame poly for all your problems or do not assume that poly is the root of all your problems. Do not say, "If it were not for poly...." People who are experiencing problems in poly relationships tend to point out that because their relationship does not follow the norm that this is the reason that they are having issues. However, even monogamous relationships have these same issues. Many times, monogamous couples have issues finding time to be intimate with one another due to children, jobs, or other interference, but they cannot blame poly because they are monogamous. Poly individuals tend to want to blame poly if their needs are not being met or there is an issue, but really what they need to see is it is not poly that is causing the problem, but the individual circumstance or the lack of communication of needs. Jealousy even occurs in monogamous relationships. Sometimes, the problem is from societal oppression against poly. The problem is not poly though: it is anti-poly.
11. Do pay attention to the way you relate with your metamours. Your relationship with your metamour is vital. Remember if you hurt him/her, you also hurt your partner. Pay attention, acknowledge, care, be conscious of, and try to grow at least a friendship with him/her.
12. Do not make assumptions about your metamours or even your partner for that matter. Remember every individual is different, and each relationship will grow at different paces.
13. Don't assume that being poly makes you better or more mature than others. Do not assume this of monogamy either. Your lifestyle does not make you better than anyone else. We are all equals regardless of the lifestyle choice we live.
14. Do take responsibility for your actions. Be responsible. Remember Newton's law, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." There are consequences for your actions. Before you act, consider the effect of your actions on your partner, metamour, and any children involved, and then, be ready to accept the consequences for your actions once you do act.
15. Don't dehumanize or vilify your metamours. Remember, your metamour is not a demon, slave, or the enemy. They are a human being like you with feelings, flaws, and quirks. Do not turn them into the enemy or a monster. This only leads to hostility, anger, division, and alienation.
16. Don't place your metamour or partner on a pedestal either and give high expectations for them that they may or may not be able to meet. Just like they are not a demon, they are not an angel or a saint either. They are HUMAN BEINGS just like you. Do not believe that they are better than you, and thus, think that they deserve better than you. Do not imagine that they are more attractive than you, better in bed than you, more intelligent than you, funnier, or a better human being than you. Do not believe they are worth more than you. You are equals! Do not devalue your self. Just like tearing them down will not make anyone happier, tearing yourself down will not make anyone happier either. This only leads to jealousy, resentment, and bitterness. Work towards self security.
17. Do treat your partners and metamours with respect.
18. Do not look to your relationships to define or validate your sense of self worth. If you look to your relationships to define your sense of self worth, then your self worth will always be tied up in the type of relationship you hold with others. This is dangerous. You worth depends on you. You are an individual with an identity that exists outside of your relationships. Your relationship does not describe your worth or value in this life. You need to value yourself first before entering any relationship because there is a major difference between a person who WANTS to be in a relationship and a person who NEEDS to be in a relationship. If you value yourself, then this self value frees you from dependence on others.
19. Do not sacrifice your own happiness for your partners, metamours, or children. A poly relationship should serve the needs of everyone involved. If your partners and metamours care for you, he /she will not want you to sacrifice your own personal happiness for his/hers. He/she will not be happy if you are miserable. Sacrificing yourself for the expense of the other will lead to a co-dependent relationship. This is destructive.
20. Do accept change and don't fear it. Remember that relationships change just as individuals change. No relationship will stay the same forever especially if it is healthy it will grow and mature.
21. Do know yourself. Know what boundaries exist for you. Know what you need, and know what will make you happy. Know what you have to offer others also. In knowing yourself, others can also know you. Remember, you deserve to be happy and loved.