So… You Think You’re Ready for a Poly/Open Relationship? 10 Questions to Find Out!
Are you ready for a Poly/Open relationship?
Many of you might be thinking, Hey, it could be fun to expand my relationship!
It definitely could be.
But more likely than not, you’re not ready.
Not even close to ready.
Not the same ballpark as ready.
I mean, why add more people to the mix when you can’t even get it right with ONE person, right?
The answer: you shouldn’t.
If dating is the minor leagues and monogamous relationships are the regular season, then Poly/Open relationships are the playoffs.
i.e., only the most talented get to the playoffs, and you gotta qualify to get there!
It’s like that scene from Inglorious Basterds when the Basterds go to Hugo Stiglitz’s jail cell to break him out. But before they do, Lt. Aldo Raine walks up to him and says,
I think you show great talent. And I pride myself on having an eye for that kind of talent. But your status as a Nazi killer is still amateur. We all come here to see if you wanna go pro.
One of my favorite movie lines!
Hugo definitely had GAME, but was he ready for the BIG LEAGUES?
Most of you… open-minded people…
you’re not ready.
You haven’t stood on the doorway for three whole days (another Brad Pitt movie) with the following, trying to get in:
- Two pairs of black shirts.
- Two pairs of black pants.
- One pair of combat boots.
- Two pairs of black socks.
- One black jacket.
- $300 personal burial money.
What I mean to say is that you simply just haven’t made the sacrifice.
Look at your current or your most recent relationship and let’s take inventory, shall we?
On a scale of 1-10, please answer the following (1=almost none, 10=completely), and try your damndest to be honest. (If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you ever be honest with someone else, right?)
1) How honest are you with your partner?
As in, does s/he know about your little secrets:
–sending cock/titty/naughty pics to other men/women
–that you have an office lover
That’s just kid’s play.
If you’re below a 8 or 9, just stop reading now.
It’s like Monopoly.
DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200.
Let’s get to the good stuff. Intermediate honesty conversation (again 1-10):
2) Have you shared with him/her that you’ve thought about breaking up?
3) That you’re not sexually satisfied?
4) That you have a crush on someone else?
5) That you’re having bisexual thoughts and/or urges?
6) That you’re flirting and sending sexual texts or fb messages to someone else?
Now, we’re getting somewhere.
So, how are you doing so far? Are you honestly rating yourself?
7) Are you able to share your insecurities? to be vulnerable?
Before you answer, it’s good to get real about what some of these might be for you; otherwise, this is just an abstract (and, therefore, meaningless) process.
That you get jealous when s/he is talking to someone else at a party.
You can express feelings of hurt instead of going for anger.
You’re able to express anger instead of getting passive-aggressive.
You’re proactive about getting your needs fulfilled (i.e., you’re being direct) and share what’s really important to you.
8) Are you happy when they’re happy?
Let me make a note here: In my last relationship, my partner and I always seemed to be on opposing sides of the happiness court; either she was happy and I wasn’t, or I was happy and she wasn’t. It was a see-saw, and it got worse as our relationship went on.
9) You’re owning that you’re the source of your happiness, and… you’re HAPPY? i.e., you’ve taken responsibility for your own life instead of putting that on your partner’s to do list?
10) How much are you trying to change your partner?
(Notice that I asked how much, and not are you.)
Did you rate yourself on that one?
Now, I’m going to say something, and you’re probably not going to like it.
Not. One. Bit.
YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT.
How do I know that you’re full of shit?
Because you’re HUMAN.
It’s not your fault, really. You weren’t designed to be honest and open with your partner.
In fact, we’re born to be inauthentic. It’s our safe place.
Ever notice how you lie, sometimes, automatically? You don’t know how the lie came out of your mouth, but it did.
I know. Some of you are saying, not me! I’m always honest with my partner!
(Giving you that meme look of the kid in Africa…)
As the expression goes:
You’re selling; I’m not buying.
If we mic’d up your brain and recorded your thoughts, are you saying that we wouldn’t hear anything significant that you’re not sharing with your partner?
Just admit it. You’re not ready.
Go back to the minor leagues, and let’s try this again, say… next April?
There’s no shame in saying you’re not ready, either. In fact, the fastest way to get there is to be honest with yourself. It’s the express train. I promise. Take it.
Now, for the rest of you…
So, you gave yourself at least an 8 or a 9 on all the previous questions?
(If we asked your current/past partner, would s/he corroborate your scores?)
That’s the qualification to be in this conversation.
I’ll be honest. I’m highly suspicious. Highly.
But we’ll continue.
Here are your questions (same scale, 1-10):
11) You love yourself?
12) You want your partner to be happy–truly happy?
What separates you from everyone else is a) that you’re able to be honest with yourself; and b) that you really are tracking this conversation–it makes sense to you.
You see, I probably should go into great detail on each of these questions–and maybe I will at some point. None of these questions are as simple as they seem–and you get that more than most people do.
I don’t say that, arrogantly, either. You get it because you’ve worked for these jewels of wisdom.
You’ve gotten them not through reading Wayne Dyer or from listening to Oprah; you’ve earned your scars (i.e., your wisdom) on the BATTLEFIELD of relationships and on the court of life!
Simply put: YOU’VE WORKED YOUR ASS OFF.
You’ve screwed up, failed and eaten humble pie.
Again and again and again.
You’ve risked it all–and lost.
You’ve fallen down, hard, and instead of jumping back into a relationship right away, you’ve taken time to just be.
Lots of time.
You’ve had some kind of spiritual practice: Yoga, Meditation, Holotropic Breathwork, Ecstatic Dance, NVC, Access Consciousness, Landmark Education, Lafayette Morehouse, CTI, MDI/Sterling, Therapy, AA, Ayahuasca/Psychedelics. Just to scratch the surface.
You’ve put yourself out there. You’ve been uncomfortable so that you would learn and grow. You’ve left a perfectly good relationship because it wasn’t great. You’ve done some traveling (inside and out). You’ve read books. You’ve been to workshops. You’ve listened to podcasts. You’ve had hundreds of hours of conversations. You’ve journaled.
You get the picture.
You’ve done the work. Otherwise… it’s just bypassing.
You’re not going to fool anyone but yourself.
Trust me, I know what it’s like to be full of shit; to want to be on the level–to want to prove it so badly to someone–but not being there.
Here’s the thing.
This whole post is a sham.
No one can tell you when you’re ready.
I certainly can’t.
But I hope that I provided a framework to at least begin an honest conversation about what it takes to consider going beyond your current relationship (if you have one), or moving in the direction of something that is more open, if you’re single.
There are just so many people that are running–from themselves–and into the safe place of an Open/Poly relationship framework.
They can’t even be with themselves yet–with their own projections, insecurities, fears–let alone someone else’s.
Here’s what I’d like. I’d like to ask you to contribute. What work(s) has made a big difference in YOU being ready to embark on this (next) journey? What has put you in a position to have an astounding, soul-shaking and healthy relationship with your partner?
Shadow Work has been HUGE. A la Debbie Ford and, particularly, Robert Johnson, author of He, She, We, Inner Gold, Owning Your Shadow, amongst others. Also Robert Bly.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you all. Please share by commenting on this article. We will all help each other grow. I’ll include some resources below.
Blessings on this Great Adventure,
“I’d rather be whole than good.”
Some of my favorite (related) resources:
The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us, Robert Bly
Puer Aeternus, Louise Von Franz
Owning Your Shadow, Robert Johnson
Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously by OSHO
The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
The Secret of the Shadow, Debbie Ford
Sex at Dawn, Cacilda Jetha & Christopher Ryan
Opening Up, Christian Taormino
as always, thanks for sharing