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Monday, September 27, 2010

My network is disconnected.

The job hunting landscape has changed if you hadn't noticed. Gone are the days of looking through the Wanted section in the local paper. Even looking for Help Wanted signs probably isn't going to do you much good. Of course, you can walk up to the receptionist at the big corporation where you want to work but your resume will likely end up in a pile with a thousand or so others.

The key these days is networking. Leveraging who you know to find what you need. It is depending on people you might not normally depend on to help you do something you really don't want to do. Fun huh?

While helping some friends recently it occurred to me that the idea of networking could, and probably should, be applied to polyamory as well.

When relationship problems appear it is often easy to overlook them as temporary, stress induced, or caused by other outside influences. The idea that in time things will return to normal can be a dangerous trap leading us to not realize how serious a problem is until it is too late. Other times when we do realize there is a problem we try to solve it on our own, almost as if we are ashamed for others to know of our relationship issues. Funny how most of us are happy to complain to anyone and everyone who will listen once the relationship has ended though isn't it?

I propose that dealing with relationship problems is much like job hunting these days. Instead of sitting behind a computer or TV screen we need to get ourselves and our problems out in the open. Lean on your network of friends for advice, understanding, or simply for distraction.

If your SO is going out on dates while you sit home alone thinking about how lonely you are, call some friends. Go see a movie or just get together to talk. Grab lunch or a drink. Do something with your friends to take your mind off being home alone.

If you are having problems with your SO and can't seem to find common ground find a friend to talk with. Sometimes other people can provide a fresh set of eyes on a problem or provide a different perspective. If I do this I caution whomever I'm confiding in that I don't want them taking sides, they are only getting my side of the story, and I may not agree with or follow their advice. I truly want their best, most unbiased thoughts.

And your network doesn't just include your friends. With Polyamory you have a community and lifestyle that is small enough and new enough a lot of people are looking for advice. Remember there are message boards and forums around where there are many folks happy to give advice. You can be as anonymous as you like. Of course you will get some ridiculous advice from trolls but that is the beauty of the online world; you can ignore whomever you want. Being open to advice and new ideas doesn't mean you have to be naïve, use your judgement.

Being unemployed and job hunting is considered by many to be a time of crisis in a persons life. I think relationship problems can also be a time of crisis for a lot of people. There are phases of acceptance, depression, and inactivity with both so it seems to me the advice of leaning on your network is also good for both.

Try your poly network, however you see it configured, the next time you feel like you are alone with a relationship problem. You just might be surprised by what you find.

How do you deal with relationship issues when you feel you are at a loss? Do you close down and try to solve them yourself? Do you rely on a particular confidant for help? Have you tried using your poly network to help? If so, did you find help in your poly network?

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