Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.
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Fight The Good Fight
Having a one on one relationship is hard enough, but throw in an extra person or two and the probability for misunderstanding increases exponentially.
This can lead to a lot more fighting than you bargained for.
Before we tried poly, Jack and I were pathetic at fighting. We might manage one good argument a year, and it usually lasted less than an hour. We just tend to agree a lot, about everything, and we pride ourselves on being very sensitive to each others feelings. We were quick to say sorry or let the little things go because honestly it was not worth getting worked up over.
Enter poly, and suddenly it feels like every time I turn around, we are at each other over something. Not all of them even remotely related to our new lifestyle.
I am not trying to be overly negative here, but I think that it comes as a rude shock to some people how many arguments this transition can entail. I chalk it up to all the new emotions, situations, and unexpected surprises involved in leading a poly lifestyle. You will experience so many new things, and learn so many things about yourself, which is actually really wonderful. Sadly, you will be almost totally unprepared to handle any of it because people outside of poly never encounter most of these issues.
So what to do when you are up to your ears in conflict and you don't want to risk hurting the feelings of the other five people involved in this situation?
It's wonderful to be able to avoid having arguments altogether, so try to do that first. However, if you find yourself in a discussion that is heating rapidly, whatever you do, make sure you fight fair.
Jack and I have rules when it comes to fighting that have served us well over the past few months.
Our first rule is no name calling. It might seem obvious to some people, but insulting someone in the midst of disagreeing with them will not help your cause. I actually struggle with this, my parents used to call each other horrible things in front of us, and you learn what you live I suppose. I am always the one to falter and fling an insult at Jack in the heat of the moment. Only once in the entire history of our relationship has Jack ever called me a name during a fight, and I'll tell you, it was well deserved because I was being exactly what he called me.
Second rule, no bringing up issues from the past, even if you feel they are related to the current disagreement. If you want to talk about that issue, write it down and come back to it later. You do not want the current discussion to go from how much time you are spending with your girlfriend over to that time you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning three years ago. You lose sight of what is happening in the NOW which will only aggravate the situation and make it difficult to resolve what you started discussing in the first place.
Last but not least, do not cut the other person off mid sentence. One of the most annoying and disrespectful things you can do is interrupt someone that is trying to get their point across. You are basically telling them that you could care less about what they have to say because you are right and they are wrong! If the argument is escalating, it is perfectly ok to walk away or demand some time to cool down in the middle of the disagreement. But do not cut someone off just to argue back at him or her. You will only make them more upset.
People, even lovers and spouses, will not always agree with each other. Try not to sweat the small stuff, and tackle larger issues before they come to a head. In the event that things erupt into an argument, following these guidelines will hopefully help you come to a more speedy and peaceful resolution.
Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.
Nobody's Angel; June 01, 2006
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