I am not polyamorous. As a pretty extreme introvert the thought of being polyamorous makes me feel exhausted. So when Brian proposed creating some resources for polyamorous Christians my first thought was “Sure. Won’t be much help to me, but go for it.” But as I’ve been privy to the resources he’s been creating and watched the conversation happen I realized something: Poly folks have a LOT to teach me about my own relationships (and not just romantic ones).
Poly folks who are in healthy open relationships spend a lot of time on communication. Figuring out how to communicate, when to communicate, what issues to communicate about. Watching Brian do that work both in his own relationships and as a coach has taught me a lot about how I do communication in my relationship. It’s taught me to be really intentional about being communicative; about my needs, about my desires, about what works and doesn’t. And it’s taught me to really listen to my partner’s responses.
Brian talks a lot about emotions and what they can teach us about our own responses and behaviors. (I still love his video on jealousy and think it’s a must watch for everyone in any kind of relationship.)
The values and behaviors of polyamory: communication, trust, patience, good humor, and naming needs are vital for everyone. But sometimes for those of us in monogamous relationships we can forget how vital they are because they aren’t as front and center as they are when you are juggling the needs of more than two people. For instance, I can forget to communicate my needs and expect my partner to read my mind. Or I can get crabby and think that it just doesn’t matter that I’m crabby. The focus on these values that I hear from Brian and my other poly friends are a reminder to be intentional.
I think that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my poly friends: Intention is key. To be intentional with your time, with your attention, with your words, with the way you care for your partner and friends these will add health and vitality to your relationships.
And healthy relationships are something that we can all agree are important whether romantic or friend or something in between. Healthy relationships are good for all of us.
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Photo by Duy Pham