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.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Assumption Junction

Probably the most harped on concept in poly relationships (and mono relationships for that matter) is Communication, Communication, Communication!

Now of course most of us know why communication is important. However, sometimes we forget. Or we decide that there are some things that don't really need to be communicated because we figure that they are just 'known' by other people involved.


If I have learned only one thing during my brief poly relationship, it is Never Assume Anything!!!

You know what they say about making assumptions. It makes you a three-letter slang word for donkey.

People cannot mind read. Your spouse cannot figure out what your problem is via osmosis. It is highly unfair to march around in a fit because your girlfriend can't guess that you are disappointed she cancelled plans with you last minute, or give your boyfriend the silent treatment because he said something you found offensive.

I find that the best strategy for communication is to never, ever assume that your spouse or other partners just 'get you' therefore making verbal communication sort of a lower priority. Expecting anyone else to think like you or come to the same conclusions about events or situations will just set you up for some major disappointment, and could be catastrophic to your relationships.

I have a real life example of this. I tend to self-analyze pretty much constantly. I think, hard and fast, about all manners of things. I tend to assume that other people also think in this way, and a few of them do, just not Jack. Assuming that he did was error number one.

When I started seeing my current boyfriend none of us were expecting it to be more than a sexual relationship. When I started to have feelings for The Boyfriend, I told Jack. The problem is I didn't explain it to Jack, I just assumed that he understood what was going on. I said, "Hey, I think I am falling in love with K" and then expected Jack to understand the full gravity of what I was saying. That was error number two.

To top it all off, I then assumed that Jack knew I was going to confess my feelings to The Boyfriend. Which I did, and then told Jack about it, and he subsequently freaked out. He was NOT prepared for my feelings to become common knowledge without even so much as an explanation.

A couple of weeks later I assumed some things about my relationship with The Boyfriend that turned out not to be true, of course. Poly has made me into the biggest three-letter slang for donkey on the planet, because I figure that everyone is always reading my mind and therefore it is safe for me to assume that they are on the same page as me. I am hoping that in the next decade or so I will learn to stop making like a donkey and just start explaining myself a lot more. I know how irritated I get when people assume things about me. Like because I am poly I am automatically a whore, and I am only doing this because Jack is a huge pushover and doesn't have any "control" over me.

I am not the best communicator, especially verbally. If you need to, feel free to write things out. There is no shame in handing someone a letter to start off a heavy conversation. At the same time, do try to work on your verbal communication, because sometimes you will not have time for writing or access to paper for that matter. Even if you feel stupid, embarrassed, or ashamed it is better to be open and forward than hold back. It takes courage, but few things worth doing are easy. Being honest is worth doing.

So yes, communication is very important. Detailed communication is vital. You can't just go around assuming people know what is happening in your brain, and just announce things at random and blind-side everyone. The relationship motto should be Explain, Explain, Explain. Explain your thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc until there is no room left for assumptions, and ask the same thing of your partners. You will save yourself a load of headaches, and you will all be closer and have a better relationship as a result.

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; July 1, 2006


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