problems in polyamory

Open Relationship Advice: How do I Work on My Insecurities?

how do i work on insecurities.jpg

Ask me anything is a relationship advice column written by Gina Senarighi, a couples therapist turned retreat leader who offers online support for non-traditional relationships of all flavors.  

Submit your Ask Me Anything question right here or read more Ask Me Anything here.


This week's question: 

"I lived with/dated a poly man for 18 months. He is a gem of a person! His wife, her boyfriend and I had a good relationship and are still in touch.

These last few months I've been dealing with jealousy and insecurity, so much so that we broke things off and he moved out.

I'm pretty devastated, and really want things to work, but need time to get my head on straight. We agreed to check back in a few months and see where things stand. I want to be ready and healthy for this.

How do I figure out how to work on jealousy and insecurity?"

I'm so sorry you broke up. I hope you'll consider working on your insecurity and jealousy for your own well-being, whether you get back together or not. 

The first step in managing jealousy and insecurity is learning to allow them. Most of us struggle with jealousy and insecurity and most of our struggle is beating ourselves up because they exsist.  

But jealousy and insecurity are normal, natural emotional states. If we ignore them we're ignoring part of ourselves. And we would never ignore other emotions (joy, excitement, calm etc) so why sever this part of ourselves?

I know joy and happiness are so much easier to sit with. But if you can bring yourself to accept that jealousy and insecurity are natural, you may be able to sit with them a while and learn from them. Often they're trying to tell us something useful. 

Next time they show up, find somewhere comfy and get something to write with. Then do a free-write (unedited, no-judgment allowed) interviewing them.  Ask your jealousy and insecurity:

  • What do they want most?
  • What are they trying to tell you?
  • What other emotions are they traveling with?
  • What are they trying to protect?

And answer for yourself:

  • How does spending time with jealousy/insecurity help me?
  • How do I feel when I believe my jealous thoughts?
  • How do I feel when I choose to believe my insecure thoughts?
  • How do I want to feel in this moment? What do I want to focus on/be present for?
  • Who would I be if you weren't focusing on them?

Notice what you can learn from these emotions if you allow them.  There is likely some important learning here for you.  If you want a coach to walk you through creating a different relationship with your jealousy and insecurity, call me, I'm here for you. 


polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC keeps non-traditional relationships healthy and vibrant as a coach and retreat leader in Portland, OR.  

She can help you:

  • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
  • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependecy
  • open your relationship and practice polyamory with care
  • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnection
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

 

Relationship Advice: How do I Regain Her Trust?

polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

Ask me anything is a relationship advice column written by Gina Senarighi, a couples therapist turned retreat leader who offers online support for non-traditional relationships of all flavors.  

Submit your Ask Me Anything question right here or read more Ask Me Anything here.


This week's question: 

"I've been in a relationship for nearly two years. Recently we had some misunderstanding issues, regarding privacy, boldness, and respecting each other's feelings. How can I solve the problem, and regain trust?"

I'm so glad you're asking.  Rebuilding trust is so critical to staying together- and most of us are clueless when it comes to relationship repair work.  Thanks for bringing this up!

Trust is touchy because it's so difficult to build up and so easy to lose.  It gets built up in the tiniest of everyday actions - so small it can seem invisible.  And so tiny building it back can seem like it takes forever. 

And building trust back after it's been broken is a struggle because we rarely can see the full impact our actions have on a partner.  Just as it's built in tiny increments, it can be broken in tiny increments- so tiny we can miss them if we're not invested in paying attention.

I offer that information only to help give you a little perspective. Lots f folks get impatient when trying to earn trust from a loved one after we've broken it. But it takes time- sometimes, lots of time to get back to a similar trusting place. And getting impatient isn't going to help.

You can do it though. If you stick with it.  

The keys to building trust after a break are twofold: you have to both repair the specific break, and you have to keep momentum building on the tiny incremental trust-installments you've already made. 

Repairing the Trust Break

When trust has been broken you have to apologize.  But that doesn't mean just saying you're sorry.  Apologies have four essential parts if they're going to work. 

  1. Acknowledge the specific behaviors you did that broke trust
  2. Acknowledge the emotional impact on your partner
  3. Suggest an alternative behavior you'll do if a similar situation comes up in the future
  4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: Follow through on what you said in #3

The more specific you can be when taking ownership of your actions and the more clearly you can connect to the impact it had on your sweetie the better.  But above all, be sure when you suggest alternatives for the future, you offer something you KNOW you can commit to following through.  Follow through is where trust is built.

Keeping Trust-Momentum Building

The other part of regaining trust is to keep the day-to-day trust nourishing behaviors you already have in place moving in the right direction.  We build trust when what we do and what we say are in alignment. 

So start paying extra close attention to the agreements, promises, and commitments you make with your partner and be especially careful not to over-promise. And start looking for ways to make more promises you KNOW you can follow through on.  As you create verbal agreements and follow through on them- even tiny ones- trust between you will slowly return.

I'm sorry you and your sweetie are in the difficult place of repairing trust.  But with care and intention, you can get back to a sweetly connected place again. Let me know if you'd like help along the way.


    polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

    Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a retired couples therapist, sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and keeping non-traditional relationships healthy and vibrant.  

    She can help you:

    • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
    • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
    • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependecy
    • open your relationship and practice polyamory with care
    • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnection
    • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns 

    Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

    Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

     

    Most common issues in Polyamory

    five most common issues in polyamory

    After helping hundreds of couples decide to open their relationships with integrity five critical themes keep showing up over and over.  These are the most common issues couples struggle with in their first years of open relationships.  

    If you're thinking about shifting to more monogamish relationship practices, give these a review and talk them through with your sweetie in advance to proactively work them out.

    1. Time Sharing

    Any online polyamorous community will tell you time is the #1 issue non-monogamous couples face (even those practicing a long time).  Couples fight about time in two specific ways:

    Quantity of time - the actual number of hours or days a partner spends with a partner vs other partners

    Example: We spend Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday night together but you spent every morning with your live-in partner... so they got more time.

    Example: Amount of time spent together communicates preferential relationship status to me, so I might ask you to spend only one evening a week with other partners.

    Quality of time - the value of the time spend with one partner vs other partners  

    Example: We spend weekday nights together doing laundry and bathing children, but you spend both your weekend evenings out dancing with another partner.  I wish we went out more- so I have envy of those weekend nights you spend with the other partner- meanwhile, the other partner may wish for more casual time with you, like what we share.

    Example: Your other partner lives in a tropical location so you use most of your vacation leave from work to travel to see them.  I envy getting to travel to tropical locations with you.

    Default Togetherness

    The other way time can become an issue is common in both monogamous and nonmonogamous relationships.  Lots of people believe when they are in a committed relationship with someone all free time by default should be spent together.  I call this default togetherness.

    This can bring up tension when making plans with other friends and lovers (or on your own) as someone with that default togetherness.  I highly recommend talking this belief through with your partner (no matter your level of openness) because it will be important to create a clear communication process so you both know when to expect time together (and when you'll be nourishing your own individuality). 

    2. Privacy Concerns 

    There are a number of common privacy-related concerns that arise when couples start seeing other people.  Most of them center on being outed, keeping secrets, and sharing information.  Here are some to consider and discuss:

    Being Outed

    Lots of people worry about being outed as non-monogamous (what happens if you're on a date and you run into my mom/coworker/boss/the kids...?).  Talk with your partner about the folks who concern you the most can create a plan for when and if they cross paths with someone you know.

    (Truthfully, this happens far less frequently in reality than in most folks anxious minds).

    Keeping Secrets vs Having Boundaries

    This is a tricky one. As you start building more independent lives there will be some things you won't share with each other and sometimes that can feel threatening. Many couples I see are used to sharing EVERYTHING with each other- and that doesn't usually work in ethical non-monogamy.

    Criteria to help you determine when to ethically share:

    • You're not breaking a privacy boundary for another partner - you have their consent to share information about them***
    • You're not contributing to any form of comparison
    • You're not using one partner to sort through issues or feelings about the other
    • It's helping you build or deepen connection and understanding with the person you're talking to

    *** I see a lot of folks consider their primary/original partner's privacy when sharing information but not the new partner.  Please check in with prospective and new partners about if they're comfortable with you sharing their photo/profile/name or a review of your time together with your original partner.  Ethical non-monogamy requires consent all around.

    Interrogation

    Look, it's only natural to be curious about what your honey is experiencing without you, but sharing details about connections really can make things tense in the early stages of openness. 

    Before you start grilling your partner, or really, before you ask anything about their dating experience with other people I urge you to ask yourself the following questions: 

    • Why do I want to know? How will this information help me?
    • Is this something I would want someone asking me?
    • How will this information bring me closer to my partner?

    If you aren't certain the questions you want to ask will help you or will move you closer, wait.  You can always get clearer and ask later- there's no reason to rush.  If you sit with your curiosity it might start telling you something.  For example:

    "Is she prettier than me?" Might mean I want more reassurance about my own appearance/attractiveness.  Or it might tell me I want to invest more energy in feeling attractive on my own.

    "Sneaky Detective"

     I often see clients become what I call the Sneaky Detective.  They bypass sharing their curiosity directly with their love and try to get answers on their own and without consent.  

    Some things the sneaky detective might do:

    • facebook/online stalking/sleuthing  
    • read somebody else's emails (or mail)
    • listen in on conversations
    • read through texts or messages without permission

    Unfortunately the sneaky detective BOTH breaks trust between you (when it's most important) and consistently leads to misunderstandings (I've yet to see this lead anywhere good- and I've seen a LOT of it folks).  

    3. Physical Energy

    I see a lot of people overlook this one.  Maintaining a healthy relationship requires energetic investment.  Sometimes we just don't have the energy for lots of relationships.  

    Questions to ask yourself to assess your energy reserves:

    • How will I know if my self-care is out of balance? What will I compromise in order to prioritize my self-care?
    • How will I know if my original partner and I need to spend more quality time together? What will I compromise if I find I need to keep this in balance?
    • What kind of boundaries will help me maintain wellness even when investing energy in more people?

    4. Shared Resources and Authority

    One of the ways we communicate our commitments in this culture is our decision to share resources and/or decision-making authority with a someone we love.  Lots of folks who start opening their relationship quickly realize these areas are more important than they previously realized.  

    Review the areas below and notice which resonate with you as areas that have value. 

    • pet responsibilities/meeting pets
    • spaces (restaurants, church, venues etc)
    • shared vehicles (boat, bike, motorcycle, car etc)
    • sharing a home
    • homemaking responsibilities
    • business ownership
    • learning/schooling
    • giving/receiving advice
    • shared information (who do you tell important stuff to first?)
    • sharing a calendar 
    • vacation time
    • making future plans
    • sharing financial responsibility
    • making financial decisions
    • giving gifts  or investments together
    • community identity (think of roles you might share in community spaces)
    • meeting family
    • co-parenting/meeting children

    Then ask yourself what behaviors support these areas of value.  I highly recommend talking about them with your partner before you start potentially sharing them with others.

    Specialness

    Last but certainly not least, I see lots of folks struggle with issues about "feeling special" to their partner as they begin opening up.  

    There are lots of ways we communicate what's special to us. The most important (and sometimes hardest to identify) is where we devote our attention and emotional presence. It's really easy to envy new partners who receive your sweetie's full attention if you're not getting enough quality (read: distraction-free fully present) time with each other.  

    I highly recommend you start by building in regular time and events where you are fully present with one another.  Even if you never practice non-monogamy.

    Being special also shows up in other actions.  Consider the possibilities below and notice which carry meaning for you.

    • sharing special holidays
    • honoring birthdays together
    • giving/receiving thoughtful gifts
    • giving/receiving expensive gifts
    • offering acts of service (laundry, dishes... acts that make your partner's life easier)
    • holding specific roles (partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, soul mate...)
    • sharing certain kinds of physical affection
    • sharing certain kinds of sexual activity or play
    • using specific words (date, love, forever...)
    • honoring anniversaries together
    • sharing rituals (commitment ceremonies, religious and spiritual practices)
    • sharing meaningful tokens (saving ticket stubs from dates, wearing rings)
    • shared history and stories
    • creating future plans/dreaming together

    Ask yourself what kind of specific behaviors support that feeling of "specialness" for you.  Again, I highly recommend talking about them with your partner before you start potentially sharing them with others.

    If you want to talk more about any of these I'm here for you.  It's always easier to try to think through opening up in advance (proactively) rather than after an issue or hurt arises (reactively).  Call me.


    common issues open relationships

    Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

    • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships
    • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
    • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
    • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
    • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect
    • change communication & codependent patterns
    • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

    I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

    Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

    Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

    Open Relationship Advice: Can We Really Open a 15-Year Marriage?

    polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

    Ask me anything is a relationship advice column written by Gina Senarighi, a couples therapist turned couples retreat leader who offers online support for non-traditional relationships of all flavors.  

    Submit your Ask Me Anything question right here or read more Ask Me Anything here.


    This week's question: 

    "In your professional opinion, is it even fathomable to think a marriage after 15 years could ever be an open one? "

    Yes.  Absolutely, any relationship could be an open one.

    But it may not be easy to get started. 

    There are a couple big hurdles in the way for most people who've been practicing monogamy a long time.  First, there's a HEAP of cultural conditioning you're going to face and second, there's a skillset required if you're going to stay together- skills most of us never received training for.

    As far as the cultural conditioning part, that is something most my clients call a mindset shift.  We often talk about it as of they've been able to see the Matrix (yes, I am seriously dating myself here) and once they can see it, they never think about relationships the same way again.  

    The thing is, there are a lot of default assumptions we base relationships on in our culture- but we rarely check those assumptions.  A large part of putting ethical non-monogamy into practice is checking assumptions.

    Here's one example: I'm presuming you and your spouse have been practicing monogamy for the last 15 years.  If so, have you ever talked about what the boundaries of your monogamy are?  Most folks don't.  But in ten years of asking couples I rarely have clients who are 100% on the same page about their monogamy expectations.  Here are some of the things I hear:

    • We'd never have sex (oral, anal, or vaginal) with anyone else but we do kiss some friends hello
    • I expect you'll never be alone with someone of the opposite gender in a private space
    • I don't think we should dance with other people
    • We don't get naked with members of the opposite sex (except massage tables)
    • We don't hold hands or sit touching other people
    • I would never share secrets with anyone else
    • We don't make future plans with people we're attracted to

    Usually, couples I see are clear on one of those items, but most of them are unclear about the rest.  I often recommend couples try getting clear about their current/standing monogamy agreements before trying to discuss ethical non-monogamous agreements.

    As far as the skills, they're easy to outline but more difficult to practice.  Really practicing non-monogamy ethically means being much more careful and intentional about the promises and commitments you make, the expectations you hold, and the personal work you do to regulate difficult emotions. 

    It's usually really helpful to hire a support person to help you learn the skills and practice them with support.  

    So, like I said, yes, ABSOLTELY you can open any relationship- if you're willing to do the work of shifting perspective, learning and implementing new skills. Let me know if you'd like help along the way.


      polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

      Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a retired couples therapist, sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and keeping non-traditional relationships healthy and vibrant.  

      She can help you:

      • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
      • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
      • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependecy
      • open your relationship and practice polyamory with care
      • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnection
      • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns 

      Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

      Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

       

      Open Relationship Advice: Is There Hope for Our Mono/Poly Relationship?

      polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

      Ask me anything is a relationship advice column written by Gina Senarighi, a couples therapist turned couples retreat leader who offers online support for non-traditional relationships of all flavors.  

      Submit your Ask Me Anything question right here or read more Ask Me Anything here.


      This week's question: 

      "I am naturally a monogamous person and I fell in love with a polyamorous person who is in love with me... 

      ...Is there hope?"

      Honey, I am sorry whatever you're going through has you asking if there's hope. Mono/poly can absolutely work out, but it's essential (in any relationship) you hold fast to hope. When it's gone there's not much that can keep you together. 

      And questioning hope is a really hard place to sit.

      You say you're in love. I want to know more about what that means for the two of you.  Lots of folks say they're in love and they mean lust. Others mean comfort.  Neither of those are bad things, but neither will sustain you if staying together long-term is your goal.

      The behaviors that make up your love are what will help you stand the tests of time. And it sounds like you're standing in a test right now. Identifying the behaviors that show love in your relationship will help you reorient to the strengths you share in hard times. And it will help you (as the monogamous person in a polyamorous relationship) get clear in a world that can seem so counter to the lessons our culture has taught you about love.

      Most couples try to choose monogamy. Of those, most end up choosing unethical non-monogamy (cheating) at some time. Which means most of us have very little information, and social support as well as few role models to look to when we start talking about ethical non-monogamy. It can seem really foreign.

      One of the biggest struggles I see monogamous folks deal with when partnered with someone who wants to practice polyamory is that feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty- because we have so little exposure or support. Don't worry, there are a few things you can do to help you through.

      1) Study Up- get some baseline information about what consensual polyamoryand ethical non-monogamy can look like.

      There are two great books (Opening Up and More Than Two) I frequently recommend to clients who need more info. They're great because they give lots of real life examples from actual couples. Check them out. 

      2) Define Your Poly- Once you have a little background information you're going to start an important conversation conversation with your partner about what the words "monogamy" and "polyamory" mean to you. 

      You see, no two open relationships are structured the same, and they change over the course of time. So if you want to stay with this person, you will need to get clear about what each of you want right now and you'll need a way to process how and when that changes over time.  

      Plus, it's possible what your sweetie means by polyamorous might not even be that far out of what works for you. The clearer you two can be, the better equipped you are to discuss consent.  

      My wish for you is that you don't lose hope. I've seen LOTS of couples figure out ways to navigate non-monogamy that work for both parties. Let me know if you'd like help along the way. 


        polyamory advice | open relationship advice | open marriage advice

        Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a retired couples therapist, sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and keeping non-traditional relationships healthy and vibrant.  

        She can help you:

        • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
        • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
        • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependecy
        • open your relationship and practice polyamory with care
        • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnection
        • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns 

        Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

        Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

         

        Consider These Two Questions Before Making Your Relationship Rules

        2 Questions Before Making Your Open Relationship Rules | Poly Counseling in Portland

        Most of the couples I work with struggle when making rules (I prefer to call them agreements) up to navigate their open relationship.  

        Lots of people fear feeling controlled or manipulated in the process.  Many others aren't sure what they want or need from this kind of relationship change.  

        I have found these two questions especially helpful when coming up with agreements.  Consider them before making your own.

        Questions for Healthy Open Relationship Agreements

        Question One: What is sacred in this partnership?

        One of the biggest areas of struggle for non-monogamous couples comes up around the ideas we have about what's special or sacred in our relationship.  I'll give you some examples of each:

        Special identity: I want to believe I am the most beautiful person you know.  I love knowing I am the best lead dancer you dance with.  I trust you enough to be fluid bonded and I want to know that's unique to the two of us.

        Sacred spaces: The restaurant we go to every year on our anniversary is really special to me.  It helps me to know our home is a space just for the two of us.  We moved to Portland to be together and I have trouble imagining sharing this city with anyone else.

        Meaningful items: The canoe we made together is really special to me.  We share wedding bands and it's important to me you wear it when we're not together.

        Rituals and traditions: We have always gone to March Fourth together and I would like to keep that sacred.  We pull tarot together every weekend, and I really like doing that together.  We have Timbers season tickets and it's important to me we continue going to the games as a pair.  

        Community connection: Our church community is so important to me I would like to keep it just for the two of us.  It's important to me we check in before other partners meet family because family is such a strong value of mine.

        Often the challenges couples face are less around sexual activity and more focused on these sacred and special parts of our relationship.  

        Once we're clear what's sacred and special we can nourish those traditions to strengthen our relationship.  

        We can also create agreements and understandings about what we're willing to share with others and what we are not.

         

        Question Two: What is private in our relationship?

        The other greatest challenge I see couples go through relates to privacy.  There are two critical questions to ask yourselves here:

        1.  What are our privacy agreements in this relationship?  

        Do you read each other's text messages or check emails?  What happens if you overhear something about another partner?  Most importantly, what do you anticipate keeping private about other partners, and what won't work for you?

        If you aren't clear and specific now it's a great time to get clear- even if you never choose to practice non-monogamy.  Navigating consent around personal privacy can be a great area to practice before adding additional parties to your partnership.

        2.  What information are we each uncomfortable sharing with others?

        Some of the couples I work with create agreements like, we won't talk about our relationship struggles with others, or we agree to speak only positively about each other with other partners.  And sometimes there are specific pieces of our life or history we don't want our lovers sharing with others like our mental health status, addiction history, sexual fetishes, fantasies, or trauma history.  

        Think about what kinds of information you would be uncomfortable with your partner sharing with others about your life or your relationship- maybe even make a list and share it well before you start seeing other people.  


        Gina Senarighi Poly Counseling Portland Oregon

        Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

        She can help you:

        • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
        • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
        • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependent patterns
        • open your relationship or practice polyamory with care
        • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnect
        • break unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship

        Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

        Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

        How to Deal When Your Partner Has a Crush

        Dear Ones, 

        My clients often come to me when they are just beginning the open relationship/non-monogamy journey and one of the most difficult period of growing pains is when one of you gets their first crush.  

        If you have been practicing traditional monogamy this can really be difficult.  Most couples don't practice acknowledging attraction to other people when in a relationship, so acknowledging the attraction alone can seem like a huge leap.

        That said, with some care and honesty you can easily get through this together.  Here are a few things to focus on:

        Acknowledge other people are attractive.  

        It's true and if this is going to work out you are going to have to face it.  Other people are attractive.  Pretending this is not true only forces you and your partner to be dishonest with each other.  

        Even if you never have intimacy with another attractive person, being able to openly acknowledge other people are in fact interesting, smart, funny, or beautiful allows you an opportunity to learn and connect at a deeper level.  

        Understand other people's attractiveness does not diminish yours.

        Many of us like to believe a fantasy that we are the only smart, special, funny, interesting, or beautiful person in our partner's life.  However, clinging to that fantasy puts undue stress on the relationship, both for you to try to be all of those things and for your partner to try to get all their needs met just with you. 

        We fear that if someone else is funny, smart, interesting, or beautiful that makes us less so.  Fortunately there is plenty of funny, smart, beautiful and interesting to go around in this world.  You are still all of those things even if someone else is too. 

        Getting stuck in comparison will only bring you pain.

        Practice self-soothing.

        Your emotions are yours to take care of.  It would be nice to hand off all our emotional responsibility onto our partner to "make us" feel more confident and secure, but the kind of confidence we get from others isn't as long-lasting as the kind we build for ourselves.

        When you find insecurity and distrust comes to visit practice focusing on gratitude for your awesome relationship instead of fear you will lose it.  Start a gratitude list in your head to remind yourself why you want to hang onto this relationship.

        When comparison and insecurity start to sneak around remember why you are special and important.  Do something that helps you feel great about yourself.  Surround yourself with people who you feel strong around.  

        Do things to remind yourself instead of depending on your sweetheart to remind you.

        Ask for reassurance.

        Once you have practiced self soothing it is perfectly fine to ask for specific acts of reassurance.  Think about a time you felt really strong about your relationship and remember what you and your sweetheart were doing.  What specific behaviors helped you feel so safe and strong?  Ask your partner to engage in those with you now.

        Sometimes I see clients mistake information for reassurance. They ask a lot of questions or start doing detective work about the crush as a way to find security.  Usually that kind of information really only feeds comparison and insecurity.  Instead try engaging in specific behaviors that build you up together (instead of secretly internet searching for information, checking phones, or other detective work).  

        You can totally get through the first crush one of you has, but it will take care and intention.  If you want help moving through this difficult time please set up a free consultation with me.  

        Gina

         


        Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

        She can help you:

        Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

        Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

        Myths of Non-Monogamy: Polyamory is so Gay!

        One of the myths of non-monogamy I face regularly is that open relationships and polyamory is a gay thing.  That straight people are basically monogamous naturally, and gay people for whatever reason aren’t.

         “There is no societal or religious pressure, no relationship archetype or historical expectation for a gay man to be monogamously coupled. Unlike heterosexual relationships, gay relationships form simply because two people want to be together.” – Tyler Curry

        One of the best parts about being a part of the LGBTQ community is that because we don’t have set models for relationships we get to be creative when we decide to build them.  LGBTQ couples build all sorts of beautiful relationships outside traditional norms, sometimes we move in quickly together, other times we decide never to cohabitate, some of us embrace this freedom to date more freely (which can be a form of non-monogamy, and some of us embrace the opportunity to create intentional open relationships.  Although this great creativity allows us to experiment more and sometimes we are more likely to create open relationships this is not a universal truth.

        More specifically, the commenter on my last post seemed to believe the stereotype that all gay men have open relationships.  Often this myth is used to dispel the validity of same sex male-identified couples and has been a controversial topic in the gay marriage debate.  Gay men do opt more frequently for openness than other populations, but that cannot be stated as a norm- there are plenty of monogamous gay men.

        The flip side of this myth leaves out the thousands of mostly straight and completely heterosexual couples who fall somewhere in the open relationship, swinger, and polyamorous spectrum.  Plenty of straight-seeming and hetero-identified couples date other couples, share partners, swing, or play with other partners.  These fabulous straight poly people exist throughout history and research and invest long-term in making complex loving relationships work.  They have children, own homes, pay bills, love and commit just like anyone else.  Don’t leave them out by believing a myth.

        Side note: I received some of these comments on a professional site for LGBTQ Therapists.  It is especially important for LGBTQ couples to seek help from providers who really understand our partnerships instead of stereotypes.  Use this guide to help find a provider near you.


        Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a polyamory consultant, sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

        She can help you:

        Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

        Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).