Star is an active member of the poly community and beyond. She writes articles about poly life in her family as well as advocates for alternative choices in other communities. Her work has opened the minds of people across the globe on accepting and celebrating differences of others. Her talents are widespread, not only does she write for a parenting website, educates 2 of her 5 children at home and is one of 4 parents in her household, she also loves to spend time sculpting, designing websites and helping others with spiritual guidance.

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

The difficulties of communication

Author's Note:This month's article comes from the archives of my advice column. I thought it fitting to post this instead of a family update, this month. Next month, we will return to our regularly scheduled Our Little Tribe column. Thanks for reading!

Dear Star,

I have read a lot of your posts where you talk about your family and how it all works. The most impressive thing is how you all get along and there is a lack of jealousy among all four of you. I wish I could have that.

My biggest problem is that I love 3 men. One, I am married to, One is my best friend and One is a friend from my childhood. I have to keep myself from acting on that love or even talking about it with my husband. Sometimes, I feel like I am living a lie, and that hurts me more than anything.

My husband does know that I have love for the other two men in my life, and they love me as well, however, I think his understanding of that love is limited to what he considers friendship love. I suppose that is okay. It keeps the friendships at a safe level for him and he doesn't feel threatened. However, I would love to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie with the other two men. I would love to kiss them and wake up in the morning with their arms around me too.

I have tried to talk with him about how I feel, and he affirms the friendship love with comments like - "Honey, it's perfectly okay to love your friends and kiss them on the cheek, or get a shoulder massage. I think it's really sweet that you can have friends like that."

I'm really not sure what to do.


Thanks for listening,
Aphrodite's twin

Dear Aphrodite's Twin,

Thank you for the comments of support of our family structure. It is a little different than most common families, but we like it and it works for us.

What I have to say in response to your letter, may not be of your liking, but it's what I think.

First of all, you made a commitment to your husband - no matter what the vows were that you took, this commitment is one that you promised to honor above all else. Cheating is something that even we who have several partners, take seriously. Cheating is not just physical, it can be emotional, intellectual and spiritual, depending on the kind of promises you made with your partner. Cheating is defined by the person who is on the other side of the problem - in this case, it would be your husband's definition. If he is comfortable with you loving your friends and in turn they loving you on a friendship level than your husband has already stated his boundaries and you can choose to do one of three things.
  1. Evaluate how you feel and if you can live with the friendship boundaries that your husband has placed in the relationship between the two of you, and be happy with that choice.
  2. Talk with your husband again, using different perspectives, to find out if he is willing to let you explore your emotional connections with your two male friends, deeper and more openly.
  3. Cheat on your husband and feel the guilt much more than you do right now.
Communication is difficult. It's hard enough in a relationship of two people, let alone four as we have in our family. One of the most difficult things about communicating wants and needs is finding the words to remain compassionate to your partner and being honest to yourself at the same time.

One of the things that I find helpful is that when I hear my partner not understanding what I am saying, I have to find a way to express myself in a way that they understand.

Not too long ago, I had to do this by adjusting the words I used with analogies that my partner could understand. I had to use terms that had to do with things or subjects he was familiar with, such as cars - this conversation was about the different phases a relationship goes through. The words I used to express myself initially were the actual terms, which he couldn't understand. I had to find car terms to explain what I was meaning in order for him to understand. Once I was able to talk in "his language" we had a wonderful open conversation, and were both able to understand each other and come to an agreement that we could both live with and that made us happy.

Another way to explain it, is by quoting a poem that I found in a book called "Wisdom Tales from Around the World" by Heather Forest.

Naked Truth and Parable

Naked Truth walked down the street one day. People turned their eyes away.

Parable arrived, draped in decoration. People greeted Parable with celebration.

Naked Truth sat alone, sad and unattired. "Why are you so miserable?" Parable inquired.

Naked Truth replied, "I'm not welcome anymore. No one wants to see me. They chase me from the door."

"It's hard to look at Naked Truth," Parable explained. "Let me dress you up a bit. Your welcome will be gained."

Parable dressed Naked Truth in story's fine attire, with metaphor, poignant prose, and plots to inspire.

With laughter and tears and adventure to unveil, Together they went forth, to spin a tale.

People opened their doors and served them their best. Naked Truth dressed in story was a welcome guest.

(A poem based on a tale told in Eastern Europe by the Maggid of Dubno, an eighteenth century rabbi.)

According to this poem, it is easier for people to accept the truth if it is presented in a form that they can understand and connect with. This is very true in most things, which is why electronic media has become so popular. It is a way for people to get messages out to the masses. This can be abused as much as it can be used as a tool. The key is to make sure you are not manipulating others with your words. There is a fine balance between expressing yourself to get a message across and using those words to manipulate others into thinking a certain way. Be sure to dress your Naked Truth in words that are compassionate, loving, and most of all respectful to those hearing your Naked Truth.

My advice to you, is to do what feels right in your heart, and find a way to feel joy in whatever choice you make.

Good luck and may peace be with you and yours.

Star is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Star ; February 26, 2007


folks have read this article.