Note: While this outline will give you some things to talk about actually reading More Than Two is probably going to be incredibly valuable. I have outlined and asked questions about the things I have found interesting and thought-provoking, but you may find different things more helpful to yourself.
This was made for use by The Denver Nontraditional Relationships Meetup. Feel free to use it for other groups or for your own use as long as you credit Poly Talk. Going through it with a partner or your polycule might be especially helpful!
Benefits of Polyamory
Poly is rewarding, but developing the skills you need is hard work.
Has polyamory been easier or harder than what you anticipated?
Has anyone got to the point where openness, honesty, and communication are more reflex than work?
Benefits you beyond the relationship. Skills will improve life independent of relationships you’re in.
There aren’t stages. You don’t suddenly reach a point where you are good enough to be poly. Has anyone felt like they aren’t good enough to be poly or haven’t reached certain levels?
Recommend psychologist for certain mental health issues- anxiety, depression, etc.
Necessary to question/ challenge yourself to know what you want from relationships. Without this, you end up with a relationship that reflects what the world thinks is right for you, not what is truly right for you
Owning your self-awareness are key.
How/ with what have you had a hard time owning your shit? How do you look at yourself without getting defensive?
What are your relationship needs? How do you communicate these to others? How do you stay responsible for your needs when they aren’t being met?
When you are looking to have your needs met how do you keep from treating people like need fulfillment machines?
Ease in. Many of us are idealists and want our idea of our poly utopia NOW before we grow enough to be able to handle those situations.
Don’t feel like you have to be the perfect poly person without jealousy or insecurity. Knowing your limitations is necessary and makes you a better poly person.
What limitations have you encountered? How have you taken care of yourself when this has happened?
Don’t build walls around fear and jealousy.
May run into judgement and discrimination. What have you run into? How did you handle it? How did you keep from internalizing these issues others had with your relationship?
Saying “don’t give others the power to hurt you” can belittle the struggles of someone’s closest friends and family shaming them for who they are.
How do you keep from turning the thought “I did something bad” from turning into “I am bad?” How do you feel worthy of love when you mess up?
Self efficacy- one example is remaining calm in new scary situations and believing you can do it
Small successes are important:
Such as staying home alone while your partner is on a date/ talk to your partner about the jealousy you’re feeling/ coming to a discussion to talk about poly and your feelings. How do you celebrate your small successes? What ones have you done? It helps you realize that you can do this?
Do you have a poly role model? How do they keep you positive that you can do this?
Being poly and developing the skills we need is a commitment in itself. It gets better. It gets easier. Courage is important.
How do you remain courageous through your relationship? What strategies do you use to not get hurt? Are they helping or hurting?
Polyamory has a way of illuminating weaknesses in ourselves and in relationships.
Seeking security can lead to placing rules over your partner or to agree to the controls they place on us. Lasting sense of security comes from knowing your partner can leave but chooses to stay.
Insecurity is not something you are born with; it is not a personality trait. How does this insecurity hold you back?
Security is something we practice and get good at- whether it is practicing self doubt and becoming adept at insecurity or practicing confidence and self assurance and becoming adept at security. What thoughts and behaviors do you practice that contribute your security? Insecurity?
Guide to Being a Secure Person
- Understand you have a choice
- Act like someone who is self confident- even if you aren’t
- Practice feeling secure
Has polyamory helped you become more secure or shed a light on your insecurities?
This is a better exercise for when you are on your own: write a list about the good things about yourself.
Fear of Loss
Commitment and fear of losing your partner are only sometimes related. Often in monogamy feelings of loss come from fears of being alone more than loss of that specific partner. In reality, we do lose everything we love in our lives- through death or life. Be happy for what you have and focus about the now.
Beginning couples try to keep everything about their relationship from changing with rules. But polyamory will change them and their relationship. Accept that changes will come. Just communicate through them.
We can feel entitled to have partners experience new things with us.
Fear of being alone can lead us to be irrational. Do you practice being alone? Fear can lead us to resent our partners for doing things that make us scared to be alone. How do you stop yourself from being a part of this fear- resentment cycle?
Love Scarcity vs. Abundance
People who tend to think of love as scarce thing don’t see there as enough love to around. People who follow the abundance model see opportunities for love as endless. Do you tend to think of love as scarce or abundant? What we believe is self fulfilling. How do you remind yourself of the abundance of love?
Believing in love scarcity keeps us in relationships that aren’t good for us. Has this happened to you?
Confirmation bias- the tendency to notice things that confirm our already held beliefs and discard what does not fit into our beliefs.
Flexibility is key to lasting relationships. Must be willing to face discomfort. Discomfort is inevitable in self growth. Avoidance of discomfort in relationships can keep us from being ethical. It disempowers our partners.
Sometimes you have to make choices that are minimizing issues rather than maximizing gains. These decisions can be hard to make. Integrity is the best guide. How do you make these choices?
- People in the relationship are more important than the relationship.
- Don’t treat people as things.
(1) can be hard for couples. How do you keep this in mind when deciding what is best for you both? Have you made decisions that favored the relationship first? How did that turn out?
Compassion is not something you are; is is something you practice. It is not kindness, politeness, or a lack of boundaries. Have you mixed up compassion and not having boundaries? Why is it actually more compassionate to have boundaries?
You don’t have to be a poly perfectionist. Have compassion towards yourself too. It’s normal to have insecurity and jealousy.
Check them. Do they present themselves as an entitlement to other’s feelings? We cannot have expectations for others without their consent. For example, expecting your partner to tell you before they have sex with someone else but not discussing this with them- then getting upset is not fair.