Sunday, January 19, 2014

Staying Vulnerable

Minor rant warning:

For the past five years, each month, I've created a discussion outline and hashed a couple of topics out with a group of our local community members.  During a recent meeting I was talking about self-advocacy, and I realized that I kept sharing information that isn't super comfortable or flattering to me. It's vulnerable bits.

Yep, I still struggle with overnight visits, in every direction.  Yep, I still feel hurt if my spouse takes off their ring while they're out with another partner.  Yep, I still get twitchy when my submissive partner has marks I didn't make. Yep, I still have feelings of territorial nature around "my" bed, and make requests around that.  Add that all together, and it makes me look neurotic, insecure, and perhaps even a bit controlling.  It's not even a comprehensive list.  And that's okay.  I'm working on all of that, and making progress that I, my partners, and my metamours, would say is demonstrable.

One of the biggest disservices that anyone in a functional, healthy, happy poly dynamic can choose is to make out as though they don't have ANY issues, anything they're working on, any points of growth they're addressing when discussing poly with others.  There is no such thing as perfection, and those who pretend their relationships are flawless, particularly while espousing high ideals they fail to achieve, hit my hypocrisy button.  At the least, say that this is what you're working towards.

The lack of vulnerability in the poly experienced within public discussions and writings raises the bar too high for those who are new, who are having a rough patch, who are learning, who are trying things out and wondering if anyone else has ever struggled with a particular problem.

To those who are working on things:  Stay open!  Be forthcoming.  Sure, there are going to be things that are too hot to handle in the moment, but after the fact, bring it out into the light.  Talk about the challenges you've faced, and how accord has been reached.  Talk about the failures, the meltdowns, the moments where despair was high, then share how you were able to reach deep, and pull things you didn't even know you had from the recesses of your soul, how your partners helped hold you up, not by giving you a pass, but by staying with you through those struggles.

Only through shared vulnerability can we help each other grow, without having to recreate the wheel in each and every poly relationship.


sin said...

I love this - it does help a lot knowing that other people struggle with similar things. Thanks.


Joyful Girl said...

I love your blog and this post is such a wonderful reminder for all us new poly bloggers. I've found it's tempting to stick with the happy stuff, just for the sake of convincing mainstream folks that look-it-can-work-I'm-happy-and-functional! But that's not the whole story, and it's comforting to read others' struggles with opening up.

Here is my first contribution to vulnerability: