Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Seven Deadly Sins of Relationships

If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions then the Seven Deadly Sins of Relationships are the merry travel songs shared along the trip.  They are the Horsemen of the Polypocolypse! Well, um, I suppose you could also look at them as a gaggle of dark, ill-tempered dwarves … but still, beware the Sins!

Shun … Shun!

Selfishness.  It’s not always about you. It may not even be about your partner’s happiness. Sometimes it’s about the joy of your partner’s partner. Have you asked yourself: how are you striving to delight others in your extended network? Is this your responsibility? What more can you do to enable others in your pod? Now, you don’t need to become Mother Teresa here, just give a little to expect a lot more in return.

Impatience. Pushing your partners into uncomfortable situations, engaging in non-negotiated scenes, rushing bullheaded into new relationships, making unreasonable demands of others. Some don’t move at the same pace you do (Goddess knows that I’ve had to endure countless hours of introverted culture myself) and others have legitimate fears concerning the lifestyle. Are you taking the time to address those fears? Are you listening to and acknowledging their concerns or dismissing them to get what you want?

Anger. Everyone gets frustrated - everyone gets mad from time to time. Raw exposed emotions are a healthy and expected part of your kinky alternative lifestyle. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about here is chronic anger. A chip on your proverbial shoulder; open hostility shown to partners and metamours; repeated escalation of conversations to an emotional crescendo; passive aggressive behaviors; exceedingly violent responses; a need to turn anger into a vehicle for attention.  Catch yourself: don’t allow the raw emotion of a scene, a bad discussion, or a painful end to a relationship define how to relate to those you care about.

Vanity. Hey, it’s okay to love yourself. Poly is generally sex-positive so it’s even okay to love yourself, but it’s really not okay to allow your own self-adoration to eclipse your own failings. Nobody is perfect. Nobody does this extended-alt-kinky-relationship stuff perfectly and exactly right every time. We all make mistakes. You can’t hold yourself let alone others to impossible standards. Newsflash: your fecal matter likely exudes a pungent odor - there’s always room for growth, self-discovery, and enlightenment. Embrace it.

Dishonesty. Okay, lying is bad. I don’t need to tell you that. Lying erodes trust. But ongoing deceit is even worse. Deceit is the destroyer of trust. Chronic deceitful behavior relies on a sort of self-righteous sense of entitlement where you’ve justified a means to an end: to get what you want, it’s okay to lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, and conceal from people you love, in perpetuity, for as long as you need to as to have your needs met. Ongoing patterns of deceitful behavior simply abuse. That there’s what we call a ‘deal-killer’.

Jealousy. It’s the Godzilla of emotions. But your job isn’t to kill Godzilla. Everybody knows you can’t kill a giant radioactive lizard that shoots lasers out of its eyeballs – it just comes back more badass, like, for instance, a cyborg giant radioactive lizard. With missiles. And a targeting system. Nay. Your job is to put Godzilla on a far away island and make sure it has no incentive to leave and trample Tokyo. Manage this emotion. Contain it. Better: use it. Find ways to talk about your concerns with others – either in a community setting or directly with your partners. Use jealousy as an excuse to start up meaningful conversation that’ll translate into needed remedies.

Unpredictability. Finally, pretend for a moment that you’ve a date with a new person and its dynamics have been thoroughly negotiated with your primary partner. It will include these things; it won’t include those things; it will certainly not “go there”. But it does, regardless of your promises, or it doesn’t, and your primary partner expresses passive aggressive behavior over “how far it went” even though it may have fallen within the negotiated boundaries. Or what if the rules concerning time out, protection, or budget are constantly shifting? Or what if an exception made for one is suddenly applied to all? Many of these scenarios create anxiety because we don’t know what’ll happen next. There’s no predictability and that puts everyone on edge.

Now, chances are, you’re not indulging in all of these sins at once and planning to put your metamour’s head in a FedEx box. Yeah, I’m sorry - you’re just not that evil - but if you’re looking for some tell-tale signs of disharmony in your network, just look for the glowering faces of the ill-tempered dwarves. One of two of them might be hiding in there, somewhere.



sin said...

Love it - these are smart.

Anonymous said...

You are so correct in your comments about deceit. It has almost killed my 25yr relationship with my partner. He lied to me and his lover for two years. I can only assume he wanted what he wanted and didn't care who he hurt to get it. Devastating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you both for reading -

Anon: sounds awful. I recently heard of a similar situation with a partnership of 18 years; it's difficult for me to imagine such a long-term connection stained by that kind of behavior - my best wishes and hopes to you.