A reminder of the quote from More Than Two,
“Make sure there are no monsters under your bed before you do it, because if there are any weak points in your relationship if there is anything you’re not sure about, if there are any little fears or insecurities you have polyamory will find them it will find all of them and it will push on all of them and it will highlight all of the flaws in your existing relationship, so make sure your own house is in order before you invite other people into it because you’re putting other people’s hearts on the line and you want to make sure you do that responsibly.” – Franklin Veaux, Loving Without Boundaries Podcast Part Two 18:42
Again, I cannot stress enough that I appreciate and support the sentiment. I wholeheartedly believe in better late than never. What is “too late,” anyway? If you have never really sorted our your personal demons in your relationship, well, today is as good as any to start. Start finding out what you want, not what you’re expected to want by your friends, your family. Deal with the “monsters under your bed,” even within your most intimate relationships.
Only it will never be “enough.”
Because what is “enough”? When do you “fully” know yourself? What does that even mean? No matter how thoroughly and sincerely you resolve to understand yourself, your partner, and your connection, you will almost certainly find out more about all of that after you both, or either of you, start dating. Because that’s how life works. You temper it with change; you test a reactant with a reactor; someone new enters the dynamic and you see what happens next. You never know.
Some of this is because people change in the natural course of life. I do not believe that once we settle into ourselves, we drastically change, but nonetheless, there is change as the tides ebb and flow. Most of us have such gentle tugs in our wants and needs. It’s not always the same as yesterday. Or we stumble across something of which we had no previous awareness. Maybe the new person opens you up to new desires or feelings.
Or maybe you just “missed” something. You know how you miss a spot when cleaning your house? Imagine cleaning your soul. How could you possibly know you’ve got to every hidden corner and crevice? Of course you think you’ve covered it all, but it’s incredibly easy to not fully comprehend how complicated you are.
Which means it’s okay if you realize something new after opening up.
Heck, just realize how far ahead you are from almost everyone else, because you even tried to clear out the cobwebs in your relationship! So I suggest a few of the following for the “after” part.
- Do not assume ill intent or lies. If someone does something unexpected, don’t think they did it on purpose to hurt you. You’re going to stumble. When that happens, apologize and work together for a solution. Know this probably means adjustments on all parts. If someone truly cannot respect your boundaries and well being, it may eventually mean parting or adjusting the entire relationship– but most of the time? It just means proper communication and follow through. You’re all right. Breathe and don’t try to force yourself to an impossible standard!
- Stay flexible. Find out what really matters to you, and let go of what doesn’t. Maybe you weren’t told about something right away, but…does it matter? Was it something you “needed” or something you merely told yourself you needed to gain an illusion of control and security? Need to know you can rely on your person to be there for you? Awesome. Do you need them to be with you literally every night? Probably not. I am likely as needy as it gets, yet I do just fine if I spend a night alone or three or four. Or twenty. Life happens. What I do need is to feel his presence, so he makes sure he checks in with me regular and trained me to feel him holding me at night, no matter if I’m physically in his arms or not. There are always work arounds. Figure yours out.
- Make sure you and your partner(s) are on board with your core needs, and check in on them again periodically. Don’t lose sight of the overall! Do you want a “family”? Are you okay having separate lives, e.g. your partner spends half their time in your home and half in another? Or same with you? What are your nonnegotiables? Are those compatible with your partner(s)? If you are all on the same page, it still doesn’t hurt to check in and find out if it’s still the case. You can’t force a situation simply by avoiding it. That’s where the big surprises and hurt can really cause disasters! These are scary talks, but I’ve never found ignorance to be bliss in these cases. You can do it, I promise!
I apologize if I’ve terrified you, but I only want transparency.
The truth is I find it personally reassuring. I want to know everything, everywhere, all at once. I want to feel I know what is happening. Somehow I’m lesser if I do not. But the reality is none of us ever know. And it’s okay. All that matters is that we keep trying, and we keep moving forward.
Life is a beautiful and complex puzzle.
I, for one, cannot wait to find out what happens next!