Erfalaswen, FoxyJonno, Jellicle Cat, Man of Taste, Mother-In-Law, My Gentleman Friend, Princess Lex and a number of others will probably have previous conversations with me referenced.

Someone used the phrase ‘brutal honesty between friends’ the other day. Someone else voiced an opinion that until you’ve got the ability to do a monogamous relationship down you shouldn’t even attempt a poly one. I definately don’t agree with that one as it stands, because the reason I stopped doing relationships was my inability to do monogamy happily and successfully (and that
eventually led to the Jellicle Cat and I starting our relationship on polyamorous terms). However the person in question was talking about the fact that you need really good communication in order to do poly. That takes me right back to a remark made in a Pagan Soc meeting a few weeks ago, the notion among some people in monogamous relationships that ‘poly people are bigger on telling the truth than if you’re in a normal relationship’.

Gods thats awful.

See, I have no real filter when it comes to a lot of things. I have concepts of public and private that don’t gel with the other people around me. So it does weird me out at times that people seem to like telling me things. Because surely they’ve observed that I just talk and half the time inopportune things come out of my mouth that are none of my damn business and I’m just shoving my own conception on things. Yet for years now I’ve been ‘Aunty Mish’ to too many people. No, not too many, because I do like that people are comfortable enough with me to talk to me. But I worry that I’m going to end up telling people things I shouldn’t, worse is when I write and I find that the previous conversation has come out in verse when I really hadn’t meant it to.
(Yes, sometimes I do put things down in poem or fiction from conversations that I’ve had with people, from situations that I’ve observed but the point is, when I do it deliberately I fictionalise it – I fantasize that things are going this way whereas in real life it’s obvious that they are going that way.)
The trust that people put in me by friends, lovers, complete strangers sometimes and everyone who comes everywhere in between and around those neat little labels, has me panicked to death sometimes. I know that I often fail when I’m trusted, usually it’s in the worst way, ie. that I betray a trust because of my inability to label as ‘appropriate’ and ‘public’ and ‘private’ in the way that everyone else does. (To me that seems a worse way to betray a trust than to deliberately go against someones trust…maybe.)
At least if people put things to me in the context of a tarot reading I can put them into the professional quarter of my brain which doesn’t plug into the ‘gossip’ centre.

This does have relevance to something other than my own insecurities, my point is that relationships require trust. Usually trust has to be built over years though I have found that it can almost occur spontaneously in certain situations or contexts. ‘Brutal honesty between friends’ is all very well but I find that I can’t help but be honest with people and that it needs to be the basic point for all my friendships etc. I am Mish and I need people to know that before anything can be built, I like it when people flash themselves up like that from the first as well. When you’re in a relationship then that trust has to be absolute, you need to be able to talk about anything and everything. Equally you need to know when you need to talk about stuff and when you don’t, but the basic ability to talk and just be whoever you are needs to be there and everyone needs to be comfortable with it.

This is why I twitch when people tell me that poly needs you to be more honest than mono, they both need honesty. The only difference is that in a poly relationship you need to be talking and being honest with more than one person. The trust needs to exist between however many people are involved, though yeah that trust doesn’t need to be as absolute between people who aren’t directly involved. Without trust everything just falls down. When people lie that’s where the relationship is stuck.

I’m glad people trust me, but I need to get involved, get my hands stuck into all this feeling that surrounds me, I can’t pull back from it or that means not being Mish. Eventually this is going to lead to some sort of painful dichotomy again.

15 thoughts on “Relationships

  1. In general, I agree with you wholeheartedly, all relationships require deep levels of communication, trust and honesty. Moreover, we learn about relationships as we grow, both in general and specific cases, by living them, and that includes making mistakes. Most people go through more than one in their lives, after all!

    There is something that I do want to pick up on though. You said, "The trust needs to exist between however many people are involved, though yeah that trust doesn’t need to be as absolute between people who aren’t directly involved." I would expand on this and emphasise that *some* poly relationships require some of those involved to offer significant communication, trust and honesty to others that they are not in love with. This is something qualitatively different to a mono relationship.

    Two asides…one general observation…

    I think it is easy to forget that, whilst mono is a strict category, poly is not. The latter includes many types of relationships, that can be radically different to each other. For this reason I often find looking at the two as some sort of relationship yin-yang is extremely unhelpful.

    And one specific…

    You don’t have particularly weird or different takes on what sort of information is, or should be, ‘private’ or ‘public’, you just cross a lot of social groups and cliques and find it hard to remember that some of your friends do not count other of your friends as their friends.

  2. you just cross a lot of social groups and cliques and find it hard to remember that some of your friends do not count other of your friends as their friends.

    GSF number 4 I believe… all of my friends should be friends to each other in and of their own right.

    Easy to accept on the surface that this isn’t the case – but I find myself guilty of this sort of thing sometimes. I do find it frustrating when the people I love do not love each other as much as I love them, or as much as they love me. Silly perhaps, but true.

  3. More honesty? Not so much.

    Mind you, I’ve not been known to advocate cold hard honesty as a first resort. Relationships need that Trust you describe more than anything, that willingness to let someone else to the Secret Places of the Heart (to quote Smashing Pumpkins). That trust comes from a feeling of understanding, that yes, the people involved can honestly say that they Know the other, and want to be closer to them. This is itself comes from and is linked to an awareness and profound sensitivity to any and all partners and their feelings.

    So, by the maths, poly seems trickier, at least to begin with, involving reconfiguration of the sensitivities required by a particular partner. In time, however, it’s natural that each participant is influenced by the others, and it gets easier, and less like one needs different ‘modes’ for different circumstances. At least that’s what I’ve found.

    Sorry, I had a point somewhere I was intending to make briefly. Er… oh yeah:
    More honesty? Not exactly.
    Besides, I’m of the opinion if Being Honest needs to be employed too often, it’s indicitative of a want for a deeper, more important understanding. As such it can be useful, but something that should be used, not sought for.
    The trick to poly is Understanding, and an ability to Trust one’s heart with more people. In return, it gives you more heart to go around, so it’s all good.


  4. Now then, in my comment yesterday I said,"…some poly relationships require some of those involved to offer significant communication, trust and honesty to others that they are not in love with. This is something qualitatively different to a mono relationship."

    I stand by this, but, to broaden that understanding which we are all so keen on, I think I have worked out the nearest analogue from the world of monogamy, marriage, and the like, so popular in other parts of the globe, such as London, Manchester and Garstang.

    The in-laws! … ;o)

    Yep, however you feel about your annoying new mother-in-law, or your recently inherited and rather weird brother-in-law Big Charley, you are stuck with ’em, and have to make the best of it!

    Presumably somewhere down the line, when current speciality TV series like the L-Word are old hat, someone will make a series of poly sitcoms with all the old in-law gags from scary 70s shows re-worked for poly scenarios.

    Nothing new under the sun… ;o)

  5. Well, H., I don’t think there’s any potential for humour without the creative friction of a little dysfunction!

    I sure as hel remember the fun between my dad and his mother-in-law back in the 70s, and they are, and were, both wonderful folk, just different.

  6. I’m sure there’s potential for humour when Mother-In-Law is my lover’s Companion and Princess Lex’s boyfriend’s… (damn, it would be funnier if I could say ‘girlfriend’ here but I can’t. Ummm stealing someone else’s phrase) Romantic Other!

  7. Just to pick up on one or two things. I hope I don’t come across as saying ‘look at me with my perfect relationships, this is how everybody should do them’. This is not my intention, just that I think that somethings are the basic building blocks for relationships is all.

    About trust and honesty: trust is something that I really believe needs to be built on an understanding of who the people involved are and that can only be started by certain basic levels of honesty. Personally, what I need out of at least one relationship is someone who I can say anything to without upsetting or hurting them. But that’s a personal need of mine. I think I do want to make the point that perhaps ‘cold hard honesty’ isn’t necessary in all circumstances and relationships, but if you ever feel you need to lie to someone you’re in a relationship with then in my opinion that relationship is dead in the water.

    On understanding and groupthink… ‘hive mind’ is another one of those phrases that has me shuddering. I like the levels of understanding between partners/lovers/friends etc. that get built up overtime. (One might almost use the term ‘camaraderie’) But I think that this is a different thing to everyone assuming that everyone is going to feel the same about big things, rather than everyone is going to work together well over small things. Um… not sure I expressed that particularly well.

    Trust and honesty, bit of a balancing act really.

  8. About GSF 4:

    I don’t think I’m exactly guilty of it. Sure I don’t see why people don’t just get along in most circumstances. (Yes ok, the Naiad and various people I kind of understand.)

    Yes I have a wide variety of friends and I like it that way. I do hold big parties and have been known to invite different people to the same event, my thoughts underpinning that one are that if the house is big enough it shouldn’t matter. I don’t think I’m big on forcing my friends to get together though.

  9. Man, we need more words. I find myself now thinking of a point which requires us to posit a juncture halfway between trust and honesty – the edge of the coin that some folks argue they’re two sides of, as it were.

  10. Pune was intended… After all, when my actual mother-in-sin comes to visit, I don’t have to bother cleaning anything at all. 😉

  11. I assumed so from the capitalisation. Also from the fact that you and the Foxy one aren’t married.

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