I often have conversations with clients about competition in polyamorous relationships. The notion of “I have to do [insert activity] because that’s what my partner is doing.” They believe things have to be equal all of the time. Any sense of imbalance means something is wrong, right?
When this situation comes up, it’s best to immediately talk about what’s going on and create a healthy way to address it.
Here are some tips on how to deal with competition in poly relationships:
Drop anchor, get centered, and ground yourself to what is happening in the here and now. Take ten deep breaths. With each inhalation and exhalation, allow the sensations in your body to come alive. Be curious. Listen to what your body is saying, “my skin is warm, my chest feels tight, my jaw aches.” Be a silent witness to your experience, and BREATHE. Allow your body to settle. See what feelings you can identify. See what thoughts and stories are brewing. Just witness. Let go of attachment to meaning. Let go of any judgment. Get present, listen, and watch.
If you are with someone when these feelings come up. Reach out to them. Invite a loving presence to hold space for you as you move through this energy. Make a request: “I’m wondering if you’d be willing to sit with me for a few minutes. I’m experiencing [sensation, feeling, emotion], and I’d love to work through it while staying in connection with you. Would you be willing to sit with me? Wait for their response. Breathe. You’ve taken a very powerful step in asking for support. Stay with yourself as you wait for a response. Put your hand on your heart to help you stay present. More often than not, when you address someone in this way, the person you are with will welcome spending some time with you. And if they are unable to, there’s probably is a good reason, and they will tell you. Stay present.
Sit face to face. Make eye contact. Breathe. Allow yourself and the person you are with to feel the energetic quality of the connection. This is, in and of itself, is an amazing practice, and can allow great healing to occur. The act of seeing and being seen is very powerful. You may want to physically connect with someone. You may not. What’s important here is for you to feel comfortable and safe in this connection. Let yourself be with this person.
This is where we use words. Keep it simple, keep it clear. Use the observing mind to describe your experience in words. For example: “I’m aware that I am feeling this tightness in my chest. I think I might be feeling that competitive energy. I’m familiar with this energy and it feels like it has to do with competition. I don’t like it, and it’s here. I just want to name it, so it can be seen. I’m not asking you to change anything. I just want to let this out, so that I can work through this, in a way that will serve us both.” Again, keep it short. Keep it present. Keep it real. Refrain from going into any story. There may be time for the story later. But to begin, keep it simple.
Ask for impact
Ask for feedback. Ask for support. Now that you have this person’s attention, ask for their support. If we approach our loved ones with sincere desire to be who we are, without asking them to change who they are, then magic unfolds.
Chances are, if you follow the above 4 steps, you will have created yourself a safe place to move through whatever energy you are feeling.