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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Time for a pruning.

You have heard me talk before about poly people looking for other poly people for dating, socializing, or even networking. Despite a fairly large and growing poly community where I live it seems like people still have a hard time finding other poly people. Social groups are popular and grow quickly. Online poly sites seem to be gaining in popularity. At poly group meetings I often find myself sharing information about poly dating sites or how to find poly people. I recently even wrote an article about finding the poly community in your area.

For quite a long time I have enjoyed the diversity and challenge of finding other poly folks. It has led me on a journey I will never forget. I've seen the Swing community from the inside, the Gay community fairly up close. I've done some exploring in the BDSM community and talked with those building self-sustaining communities. I've learned what it means to be pagan, becoming interested in theology along the way. I've helped start festivals, social and support groups, internet sites, and even a winery. I've written blogs, opinions, reviews, and given quite a few interviews. With everything one of the biggest pleasures, if not the biggest, has been meeting a variety of people.

Recently I've had cause to ponder the exclusion of some people from my (I mean My personally) poly community.

A portion of my community is growing so quickly that it is becoming unmanageable. I won't bore you with the details, nor do I want to provide specifics in the event those from the community may read this, but the problem centers on a social group that has grown drastically in the past few months. In talking with a friend who has been involved in the group with me we came to discuss options for keeping the group of a manageable size. Before long we were talking about specific people in the community, and not long after that I realized we were talking about excluding people. Essentially we were figuring out which people from the group didn't fit with the majority and could be excluded. We were talking about the guy who seems to be interested mainly in finding sex partners and whom we have heard has been "too friendly" without invitation in the past. We were talking about a couple of people who can't seem to give a short answer to any question and dominate conversation with their own agenda. We talked about the people that could be called "fringe", with maybe more of a Swinger attitude than a Poly attitude. Then came the drama lovers and whiners.

The entire time I was thinking that I didn't like the idea of being exclusive when I've spent so much time trying to build an inclusive community. I pondered things a bit more and think I came to the root cause. When we try to build community, whether that means expanding our list of friends or more, inclusion is natural. Without a full social plate people tend to let most anyone into their social circle or community. Once that community is built a bit and has more members you begin to feel like you can pick and choose a bit more. And if it grows larger than you expected outright pruning becomes an option. It changes from being all-inclusive to somewhat exclusive. You begin to be picky.

It was at that point I realized I didn't like how I was thinking. At the next gathering of the group a few people must have been feeling the same way and started pushing the idea of making the group private as well as limiting membership. Having just been contemplating those same things the topic didn't surprise me much when it came up. While some of the concerns about privacy are valid, I think more than a few have to do with keeping the group smaller, more intimate, and with providing the ability to choose who will be included. In my mind, choosing who to include is the same as being exclusive. This is something I'm going to push back against pretty hard. My feeling is that the group wouldn't be growing as big as it is if it wasn't needed in the community. I felt it was needed which is the reason I run the group. To shift into an exclusive model would put the community back into the same position it was before which would mean I had accomplished nothing.

I have seen this happen before with festivals and even web sites so I'm not entirely surprised it happened with the group I've mentioned. What has surprised me is how fast it took place. Fortunately I have had some plans in mind for a while now and it will only be a matter of dusting them off and refining them a bit. Overall, my hope is to keep building an inclusive community. Just like pruning in my yard, I don't enjoy pruning much in my community.

So how about you? Is your poly world all-inclusive at this point or are you starting to think more exclusively? Or are you already pruning? What do you think of the scenario I presented? Would you take steps toward being exclusive or even private, or would you continue to include most anyone?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

3:30


It is 3:30 AM. I am awake. I am not happy about this.
Yes, I said 3:30 AM. 0300 hrs. This isn't the ass crack of dawn, it is above that. Before that. Above even the top curve of the ass. Above where the first hint of a depression appears, the lower (like way lower) back even. It is so friggin' early that if I turned around fast I would probably see yesterday. Yep, that early.

Anyway, so here I am laying in bed wondering why I am awake so early. My mind starts running and I am pretty much done with sleep. Hell, I am already processing the day ahead. But, I fight it. Trying to find a comfortable spot that will put me back to sleep. Yeah, that comfortable spot must have woken up before me and is downstairs making coffee or something because it sure as hell doesn't exist in my bed anymore. Dammit. I might as well get up and get started on my day. There are always emails to answer, articles to finish writing, events to post, and planning to be done. That's just my stuff, then I have real work it would be nice to get ahead of for once.

That was about the time that my life choices bit me in the ass. See, I live as a single parent with two teenage children. Why is a long story that I'm not going to recount right now so suffice to say, it has been this way for quite a while. During that long while I have pretty much chosen to live without a partner. That isn't to say I don't have partners, I do. The children know about them, know them, and see some stay overnight from time to time. For personal reasons, I just haven't felt the urge to have someone living here with us for quite a while. But while laying here awake at the pre-pre-ass-crack-of-dawn thinking about all the things I could be doing, it was what I wasn't thinking about that bothered me.

I wasn't thinking about that perfect put-me-back-to-sleep comfy spot. You know, the one where you roll over and find your partner ready to spoon with a hand on her boob and your face in her hair. Or when you are wiggling around and it wakes up your partner just enough that they move over to snuggle you. It was irritating at that moment that I was planning and thinking about my work day instead of wondering if the warm body next to me would mind a 3 am wakeup booty call. Nevermind. There was no warm body next to me.

Oddly enough, that also sealed the deal for getting out of bed and doing something productive. At that point I realized that to continue laying in bed would only result in me fantasizing about what might happen if there were someone else in bed with me. Which is almost as frustrating as waking up at 3:30 AM by myself. And thinking about *that* would definitely keep me awake.

So I got out of bed and started my day, checking emails and such. When I got caught up a bit I figured I would write down what had just happened. At the time I wasn't sure why. It really wasn't poly related. I can't complain or whine about there being nobody in my bed because after all, it was my choice. And do you really care what I'm doing at 3:30 AM? But there is a point.

Don't take that warm body next to you for granted. When you wake up with your hand on a hip, spooning some warm, delicious person think about how lucky you are. As they wiggle up against you, or you them, and find that soft, warm spot that will help you drift back to sleep think about how awesome it is to have them with you. Daydream about greeting them in the morning with a warm hug, a soft kiss, and a whisper in their ear saying "I am so lucky to have you" or "I loved waking up and cuddling with you in the middle of the night". Have a cup of coffee waiting for them when they walk into the kitchen and just hand it to them with a bright smile and think about how you enjoyed cuddling with them as they slept and didn't even realize what was happening. Whatever you do, remember how lucky you are to have someone willing to share a bed with you and how empty that same bed can feel at 3:30 AM with nobody else in it.

PP

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where oh where did my poly friends go?

Ever have one of those "duh" moments? I had one the other night at a Poly Social I attend regularly. Several folks mentioned having difficulty finding other poly people to socialize with and/or date. I would then mention the resources of which I was familiar while being surprised they hadn't found them already. That's when I had the "duh" moment and realized as involved as I am in my community I hadn't written an article on the topic, even generally, in quite a while.

So here it is boys and girls, my Introductory Guide to finding frolicking Poly people!

Online:

-Yahoo Groups.
This is a good place to start. Just do a search for Poly or Polyamory and you are sure to get plenty of hits. Narrow your search geographically until you find the groups in your area. Many aren't very active groups so don't be afraid to join a lot of them. If you are worried about privacy, create a throwaway email address and profile to use with joining all the groups. When you find the ones you like, join just those under your regular profile.

-Meetup.com
This is a great place to find out if Poly folks in your area are meeting up regularly and looking for others. Again, just do a search on Polyamory. Refine the results by location. Be aware that their search engine isn't completely logical and will often exclude results when a location + Polyamory is used for a search. If there aren't any Meetups going on in your area think about starting one!

-OKCupid.
This is a dating site that poly people generally seem to accept as very poly-friendly. Do an advanced search using "Poly" or "Polyamory" as a keyword. Email some of the people returned in your search introducing yourself and asking how they are involved in the local poly community. Chances are you will find someone willing to tell you where poly folks are active in your community.

-PolyMatchMaker.com
Another dating site that will allow you to search by location. I haven't used this one much so I can't really describe it or how well it works.

-FetLife
This is a site dedicated to the fetish lifestyle. It may seem a bit intimidating but if you don't post a lot of pictures of yourself, and aren't actively looking you shouldn't be bothered much. There seems to be a growing poly community on this site so it may provide some help.

-Facebook
Yes, believe it or not poly is growing on Facebook. Again, just do a search for Polyamory pages or groups. Several have sprung up recently. As mentioned with the Yahoo Groups, you can always setup a throwaway email address and create a second Facebook account so you aren't using your real name if privacy is a concern. This is becoming a fairly common practice on Facebook these days.

-LovingMore
http://www.lovemore.com/
Based in Colorado, Loving More is one of the larger Poly organizations around. Although their website is somewhat lacking, they do have a personals page and some decent resources. Posting on their forums about finding poly people in your area should get you some feedback and more ideas.

Some other websites with good information that may/may not help:

Franklin Veaux – Polyamory?
http://www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html#AnchorP1

The Polyamory Society
http://www.polyamorysociety.org/

Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA)
http://polyadvocacy.ca/

Polyamorous Percolations, Polyamory in the News!
Linkhttp://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/

World Polyamory Association
http://www.worldpolyamoryassociation.org/

Now lets talk about functionality a bit. Asking how to find poly people is a common question from people new to the lifestyle. Often I just want to ask them "If you were a welder how would you find other welders?" or "If you collect antique refrigerators how would you find other antique refrigerator collectors?" I think the answer is really the same for any interest you might have. Talk to the people you know and see who shares your interests. When you find those people, ask them what they do to be involved in their community and find like minded people. That should lead you to the community you seek. If it doesn't maybe you should think about being a catalyst to grow the community.

How hard is that? Just put the word out to your like minded friends that you are going to start a new Yahoo or Facebook group focused on a specific interest. Maybe put the word out that you are going to a happy hour at the local pub. See who shows up. Don't expect a lot of people but just hope to make a few contacts. Ask them to spread the word and before long you will be growing a community. The key is doing something you enjoy and inviting like minded people to join you. Then it will always be fun and never feel like a job or commitment.

But where do you meet these people? That's invariably the question that is asked again. The problem with answering it is that you really can't. Poly people come in all flavors and varieties. Some are pagan, some aren't. Some are geeks, some aren't. Some are bi-sexual, some aren't, or are some other orientation. Some are professionals, some are laborers. Some are Republicans, some are Democrats. It would be like asking someone where you can find redheads.

In my experience, hanging around with the pagan crowd, RenFaire crowd, gamers, and festival goers there seems to be a fair number of poly folks in those circles. Some swing circles also have a fair number of poly folks (so I understand) though that hasn't been my experience. Again, find something you enjoy such as a RenFaire and talk to those with which you seem to connect. Chances are you will find people at least interested in the same things you are, if not already involved in them.

And finally, know what you want but keep an open mind. If you don't know what you want you can seem unsure or indecisive. People pick up on that and will hesitate to get close to you. Likewise if you don't have an open mind about others people will often sense it and keep their distance, assuming you don't keep your own distance because of their opposing or unusual interests that don't match yours.

What about you? Do you have a good poly community or circle of poly friends? How did you find them? Did you have to cultivate your community or circle of friends? How did you do that? What worked and what didn't? Or maybe you have resources or suggestions to add to the list I started above?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Magic Bullet

As usual, I try to read different blogs and websites. I subscribe to more stuff than I can realistically read most of the time and when I can catch up with things it can quickly feel like poly overload. Lately I was overjoyed to catch up with my reading a bit because it gave me a chance to see trends and presented me with a gift! I received the most wonderful magic bullet for relationships!!

I was able to read some more detailed postings on a few sites and noticed an uptick in a long-time trend. Reasons for seeking a Unicorn seemed to be changing. Explanations behind the trend were fairly simple, my spouse and I are bored. The magic bullet? A hot-bi-babe or Unicorn!

Yes, I know, some of you are thinking "Oh no, not the Unicorn thing again!" What can I tell you, when that's what folks are talking about, that's what I tend to talk about.

Anyway, I've been seeing a lot of posts lately where M/F couples are suddenly looking for a Unicorn. That isn't unusual in itself but what is unusual is that the often heard explanations are missing. Gone are the comments like "My wife has always wanted to sleep with another woman so we are looking for a third." or "My wife really wants a girlfriend so I'm helping her find one". Instead I have seen a lot more of these posts that say simply, "We want to spice up our relationship". And with so many posts like that out there, how can they be wrong? A Unicorn must truly be the magic bullet that can save a poly relationship!

We are bored, add a Unicorn!
We want to spice up our sex life and make it more exciting, add a Unicorn!
My spouse and I seem to be drifting apart. We thought about getting a dog or having a baby but decided to just add a Unicorn instead!
My wife and I are fighting a lot lately and neither of us is sexually satisfied so we decided to add a Unicorn!

Realizing there is a pattern here I consulted my Absolute Definitive Guide to Successful Polyamorous Relationships (bonus CD and poster included) and checked the extensive rules section. Nowhere did I find an equation like: Poly Relationship + any problem = Add Unicorn!

I was, and still am probably, a bit confused since I couldn’t find it in the rule book. Then I ran across a very interesting thread topic; "Anyone know of any successful dual-alpha female households?" I sat down to think long and hard about that one. Honestly, I don't know of many. I even asked one of my partners and they couldn't think of many.

Putting those two things together left me with the thought; Unicorn hunting isn't something new. And with so many people wanting that HBB to join them I should expect to see a significant number of relationships with a F/M/F design. Since I don't, is it a generally viable relationship model or only specifically viable, dependent upon personalities? And if it is viable dependent on personality, are the two females truly alpha-females at that point?

Regardless I think the initial logic I'm seeing lately is flawed. Adding a third person regardless of gender, to try and fix either problems or voids, to an existing relationship seems like a bad move. There is no magic bullet when it comes to relationships. In my opinion, the third person couples want to add often seems like the final bullet that kills their relationship rather than the magic bullet that saves it.

What say you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Liftoff!

“Approach, this is Poly, commencing landing now.”

As the title suggests, what goes up must come down. From an early age what we all learn to hope for is that the landing is as controlled as the takeoff was, rather than a streak of flame and smoke leading to a pile of twisted wreckage. That principle is applied to life in general as we mature. We are quick and smooth to launch into a career, hoping that it will lead to money and recognition leading us gently into the golden years, rather than resulting in a firing. We step into relationships hoping for a lifetime of exploration and happiness, rather than an ugly blowup.

I don’t think the poly world is much different really. The style is different, so maybe we are flying a passenger jet that will hold a lot of people rather than a two-seater puddle jumper. But either way we are often better and less nervous about takeoff than we are landing.

Very recently I experienced something of a paradigm shift with that concept. A partner of mine and I have become good friends with another couple. We enjoy many of the same things, have an amazingly similar outlook on life in general, and can talk as a group for hours with hardly a pause between the laughter. Included is a wonderfully similar design to our poly beliefs. My partner (Lucy) and the male of the couple (Fred) have an exceptionally strong connection with each other, sharing affinities for producing music and art along with similarities to their current paths in life. I also share a fondness for Fred, and a growing affection for his partner Ethel. Fred and Ethel appear to feel that we all have good connections as well.

What surprised me recently was the realization that although we all connect so well, have poly beliefs that mesh wonderfully, and are very open with each other, we have never explored our relationship(s) beyond good friendship.

As I realized this the other day I wondered why things had never developed beyond friendship. Had we misunderstood Fred and Ethel’s design of polyamory and their relationship hopes? Maybe they simply weren’t attracted to Lucy and I?

Pondering things a bit I realized that much like my airplane analogy above, maybe we were all just afraid to launch. It was possible, I thought, that maybe we had become such good friends there was a hesitation by all of us to try and move things in a different direction. The next theory to pop into my head was that it wasn’t so much the launch we were afraid of as it was the fiery, smoking, streak through the sky leading to a pile of burnt rubble.

I brought this up with Lucy posing the question to her “Why do we have this great thing with Fred and Ethel, we are all open to the idea of relationships, they are the most amazing couple match we have encountered, yet we seem to be parked in friendship mode?” She quickly responded that she didn’t understand that either. As we talked a bit Lucy, who is usually a bit more outgoing than I am, decided she would ask that question the next time we all hung out together. The next time we were all together hesitation, or maybe distraction, left the question forgotten. But Fred, who is somewhat outgoing, did take a bit of initiative. And then I took a bit myself. We all seemed a bit hesitant at first but things smoothed out quickly. Before long Lucy and Fred were becoming quite cozy while Ethel and I sat on the couch and I asked her why our relationship had never progressed. (I didn't get much of an answer to that question).

To make a long story short, the relationships between the four of us are moving quite slowly, almost casually. What I believe has happened is that Lucy and I have found a couple much like ourselves who has had their fair share of fiery crashes. We all believe so strongly in taking things slow and trying to make sure there is a fit that we've all forgotten how to take the initiative. In a way, we have forgotten how to have fun and enjoy the launch. We are preoccupied with making sure things seem right, that we don't step on feelings, or we aren't just engaging in a fling.

What I hope to remind you of today is to have fun. Yes, you can use good judgment. Yes, you can take things slowly and make sure they are right for you and others. But don't overcomplicate life by trying to explore and define every variable. Don't try to figure out the future. Be reasonable and after you have exercised some good judgment have faith in yourself. Kick the throttle open, pull back the yoke, and head for the clouds.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pregnant Polys pursued for production.

*Note: I was contacted and asked to get this information out to the community so I am simply passing it along. Please perform your own due diligence if you are interested in appearing in the program.*

A large cable health network is casting expectant mothers who are involved in polyamorous relationships for a series about pregnancy. Our goal is to shed light on non-manogamy as a healthy alternative to dealing with relationships and also how it can serve as a solid foundation for building a family.

We would like you to share your story on our show. Chosen participants will be filmed for a total of 5 days and there will be financial compensation granted for your time.

WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR:
• Pregnant women involved in polyamorous relationships.

This program is part of a six-part series on pregnancy. Each episode follows an expectant mom as she deals with the ups and downs of pregnancy while navigating through her unique set of circumstances.

If you are pregnant and have an interesting story to share, we’d love to hear from you.
IPA2casting @ sirensmedia.com (no spaces) / 301-920-9875

Update: I spoke to a friend who explored this a bit and she reports the series is for TLC. I recommend you look at some other TLC poly/alternative sexuality focused series' to get an idea of the end result you can expect.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pondage?

At a polyamory meeting the other night I heard something interesting from one of the members. They suggested that BDSM and polyamory are more related than a lot of folks think.

Now, I'm not an expert in BDSM, GLBTQ, or any other acronym really so be gentle with me if I don't get this exactly right.

The person talking mentioned how in the BDSM world, and in Master-Slave or Master-Pet relationships particularly, there are often some very specific agreements made between partners. Although they can be verbal, with many there is a specific written contract outlining rules, expectations, and agreements, signed by the involved parties. These contracts seem to be as much for safety and establishing physical boundaries and expectations as they are for defining a relationship.

What interested me is when the speaker suggested these contracts can be ported to other relationships. From a master perspective the person said when they are entering into a new relationship they will present the person with a copy of their existing relationship contracts. This does two things; 1. The new person will know exactly what boundaries exist with their current relationship(s), 2. The contract(s) can be a launching point for writing a contract with the new person.

Their suggestion is that the same contract/agreement method can be used with polyamory. Essentially you would have an agreement written with your current poly partner which could then be used as described above. The expectation is the agreement would serve not only as mentioned above, but also as a way to describe your poly lifestyle to potential new partners. It would also help to specifically show what is allowed in agreements with other partners and how that could affect your relationship with the new partner.

Now, I'm a fairly anal-retentive person. I may not like a lot of rules and restrictions, but when they exist I like them well defined and re-examined on a regular basis for validity. I also enjoy writing quite a bit, both personally and professionally. I truly love documenting processes and procedures and am thrilled when during the writing I can find ways to streamline, better define, or optimize something. That said, I've only used a written contract once and that was by accident. I was writing down a list of wants and desires, some tongue-in-cheek, which I then sent to my lover. She accepted the list as a relationship guideline though we never signed the document or revisited it during our relationship. In the end the list served only to communicate my hopes and desires for the relationship rather than acting as any type of agreement.

I wonder about a few things with a written agreement of this type. First is that it isn't a binding contract of any type and is still susceptible to misunderstanding. Could it create a false sense of security? Could parties to the agreement assume that if something (like communication) wasn't taking place then it didn't need to take place rather than verifying? I've also had several potential partners scared off by the structure of polyamory. Particularly the openness and desired inclusiveness with a preference toward a family model. Would a written contract be overwhelming to someone who had never seen one before? And I wonder about maintenance of a written agreement since relationships seem to be in something of a constant state of flux. Would editing, updating, and approving changes take a lot of time away from the relationship? And finally, would a written agreement limit the spontaneity and dynamic properties of a relationship?

At the same time I can see this type of arrangement having some nice benefits. People tend to remember things differently. Sometimes with huge differences. Putting things down in writing and making them easily available for review could go a long way toward avoiding memory problems. It would also lend some credibility to a relationship design and possibly create a sense of security, much like a legal marriage. And I do like the idea of porting written agreements to new relationships.

I'm interested enough in this concept to give it a try. I think creating an agreement with an existing relationship might be a good way to start. With verbal agreements already in place it would simply be a matter of putting them on paper and having both of us agree to things. Using an already defined relationship for the process would also allow us to try a written agreement while understanding it is a new process and may have some kinks.

Give me some feedback on this one before I try it. Have you ever had a written relationship agreement? How did it work, or not work? What things would you suggest to avoid? What specifically do you think should be required in any written agreement? What about the process of presenting existing agreements to new partners? Or do you think the whole idea is ridiculous and isn't something you would ever try? And finally, from the perspective of a new partner would this be a turn-on or a turn-off?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sensitivity training.

I write a lot about communication. Have you noticed? I believe in it very strongly and think it forms part of the foundation for any good relationship. I also enjoy it. But more than that, I live what I preach. I've been told by several of my partners over the years that my level of communication when it comes to relationships, problems, and feelings is far beyond anything they have experienced before. And I don't just expect communication from others, I deliver it as well.

Something else I believe in strongly are rules. I may not have a lot of them, but those I have are important. They form another piece of the relationship foundation providing guidelines and expectations. My partners know they have complete freedom to follow their hearts. They know I expect reasonable consideration of my feelings and respect. And again they know I walk the walk, considering their feelings against my actions and striving to respect them always.

Now so you know I'm not just patting myself on the back I will get to the point.

No matter how well you communicate with your partner(s), how well you have defined the rules, or how strongly you respect one another, people are still sensitive. Feelings can still change in an instant. Something that has been agreed upon in many previous conversations can still be a struggle when you find yourself actually in a situation.

As often happens with me, I found myself in a challenging situation that made me examine my own feelings and mentality.

My partner Lucy and I were recently visiting with a friend of ours I'll call Fred. Fred has an obvious interest in Lucy and has for a while. Lucy isn't very interested in anything more than a friendship with Fred. Lucy and I have talked about Fred quite a bit and I've said many times I wouldn't be surprised if Lucy and Fred develop more of a physical relationship at some point. I've even told Lucy (though she doesn't need it) that she has my blessing to do as she will with Fred. We had been visiting Fred at his house for quite a while, having good conversation and laughs, when I had to step away for a few minutes. I returned to find Fred and Lucy cuddling together which seemed like quite a sudden shift and caught me a bit off-guard emotionally. I quickly decided to give them some privacy and try to center my emotions before reacting.

After a few minutes to myself I realized I was simply surprised because the cuddling had been completely unexpected. The fast rising feelings of jealousy started to dissolve as I realized Lucy wasn't doing anything we hadn't talked about already and I felt much better.

I busied myself in the kitchen for a bit when Lucy popped in to tell me she was going to take a shower. This is often code for "Want to join me?" or (since she knows how I love a freshly showered woman) "Meet me in the bedroom after my shower". I continued what I was doing, keeping an ear open for the sound of running water. When I heard the water had stopped I headed to the bedroom, entering after a quick knock on the door. What I found was Lucy on the bed naked while Fred gave her a massage.

My brain went from zero to 60 faster than a Maserati on steroids. I had just recovered from the earlier shock of my partner suddenly cuddling with a guy she professed not to be interested in, to now being naked in bed with him massaging her. Realizing once again that I needed to center myself, I quickly apologized for the interruption and left the room. Again it only took me a few minutes to realize that Lucy enjoys a good massage and Fred has some massage experience. What had happened was that I had simply been surprised by something I didn't expect to happen. At the same time, I remembered conversations Lucy and I had previously and wondered how I would have reacted had I walked in on more than an innocent massage.

The point I'm trying to make is that no matter how experienced you are with polyamory, how good your communication is, how well you have defined rules, expectations, freedoms, or scenarios, you are still a sensitive human being capable of being surprised. And you are just as capable of surprising your partner. It may not be that what you are doing is wrong at all, just simply unexpected.

Thinking back, had Lucy just quickly told me she was going to cuddle with Fred I wouldn't have been shocked at all. Had she casually mentioned he was going to give her a massage I wouldn't have been surprised by it when I walked in on them. (Actually I would have given them peace and privacy and not walked in at all). Does that mean she has to check in with me and tell me what she is doing? Not at all. We have an open, adult relationship and I'm able to deal with my feelings as such. At the same time would it have avoided an emotional roller-coaster ride for me? Definitely. Could it have minimized the potential for problems? Absolutely.

So next time you are in a similar situation think about your partner a bit. Even if what you are doing is acceptable, is it expected? Would your partner be surprised if they walked in on you? Would they come looking for you if you suddenly disappeared to go cuddle with someone? And when they found you, would they be surprised? If so then maybe casually mentioning your plans isn't such a bad idea. Telling a potential playmate you need a moment to check-in with your partner shouldn't be a big deal. If it is do they really respect your other relationships?

Just take a moment and ask yourself; how would I want to be treated? I know I will be asking myself that question the next time the situation is reversed.

P.S. With the owl picture I was trying to show sensitivity with a picture of a person or animal squinting. The owl looks somewhat angry rather than just squinting but I really liked the picture so I used it anyway.