Know thyself! – Lessons from polyamory #6


You are a teenager. You are making out for the first time. You know it’s supposed to be good, but you can’t enjoy it just yet. First, you don’t know where your lips, tongue and hands should go. Second, you’re self-conscious. You just want to get done with it.

Or the first sex. It is the coveted thing, and you are trying to do what you’re supposed to do according to the patchy, useless information you gathered, but it’s more frightening than pleasant. You feign the height of horniness to conceal your bewilderment. You act a hundred times more turned on than you actually are because you don’t even know where your hands are supposed to go next, and you want it to be put down to passion.

It will take a while before you understand yourself, what you like and what you don’t – and even learn to communicate it. And listen when others try to communicate theirs to you.

If we just stay at the example of sex, there is a lot of stupidity out there fuelled by magazines and porn. These beliefs are standing between us, and between our pleasure and ourselves. Frankly, we should be insulted that they sprout stupidity like “What do women want?” and “How to please your man?” We are not in kindergarten, thank you very much. We can discuss it between ourselves, like grown-ups.

Or can we?

In time, you will learn how to enjoy making out and sex, but you’ll probably always suffer from outbreaks of what-I-am-supposed-to-do-itis. How long do I wait before I call? When can I raise certain topics? What is the right thing to do in bed?

The only thing you never ask is the only question worth asking:

Do I do this because I feel like doing it or because it is what I’m supposed to do?

And it is not just sex.

Knowing what you want from a relationship should be mandatory before the first “Hey!” is thrown around.

First of all, do we want a relationship at all? Right now? Do we want it because we really want it, or are we just supposed to want it to make the disapproval and patronising looks (real or imaginary) go away?

And then, do we want to move in together? Sleep in the same bed? Introduce family? Vacation together? Proceed like clockwork to marry, to mortgage and to have children whenever we run out of ideas? Or do we give it some thought for a change?

Rarely. Instead, we adopt whatever a relationship is supposed to be and what it supposed to be like. We don’t like the shared bed thing, but, oh well, this is what you have to do.

Does this sound even remotely OK with you?

You must know yourself, know your preferences, and know when you don’t have a preference. You must also know when you change, because you do – and communicate it like a real person.

Monogamous relationship roles don’t tell you how to do that. They don’t want you to communicate, so they offer you ideas on what to want. They suggest that you never change so that you don’t have to discuss that. They offer a ready-made set of wishes and desires – and even the timeline to accomplish them. So you don’t have to talk about it. You can maybe ask yourself when you want to do things, not whether you want to do them in the first place.

So know thyself, and while you’re at it, know your partner.

And listen and believe them when they tell you what they want. You have no better guide to them, than their own words. Learn to trust them about their wishes while you’re learning to trust yourself about yours.

It is harder than it sounds because you know for a fact, that you’re special, but what if they are not? What if they just tell you that they are different? What if they are really conventional at heart and only delude themselves? What if they will yield and leave you fight alone?

Indeed, what if you do?

Your entire life can be spent in this double-guessing hell and you never really bother to clean things up. A polyamorous affair starts with that.


Part 7: There is no mind-reading…

Part 1: Lessons to learn from polyamory

Part 2: What is love? And what it is not…

Part 3: Jealousy is not part of love…

Part 4: There’s no such thing as a soulmate…

Part 5: Don’t try to change people. Really…

Part 8: Relationship roles, life scripts, and the death of love…

Part 9: You can’t play relationship games with more than one partner… 

And please don’t forget to follow us via Facebook

(Photo: Peter Stewart)

8 thoughts on “Know thyself! – Lessons from polyamory #6

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