I read this article on Cosmopolitan and posted this tweet today:
No explicit conversations, relying on “mutual understanding”, ignoring boundaries as well as ignoring the act of ignoring boundaries. These non-monogamous rel’s didn’t work because some basic respect and communication were not in place first…
But I also wanted to elaborate further; because what struck me the most about these comments, was the absence, clearly from before the relationship was opened, of basic levels of respect and honest communication:
“[…] we never had an explicit conversation”
“[…] he never agreed to that. We just kept on keeping on doing what we were doing, and I compromised my needs to be with him”
“Every rule I could think of that allowed me to be ‘okay’ with the situation and feel safe, he would just mindlessly blow past, like using protection, not spending the night, not spending money on them like you’re in a relationship, getting tested, telling me beforehand, etc. It basically ended up as a free-for all that I just resented”
You can’t just ignore someone else ignoring the boundaries you agreed on. You can’t just “assume”. You have to have difficult conversations and you have to have them pretty much every day, or every week, until this stuff becomes second nature.
You must work to build and actively have a strong foundation of trust ass well as some good and very much already working communication skills in place first. You really do. Without these then a conscious relationship will never work. It can never work.
And, lest this all start to sound way too negative and way too much like hard work, I’ll add that the rewards of all this work are massive. Truly huge!
The feeling of strength that you have when you say the thing you have dreaded saying or asked the question you have dreaded asking. The sense of personal power when you push yourself to be radically honest about your feelings, as well as with yourself and about what is right for you, truly is the best feeling in the world.
So, do give conscious relationships a try, but don’t ever expect them to be easy. Make sure you have the basics of working and successful communication in place first, as well as some core agreements plus agreements about how you deal with the breaking of those agreements.
And, remember, Nexus is a great place to carry on these types of discussions so why not resister and join us!