Written in response to the monthly theme on Poly Means Many: Communication
Many articles around open/poly relationships discuss communication and rightly so as it’s the key foundation for all good relationships, regardless of type. However, it’s not something I’ve always been the best at; add my own shortcomings to a poly relationship, and those flaws get amplified.
Obviously there are differences between the communication between two people and the communication required between four as we all have different personalities and naturally differing ways of communicating.
My own style of listening, the phrases I use, the presumptions I have in my head, all suit me, but for others in the relationship they won’t be quite right. I’m aware of this, as are others and so, to try and counter any confusion we spend a lot of time, for wont of a better word, over-communicating.
If there is something to be discussed by more than two people then we will talk it through together with each person rewording into their own ‘language’ if required. Clarifications are needed to make sure there is no misunderstandings and, so far, it’s all been delivered without any hint of negativity. Sometimes there are things which are hard to discuss, sometimes there are things which just need to be said out loud, it’s not always easy but it seems to be working.
I’ll admit that the level of detail needed to make sure all the people in the dynamic are clear and happy is something I struggle with even though I know it’s absolutely necessary (and I know it helps me too). The trouble is that it doesn’t suit my natural style of communicating. I tend to be very high-level, detail-phobic almost, so I have to be sure to adapt my communications appropriately.
That means paying attention to detail, and the words I choose, and putting myself in my partner’s place (or my partner’s partners place). It means being honest even when it’s things that aren’t easy to say. It means letting go of the past, of my own insecurities and owning up to things as I truly see them, not saying what I think someone else wants to hear.
At the beginning of this journey, I struggled with the honesty required to be ethically non-monogamous. It wasn’t that I wanted to not be open and honest but more that I was well practised in being guarded and closed. It’s not always been easy but I’m far more comfortable with it now to the point of it being just part of who I am.