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A Poly Journey -The Beginning

Dec 4 '17 | By Bruce | Views: 105 | Comments: 0
A Poly Journey -The Beginning

Purpose


Upon embarking on my journey through polyamory, I have found it to be empowering, rewarding, exciting and challenging. It certainly hasn't been easy and I believe sharing my personal journey in an honest and authentic manner will be of benefit to many. I’ve never understood the social construct around (false) positivity over honesty. Society says “keep your issues to yourself, they are private and only share the good stuff.” Honesty is bravery not weakness, nor is it always draining or purely negative, it’s simply reality and a part of the rollercoaster of life. When I began to face some challenging issues that arose in my polyamorous journey, I found seeking honest support and advice difficult to come by. Even in polyamorous communities that go against the grain of social norms, this unspoken rule in society of only sharing positivity or sugar coating the harder aspects, still seems to be at play. That’s not because people don’t want to help, they certainly do. The issue is that not many people are openly and honestly talking about these common obstacles we all struggle with. 


I want to change this, to start real conversations, reflections and provide valuable tools to those serious about engaging in any open-relationship dynamic. I don’t see discussing difficult aspects of relationships and life as a negative. If we all go through similar struggles, why not share it and work together as a community to build each other up? Dealing with things alone can create shame, isolation and be detrimental to your health and relationships. Sharing something in a real and honest manner and realising you’re not alone helps eliminate those consequences, as well as creating feelings of empowerment and building trust and a deeper connection with others. 


After months of emotional turmoil and being unable to work through my concerns relating to polyamorous relationships, I sought help from a highly regarded poly-friendly life coach and sexologist Olivia Bryant. I wanted professional advice on issues such as: How to build self-worth, dealing with negative emotions (i.e. jealousy and insecurity), how to build trust and feel secure within my relationships, learning healthy communication skills, effective conflict resolution, creating agreements and more. Olivia granted me permission to share all content of our sessions as she sees the value in helping others as much as possible. She has an incredible amount of knowledge, insight and tools that I believe to be highly valuable to all interested.


It should be noted that I am no expert, nor qualified in any area of counselling. I will be sharing my private counselling sessions and the advice given are to suit my circumstances. I am however, capable of sharing this information in a broader sense with the goal of it being relatable to most. Take away the parts that resonate with you and simply discard the rest. If any of my content or choice of terminology and phrasing offends, that’s not my intention. Respect for what I share and the style I write in is expected. 


Background


Monogamous relationships are something I’ve always struggled with. Labelling myself a “commitment-phobe”, I often felt trapped and controlled in this relationship dynamic. I even cheated on a long-term partner out of resentment as he was jealous and emotionally manipulative. Committing this (as society would say) “ultimate betrayal”, left me riddled with guilt and shame for years. 


In my early 20’s I developed a sub-conscious pattern of exclusively dating someone for 2-3 months and always finding an “appropriate reason” to end the relationship. I found myself yo-yoing between the black and white world of monogamy and being single. Feeling as though I had to choose one or the other often left me feeling bitter and thinking there was something wrong with me. Why wasn’t there a grey area? 


Around my mid 20’s, I met a man who asked me on a date, but disclosed that he was polyamorous and already had multiple partners. Whilst he awaited my rejection, I was incredibly intrigued and dying to know more. Upon sharing his story with me, I was in disbelief as to how I did not know dating like this existed. That was my light bulb moment. Then a previous partner I had broken up with (true to form, we had been together 3 months), wanted to rekindle our relationship. We spoke about polyamory and he whole-heartedly agreed on us exploring this. So we were essentially a mono couple, turned poly and this is a very common dynamic. Two years on, we are still navigating this life together. 


Our experiences so far have been incredible. In being welcomed into the Melbourne Polyamorous Community, along with the online communities, I feel like I’ve finally found my people. It’s a beautiful, empowering and uplifting experience to be able to connect with people who just “get” you.  Nothing good ever comes without a little hard work though. Which is why I’m vowing to work on myself and my relationships. 


Moving Forward 


When seeking advice on various issues, I would usually speak with the more experienced non-monogamists. You quickly learn that they all have different ideas of polyamory, what their boundaries are and how they choose to work through the more difficult aspects of these dynamics. The advice I received was often conflicting and left me feeling lost and confused. This, along with my own naivety, lead to my partner and I jumping in head first and crossing each other’s unknown boundaries. Thus causing damage to our relationship. Unfortunately, even with the best communication, you don’t always know something is a boundary or a trigger for jealousy until after it has been crossed. Nonetheless there are tools you can put in place to lessen the chance of potentially hurting your partner/s and relationship/s. 


From these faults, the cracks began to show in our relationship and my own personal issues revolving around insecurity arose. After various experiences I was left questioning things like: What are acceptable boundaries? What are my own insecurities I need to work on? And when it comes to feeling angst and jealousy around certain situations, what feelings and behaviours are valid and which are unreasonable? The way things unfolded, I’m not sitting here complaining. If there are cracks in your relationship to begin with, they will come up one way or another.  My goal is to simply better myself and my relationships through effective strategies of communication and knowing my truth when it comes to seeking an open-relationship. Thus begun my counselling.  


Whether you’re a poly veteran or you’ve just learned the term and wish to know more, I have found these sessions, the tools and insights I have gained absolutely invaluable to my relationship with myself and all I choose to connect with. I hope everyone can learn something from what is to be shared and as a community we all start communicating more openly about such common and natural obstacles we all face.  


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