I’m always amazed at what transpires during a polyamorous relationship coaching session. As a third party, I have the advantage of being able to notice what many Poly-Coach clients do not see. I thought it might be interesting to share a list of a few notes taken from a recent session with a polyamorous coaching client. As you read them, consider how they might apply to your relationship.
Say what you mean and mean what you say:
Communication is essential in polyamory. When we take the time to check in and ask ourselves what we really want to say, before we say it, we create the possibility for a new outcome.
Ask a direct question, get a direct answer:
Plain and simple. If you want to know something, ask. Rather than assume it is the way you “think” it is, ask. Clear begets clear.
The more we share, the more we will be seen:
When we share our experience in with another person, we allow ourselves to be seen. The more people see of us, the easier it is for everyone to relate.
Consider how much of our experience (polyamorous or otherwise) is based on emotion:
This is a big one. As humans, we are loaded with emotion. Those emotions fuel our experience. As we begin to take note of our emotions, we see how they influence our reality. When we see how emotions influence our reality, we are positioned to create shifts in our behavior and in our experience.
Validation does not mean agreement:
Validation is so important. I think we often shy away from validating someone’s experience because we think that if we validate them, we have to agree with them. This is not true.
Be curious with your questions:
Asking questions from a place of curiosity opens the door for information to be shared based on desire, rather than based on someone’s need to know. Often we ask questions from a place of neediness. We need to know so that we can feel… (secure, safe, understood, etc) in our polyamorous relationship. Try asking from a place of curiosity, without attachment to the outcome. Something like, “I’m curious, what do you mean when you said ….?”
New actions create new experiences:
Try it. If you do something differently, you will get a new outcome. The trick is to act from a place that is in alignment with your values.
Many times we shy away from telling a person how their behavior affects us because we are scared how they will react. And so that person continues the same behavior, perhaps thinking it’s okay. It’s important for us to share impact with others. If a person does not know how their actions impact us, how will they know how to change? Do yourself and them a favor and tell them.
When we choose not to speak, we choose to let others speak for us:
In a sense, when we withhold our voice, we withhold our say in the outcome. In other words, we surrender our power. This may lead us to believe that others are controlling us; however, it is our silence that is really controlling us and the outcome.
We need to trust ourselves to say what needs to be said, speaking from the moment, not from the story:
Many times we lose touch with the present moment when we are triggered. The trigger propels us into the past or into the future. When that happens, we often forget where were are (in the present) and we communicate from a past or future story. We need to practice noticing the trigger, seeing where the trigger takes us, and speak presently.
Our fear of not speaking what we want keeps us from getting what we truly desire:
We are so programmed to not speak our desires. This sets us up for anger and resentment. I get it. It’s hard to put our desires out there. And, the more we do, the more we see how they can be met. Polyamory really asks that we speak our desires and that we support others in doing the same.
Our attachment to knowing how things will play out in the future stops us from being in the present:
Things can only change when we are living in the present moment. We often jump out of the present because we are trying to control the outcome of something in the future. We do that as a means of protection. Nothing wrong with that; however, there is another option. When considering a polyamorous relationship, or a situation in a polyamorous relationship, we often jump to conclusions first, rather than putting something out there and seeing where it will go. I always encourage my poly-coach clients to question their attachments. When we have a clear idea of the underlying need, then we can address the need and go from there.
Don’t let inaction be the action:
So often we get stuck and we lose touch with what to do next. When this happens, breathe. It’s okay. Breathe yourself back into your body and ask yourself, “what’s the next best action for me to take now?” Do that action.
Expressing a desire does not necessarily mean anyone needs to act on it:
Again, we fear that if we state a desire, then something must happen. Not true. It can, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. When we give voice to our desires without attaching an outcome, we experience more freedom of expression.
We need to give ourselves permission to be ourselves:
The polyamorous relationship lifestyle offers plenty of opportunities for us to express ourselves in new and exciting ways. It’s important to embrace that in ways that celebrate ourselves and others. When we show up and allow ourselves to be who we are, and support others in doing the same, we give ourselves and others opportunity to be more real and to love an appreciate who we are in our purest form.
Be gentle and stay present:
We need to continuously ask ourselves: “Where am I now, and how can I be in the now?
Structure gives us a sense of safety and security, and sometimes that very structure can create a situation where we feel trapped:
There is a notion that monogamous relationships offer more structure than polyamorous relationships. This may be true for some, and not for others. A structure can provide stability. Some people really need that. Others find they are limited in structure and they want freedom. It’s important to consider your relationship to structure, and how to share your experience with others, so all parties are agreement with how to structure the relationship (monogamous, polyamorous, etc).
A special note:
Although the above insights came from a polyamorous relationship coaching session, they are applicable to anyone, in any kind relationship (monogamous, polyamorous, open, etc). Which leads me to say that even though the majority of my clients practice some form or polyamory or ethical non-monogamy, a person does not have to be in a polyamorous relationship to work with me.