Dear Gail….

Thought you’d enjoy this mini-conversation I shared with a friend about polyamory.

Enjoy!
Gail

Dear Gail,

How do you do it? How do you manage a poly relationship? I am watching friends fall apart because they tried it and its just hard…even for me because I am friends on both ends.

Sincerely,
Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken,

How is this different than a mono-relationship; isn’t it the same pain?

It’s true that polyamory has its own challenges and learning opportunities. But in my opinion, leading a healthy, successful poly relationship takes many of the same basic skill sets that you need in order to lead a healthy, successful monogamous relationship. In my 20 years of coaching, I have seen many people who just flat don’t have the basic skills to live a successful, thriving relationship.

Here’s one example. When the sh** hits the fan, I often see people make one of 3 basic communication mistakes:
1. confuse stories for observations (ex: she’s mad at me vs/ she hasn’t made eye contact with me today) – we can avoid misunderstandings if we – as Krishnamurthi suggests – seek the intelligence of observing without judging.
2. confuse feelings and needs for thoughts and judgements (ex: i feel like he should spend more time with me if he loved me) – when we separate our feelings (sad, disappointed, unhappy) and needs (because I want companionship) from our thoughts, we have a better chance of asking for what we want in a way others can hear (ex: i’ve been sad wanting more companionship, would you spend 2 hours with me tonight?)
3. not make clear doable requests to meet their needs

These simple, common habits can make or break a conversation.

Now take folks without basic relationship and healing skills, throw them into a poly scenario where emotions are even MORE likely to be stimulated, and where transparent, generative, needs-based conversation is even more vital, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster alright! This is why they pay me the big-bucks to do relationship coaching. *wink*

With a few fundamental skills and practices, I believe many more polyamorous and monogamous relationships would thrive.

If you’d like more information about polyamory, or if you’d like a free consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship, call Gail toll-free 1.877.535.5438.

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1 Response to “Dear Gail….”


  1. 1 Anita Wagner October 1, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Gail – You definitely hit the nail on the head here. I’ve been saying this same thing for several years now during workshops I give on managing jealousy in polyamorous relationships. If only our society were to place more emphasis on the importance of good communication and relationship skills, I think people would have much better relationships no matter what kind they are, i.e. with friends, family, co-workers – not just polyamorous and monogamous. I learned it all the hard way, primarily via the fallout from two divorces and the ensuing therapy and search for truth about myself and the way I relate to my partners. Polyamory actually gave hope for avoiding some of the problems inherent in the monogamous societal model. For example, it is highly unlikely that my primary partner will cheat on me or me on him – as poly people there is no need to do so (though some poly people still do – go figure).


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