Navigating any type of relationship comes with its own unique (and not so unique) challenges. Navigating open or poly relationships are no exception. While it gives us permission to think beyond the conventional ideology of ‘relationship’ and think about what it really is that we want, we must remember that there are other human hearts who in a co-creator role and also have feelings and desires that may or may not compliment our own.
Here are 4 questions to stimulate self-inquiry and help you tune back inward and towards what’s most in alignment with you.
1. How much time do you really have to give to a relationship? Building a single, sustaining, and healthy relationship takes time and energy and attention. More or less depending upon the type of relationship you are creating, whether it be sexual, casual, intimate, or partnership. We have a finite amount of time and energy in each day to which we allocate to the various parts of ourselves and the purpose of what we choose to do in this lifetime. How we choose to disperse this energy determines how we progress forward or maintain health and wholeness with any one of those intentions. If I’m working on building my empire in my career, how much time and energy do I need to make sure it continues to move forward? If I want to maintain the physical health of my body, what is this going to look like on a daily basis? If I want to develop a tantra or sensual lifestyle or practice, what will my practice look like? When levels of priority you have for these and relationships is known, you can begin to understand the types of relationships you may be able to tend to realistically.
2. How are you making sure to include in your decisions the fact that you are involving human hearts? When forming any time of relationship, whether dating, sexual, emotionally intimate, partnership, and any other level or variation, we must remember that these human hearts each contain their own feelings and desires and fears themselves and to consider them in kind. Are you communicating with them from a place of openness, transparency, non-blaming, clarity, and compassion? Are you asking them ‘what feels good for you’? Are you checking in, asking consent, asking about internal process, asking what they need or want to create? Are you considering their answers in how they align in your own and what you are able to provide? Who do you actually want to nourish in a relationship context?
3. How clear are you in knowing what your actions and words are creating and how clear is everyone involved in knowing for themselves? You words create someone’s reality, so make sure they are as good of a representation of what you intend to create as possible. I’m reminded of the Friends episode in which Chandler tells Rachel’s boss, “That was fun we should do this again sometime”, as an automatic response at the end of a date so as not to hurt her feelings. That statement created in the woman’s mind a reality that the date was enjoyable by Chandler and there was a desire for potential future repeat. Unfortunately, this was not the reality in Chandler’s mind, thus causing inauthenticity of what he wanted to be creating. Ask yourself whether what you say and act are congruent to what you are feeling internally, or if you are curbing words to be more socially or personally accepted by another. Notice if you are speaking up for what you need/want or if you find yourself internally minimizing or rationalizing for the sake of avoiding discomfort, hurt, or rejection. If they are not the same, then you will be perpetuating something that you don’t really want…and that sucks for everyone involved.
4. What are your underlying intentions behind creating the relationships you are creating? There is no real universal right answer to this question, just right answer for YOU. Meaning, are the answers you realize in alignment with what you want them to be, including your values and desires to make. For instance, maybe I have a desire to have multiple partnerships because I don’t like to be alone and I love the comfort and security of being held and nurtured. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as I am a) conscious that that’s what’s driving my behaviors and b) I’m cool with that reasoning. If, however, I am unaware that my actions to creating multiple relationships is driven by an UNCONSCIOUS fear of emptiness or fear of closeness and that’s NOT something I’d want to be running my life, then in self-inquiry I may discover that and decide to address those directly rather than continue to allow my life to be run by fear. What remains unconscious remains in power over us, directing our lives without our conscious say in it’s unfolding. Ultimately, inquire of self, meditate, journal, or work with a therapist to discover and take back control over what it is you want this to be.
To maintain health in any type of relationship, whether that be mono, poly, open, sexual, friend, etc., giving ourselves the time and space to be with ourselves and understand ourselves can be a powerful tool to use. Tuning inward and with others involved help us to direct the traffic so there’s as much flow with ease as possible. That’s not to say we won’t hit some pot holes along the way, but we will be able to more easily come back to center and move forward in alignment again.
More thoughts and questions to meditate on to come, so stay tuned and keep lovin'.
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