Polyamorous Relationship FAQ: What do I do with the fear that I am doing something wrong?
Laurie Ellington, Poly-Coach, Offers Coaching Tips for Open Relationships, Polyamorous Relationships, Poly Dating, and Ethical Non-Monogamy.
This question was presented to me the other day when I was meeting with a client. He was very excited about the prospect of being polyamorous. For him it wasn’t so much about the sex, as it was about the ability to connect with other women emotionally, get to know them more personally, and have that be okay. He is in an open relationship, an open marriage. His wife is totally on board, and supportive of this desire in him.
His perceived struggle is that because he is married, he “thinks” no woman will want to get to know him. He fears that if he shares his marital status with a potential interest, he will be judged by that person, and feel like what he is doing is wrong. He feels stuck, hesitant, somewhat fearful, and questioning how to be a polyamorous man, in a not so polyamorous world.
I asked him to go a little deeper, and when he did this is what he discovered: “I fear that what I am doing is wrong, and underneath that is a fear that I am wrong.”
There is always a moment during a coaching session when something appears that just begs to be seen and heard, and allowed to be okay. This was one of those moments.
From here, the session went into a deep dive into my client’s personal programing and cultural upbringing around relationship. He’s in an arranged marriage. He loves his wife. She has been his only lover, and she has been his only lover. He knows there is a part of him that wants to be seen, heard, expressed, and connect with other women, and yet he has been shutting that part of himself off because his mind, his programming, his stories, tell him that what he is doing is wrong.
Can you relate? The content of his story may be different, but I think those of us who are actively engaged in the open relationship and polyamorous lifestyle, can identify with this gentleman’s story. It can be challenging to be polyamorous. It can be challenging to be open with who you (we) are in the world. It can be challenging to meet people who will be accepting of who you are, regardless of your relationship status and preferences, and regardless of their stories about your relationship and lifestyle choices.
So what do you do?
For me, and this is what I share with my clients, I find it incredibly helpful to be increase my level of awareness and mindfulness around my own programming, my own stories about who I am and who I’m “supposed” to be, what my thoughts are telling me, and what feelings and beliefs bubble up as a result of those thoughts. This is incredibly difficult to do at times, especially when triggered. When I am triggered, it’s hard for me to slow down, get present, and dissect what is happening in order to get to the truth. When I feel a block or a fear, it’s hard for me to get around it, to push through it, or to toss it aside. When I feel judged, or have a fear that I am going to be judged, it’s hard to rise about that fear and recognize that who I am is okay, and that even though my choices and preferences around life, relationship, etc. may be different from someone else’s, it does not mean that one is better than the other, that one is right and the other is wrong. They both can and do exist. So let’s support the notion of accepting that, and give space for things to co-exist, even in their differences.
What does this look like?
Let’s go back to the conversation I had with my client. He was stuck and found himself feeling silly that he was feeling the way that he was feeling. Wondering how he could feel so hesitant, when deep down he knows he is an incredibly open person, talkative, social, confident, etc.
I shared with him that when a button gets triggered in me (and believe me it gets triggered in many different areas of my life, not just with with my polyamorous and open relationship lifestyle), it is incredibly important, and insightful to stop what I am doing, to actively pause all activity, take note, and get curious. Something like, “I’m aware that I feel some tension in my stomach. I wonder what that is?” Or, “I’m aware that I’m feeling nervous about going to this social event tonight. I think it’s because I am feeling some fear around what I will say/do if I meet someone I am attracted to and he/she finds out I am poly….”
Can you see how the story begins to spin? And in that spinning we can get lost, tied up, bound, and trapped? And then we feel stuck? I hate when this happens to me; and it happens, and it’s okay. It’s part of being human.
In sharing my experience with my client, he was able to connect the dots in his own experiences. He was able to get in touch with certain thoughts, feelings and reactions to certain situations. In doing so he was able to create a new plan of action, that would allow him to feel his feelings, to consider his thoughts, and do so without feeling overpowered by them.
Leaving the session, he had more understanding about how his past programming had influenced his life. He was ready to shift that programming, and now he had specific activities to support him in doing so. It was great.
I’m curious, what do you do in the face of a fear, a block, or a story that wants to take you down? I’d love to hear your story.
For more information about open relationship coaching and polyamory coaching services, and to schedule a Free Exploratory Poly-Coach Session, contact Laurie Ellington, Poly-Coach, today.
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