This piece I (K) believe is the most important part of starting this conversation about non-monogamy. J and I already had a pretty solid foundation. If we didn’t already feel so comfortable with each other and were already so honest, we would have never been able to have the conversations that we did.
Honesty and solid communication are central to experiencing non-monogamous relationships, for everyone involved. If you aren’t having fun, you have to be able to tell your partner. If you aren’t comfortable with something, you have to be able to tell your partner. Sometimes you really have to be brutally honest with yourself and your partner: yes, I really am very attracted to that person. No, I really did not like it when you did that. It really hurt my feelings, when… I really need you to…
A huge part of being honest with each other and communicating well is having, as much as possible, proactive conversations. For us, we like to be able to imagine situations and imagine possible emotions and feelings that arise from those situations. That way, we can attempt to address and work through emotions before ever encountering those situations, and if we don’t think we won’t like something, we either won’t try it or will approach the idea later. It has happened several times already through our relatively short journey that we think that certain activities would be “off-limits” for one or both of us, only to find out that we are actually interested in them. Retroactive conversations for us don’t work; I (K) feel like I might ignore or try to push aside feelings in the moment and not be honest afterwards. If we try something without talking about it first, the experience might not be very enjoyable for anyone because one or both of us could be anxious, stressed out about the experience, or unsure. None of those feelings should be associated with great and fun sexual experiences!!
We greatly appreciate honesty and real communication with our other partners. We give honest feedback, and really want others to give us feedback. We want to know, as hard as it might be, to hear if a potential partner is not attracted to one of us, or if they just didn’t feel any chemistry. That is much better, in our opinions, than being led on, only to continue having sub-par experiences because someone is “trying” to be attracted to one of us.
I (K) actually wrote everything above a few weeks ago, and came back to continue this conversation about honesty and communication. J and I recently had an experience where I was feeling so overwhelmed that I ignored our #1 rule: we assume that we are both 110% comfortable with what is going on unless one of us says otherwise. I was so caught up with what was going on, that I didn’t take enough time for myself to be honest and communicative. I entered a situation that, in the end, was not something I wanted to experience. I ended up making the whole experience less than great for both of us, and weakened the trust that J and I have. I now know what it feels like to be less than 110% comfortable with a new experience, and I can see how I can avoid a situation like this in the future. It is difficult to interrupt a potentially good time for my partner, but it is extremely important for me to be honest so that a good experience is even possible for any of us. While the entire situation was not ideal, and my reaction to it and ability to communicate were not great, it reminded me to clearly communicate my feelings and any reservations.
Honesty and good communication skills were central not just in starting J and I down this road of nonmonogamy, but also are central pieces to our day-to-day lives, and our conversations and continued experiences with new and other partners. I’m sure we will be blogging on honesty and communication as we continue this journey!