Being a better partner (pt. 1) – The Root of All Our Poly Problems

October 11, 2018 ,
I sincerely think that in order to thrive in polyamory, we must first take a good, hard look at the culture we were raised in and the fantasy world that made us who we are today. Ideas like finding “the one” and “happily ever after” are something we might recognise as fantasy when we grow up. Nevertheless, these are ideas that have shaped us into the people we are today.

Somewhere, in the back of our heads, we grew up wanting to be special to our “better half” who would be a person to complete us. And how were these “halves” of ours, without whom we were incomplete supposed to give us eternal happiness? Why, mind reading, of course! And by being a perfect match or striving to become that. They would want everything we want or take an active interest in acquiring the same interests and aspirations that we possess. They would KNOW what we think, feel, desire and immediately want to give us those things, no matter the cost. And they would love us unconditionally, which I believe to be the biggest bullshit we are ever taught.

But only taking a good hard look at these concepts is not enough. We must then start the long and exhausting process of figuring out when these “thorns” of monogamous culture start digging in our brains as we find our way in an alternative model of love. But our culture is not the only thing affecting the way we behave in relationships and the fears that come with attachment.

Your Personal History

It also helps to do some self-reflection on your own personal history. Understanding a bit more about your past can help to put in context some situations in the present. Have you ever been cheated on? Were you left without an explanation by a former partner? Have you ever faced abuse of any kind? All of these might explain some of the irrational fears that you are currently facing. Understanding the issue is the first step in overcoming it.

But it is also a long process. There is no magic pill. No miraculous bullet to shatter these illusions and fears. It is a long, difficult and sometimes exhausting process of recognising your own biases and irrational thoughts. And you should start your journey by being aware of the journey and prepared for it.

But you can always reward yourself with the thought that you are not doing this for anyone else. Even though it may feel like you are putting in the work for this one or two people that you want to build romance with right now, you are not. At the end of this road is a better you, I promise. Someone pointed it out very well, during one of our monthly polyamory meetings: “The best thing you get out of alternative relationships is the work you do with yourself”.

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