Other times, certain topics feel off the table because of social stigma or taboo: sexuality, kink, non-monogamy, infidelity, mental illness. Stigmas and taboos are so powerful in part because they amplify the feelings of shame that keep people isolated, and they silence alternative ways of understanding things that can serve to connect people. How can I share this with someone else when they’re definitely going to think I’m a terrible person, or at least a weirdo?? What’s wrong with me that I can’t just be fine with the things that everyone else seems happy with??
I’ve been thinking lately about the work that I do. About how I actually help. I started wondering, Is there a way that I could summarize the work that I do with every one of my clients, in simple terms, regardless of their starting point?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
…But right now I want to talk to those of you whose first reaction to the idea of consensual non-monogamy was “Oh, hell f***cking NO!”
I just want to say––explicitly––I’m here for you too.
In the aftermath of recent political violence, in trying to make sense of what we’ve seen on a national level, my mind has repeatedly been drawn back to work that I’ve done with survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and domestic violence (DV). I want to use this post to share some of my reflections, and some of the parallels I see between that work and what as been playing out on a national scale.
“What do we do if one (or both) of us decides we no longer want our relationship to be open?” This isn’t a question that always gets discussed explicitly when partners are weighing whether to open their monogamous relationship and explore some form of consensual non-monogamy. Unfortunately, even when it is discussed, sometimes partners endContinue reading “Revert To Saved: Closing a Consensually Non-Monogamy Relationship”
To support my point that Hookup Culture doesn’t just go away even when people leave a college campus for the “real world”, I’m going to make a claim for which I have no actual evidence or support other than the fact that it makes intuitive sense to me: “ghosting”* is not a random or accidental or even super-mysterious trend—it’s the natural, entirely-predictable result of a central tenet of Hookup Culture being applied to “real-world” dating. Hookup Culture actively discourages communication, on-going interaction, acknowledgment of another person’s internal emotional world. I would argue it’s impossible to get “ghosted” in Hookup Culture, because ghosting is the absence of communication when there’s the assumption that there should be communication; within Hookup Culture, that absence of communication isn’t a bug in the software… it’s a feature.
Many of the individuals who participate in Hookup Culture aren’t giving up on wanting both emotionality and sexuality… they’re often just deferring that desire. And deferring that desire to engage all off the parts of themselves rather than just some parts allows people to keep stepping back into Hookup Culture, even if there are some times that they come away from it feeling like they’ve been treated more like a hyper-realistic sex doll.
In my post last week exploring some ideas about how to bring up the topic of consensual non-monogamy with a partner, I used the question “Do these pants make my butt look big?” as an example of how many of us have been socialized to tell “little white lies” in order to avoid hurting someone’sContinue reading “Reflections on “Little White Lies” and Consensual Non-Monogamy”
…The second option is to start with some persuasion, more like a traditional elevator pitch. You’re not trying to persuade them to open their relationship with you… that’s WAY too much for one conversation. However, it might be possible to persuade them that at least having the conversation will be worthwhile, and that talking about it might even help your relationship with each other.
Is opening my relationship going to take pressure off me or my partner, or will it cause a breakdown in the relationship? Before I dive into that question, which I introduced at the end of my previous post, I want to lay out a few of my assumptions about relationships: No one person (or relationship)Continue reading “Consensual Non-Monogamy and Taking the Pressure Off”