Defining Progress in Poly Relationships

I had a situation with someone I cherish deeply. One of the many blissful benefits to poly is having a definitive diversity of emotional and energetic connection between different partners, and to feel the uniqueness of each. It’s not about having one full relationship from a number of people, but a number of relationships from one group of people.

So, there are times when you know poly is challenging, and there are arguments and misunderstandings and frustrations. There are also times when you are in public with lovers, and they can’t find comfort in being introduced to other important people in your life, whether they’re other lovers, ex-lovers. or just a friend.

Socializing in a sharing context can be difficult for some people in poly—not enough to end the connection, but still a source of pain and frustration in the relationship.

So, what’s next? Inner work. Lots and lots of inner work. That extinguishing of the jealousy fire, or the jailing of the insecurity goblins, or the massacre of the self-esteem saboteur—whatever you need to do to feel more secure in the situation of polyamory (where you share yourself with the people your lover asks you to, within reason and logic and love).

But after the turmoil, trauma and trouble… how do you know when progress has been made? When you both ask each other: “How was your day?” and you both have news to talk about involving other partners. When you both listen to each other WITHOUT judgement, commentary, doubt, and hesitation to hear all that the other person has to say. THAT’S when I knew my partner had made real, tangible progress in hearing about my poly actions and relations apart from ours.

I love her and cherish her deeply, but I do have other lovers in my life. I will share that truth as often as I can, but only as much as she and others want to hear—it’s a delicate balance.

Sometimes it only takes a few sentences that change the difference between nothing and KNOWING. It might only be: “I went out on a first date yesterday, and it was cool.” That might be enough! Or you could say more. It’s up to you. But the truth shall set you free.

And freedom is the best result of progress.

Addi Stewart

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