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File under "should be obvious"...

From an email I just made on a polyamory-related list:

I've found that a lot of my relationship fears vanish and my relationships become a lot stronger and more healthy when I start with certain assumptions: namely, that my partners want to be with me, that they see value in me, that when given the opportunity they will seek to make choices that honor our commitments and cherish the relationship we're in, that they are honest and can be counted on to behave with integrity, and that when they say they love me, it's because they do.

Often it seems to me that people base relationship rules on the assumption that their partners can not be trusted, that if given free action their partners will not choose to honor and nurture their relationships, and that their partners are harboring secret agendas involving dumping them when someone 'better' (whatever that means) comes along. I can't quite fathom building a relationship on those assumptions, nor why someone would want to remain in a relationship where they were true.

Ahh, the mysteries of life.



( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
While this is probably multiply true with polyamory, I find these are valuable things to remember in all relationships. I get a lot of really really good relationship advice and perspective from polyamory blogs and books for my monogomous relationship. 90% of the time it's the "duh, why haven't I kept that in mind" sorta thing, too.

so! you should keep posting this sort of thing to keep me in perspective!
Oct. 24th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
That's great advice, not just for poly situations but for friendships and everything.
Oct. 24th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
I've never been in a relationship so I may not be a good judge of such matters, but it seems to me that such things are rooted in insecurity. On some level they don't think they "deserve" the person they're with, or their love, or something like that, like the other person just settled for them for whatever reason. And since the other person has less than what they deserve, they're not going to be inclined to stick around if they find someone more their level. At they same time, they don't want to give up a good thing. They're probably not thinking of this consciously, though. Of course things can get really messy if the other person also feels the same way.

Whatever. My life has been too chaotic to have any real expectations as to what other people will do or not do, or to think that people inherently deserve (or not deserve) anything in particular.
Oct. 25th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
I agree with you here. I think for a lot of people it's definitely the feeling that they somehow "do not deserve" the person or people that they're with that causes people to enter a relationship from a basis of distrust, that given freedom to act, the first action will be to leave you. It's a poisonous way to think of relationships, but a difficult insecurity to break for a lot of people.
Oct. 24th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
"my partners want to be with me, that they see value in me, that when given the opportunity they will seek to make choices that honor our commitments and cherish the relationship we're in, that they are honest and can be counted on to behave with integrity, and that when they say they love me, it's because they do."

This is lovely. It has been my goal for a very long time.
Oct. 24th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
Can I post this on my own journal? I want to have it to remember.
Oct. 24th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
and of course, credit will be given.
Oct. 24th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
Sure! :)
Oct. 24th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
polyamory is a divisive topic and although this is good advice that i'd like to send to my husband he would freak out that the word 'polyamory' was included. a lot of great advice goes unread because i found it in poly forums and the word carries such a stigma.
Oct. 25th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
Oct. 25th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
That was a very good post! I've often been intensely critical of polyamoury and have even been wholeheartedly against it. But the number of people I know who practice it in a healthy way has been increasing, and thus my view on it has improved.

I agree with others here in stating that this can apply to other relationships as well, and I'm going to keep these points in mind for the future. :)
Oct. 25th, 2009 07:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this - it's not only lovely but also a serendipitous reminder of should-be-obvious-things for me.

PS Edited, because I've been meaning to thank you and zaiah for ages for the inspiration!

Edited at 2009-10-25 08:01 am (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:12 am (UTC)
Surface or under surface of skin ink? :) Pretty!
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
Thanks! I used a purple, non-toxic surgical marker to draw it on.

What markers do you use to draw on tacit? You don't seem to have poisoned him yet, so I'm assuming they're non-toxic. :)
Oct. 27th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC)
Mostly Sharpies. There are a few paint pens, body pens and surgical markers in there too. I was reading that many surgeons prefer sharpies to surgery markers. *wry*

I would like to do more with paints and body paints - something else to look forward to!
Oct. 26th, 2009 11:15 am (UTC)
Should indeed be obvious.

I'm intrigued by how many people spout what I would see as self-fulfilling demonstrations of this concept: surely if the very mention of the word polyamory is enough to threaten your monogamous relationship, that's evidence that the relationship isn't exactly strong or healthy in itself?

For the record I'm not against monogamy at all - if that's what suits the partners concerned. I define fidelity as 'making sure you have enough time and energy for all the partners you're committed to' whether that's one or one hundred.

Ah well, far be it from me to beat people around the head with their irrationality. I'm sure I have a few blind spots of my own!
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
It definitely seems true to me that many, possibly most, relationship problems are caused by people standing in their own way, no doubt about it. I've long since given up trying to save the world, though, and these days I'm content to surround myself with folks whose heads are on straight and let it go at that. :)
Oct. 26th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
It definitely seems true to me that many, possibly most, relationship problems are caused by people standing in their own way

Like my most recent ex. He was convinced that he is unloveable, and that, given any other option, I would choose to give more of my time and attention to anyone else. Naturally, when I started dating someone new, he agonized over it, and counted up minutes to try and "prove" to me that I was spending more time with the other guy than with him (and in plain, minute-counting facts, I actually wasn't).

He was so distraught over the whole thing that we did nothing but fight when we were together, which, of course, made me not so inclined to want to be around him. Eventually, *he* broke up with *me* because he was just sure that I didn't love him and wouldn't put in the effort to work with him or make him feel like he was wanted.

Self-fulfilling prophecy - if you're convinced your partner is against you, then you do things to make your partner appear "against" you.

But, as datan0de says (and you say all the time) in Rule #4 and corollary Rule #5: Always deal with your partner as a partner ... rather than as an adversary
Oct. 26th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
That should be "corollary Rule #4.5"
Oct. 26th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
I love your LJ. Thanks for posting this :)
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Hi there, I just found you through sextips, but I think you sound like a neat person and you write some great blogs. I'm very interested in polyamorous relationships, BDSM, media and photography. Wanna be friends?

Oct. 26th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Howdy, and welcome aboard!
Oct. 26th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
I needed this today--thank you for posting!

I think, when I start thinking along the "partners are harboring secret agendas" lines, it's a subconscious holdover from bad relationships where the person really did turn out to be untrustworthy. The trick is reminding myself that the current people are not like that and have never given me any reason to think they are.
Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This is superb.
Nov. 3rd, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
I like this. It's very sensible, rational advice. At the same time, I think it's sometimes true that partners "harbor secret agendas" - not that they're bad people, necessarily - just that, if our unconscious desires/shadows are to emerge anywhere, it's most often in the context of our love relationships.

Still, it's obviously not healthy to go around fearing that my partners are going to dump me.

I think getting to that place of trust, security, general peace in your relationships involves 1) learning to "reality-check" and distinguish between pure paranoia and fear with some basis in reality and 2) learning to love yourself enough believe that you will be *okay* regardless of what happens.

Thank you for posting this, tacit. I really miss your posts on PMM. I'm glad I found you here.
Nov. 9th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
hi! i am no_end's wife, can i add you as a friend, please? :)
Nov. 9th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
Absolutely, and welcome aboard!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )