Punishment is not a Component of Forgiveness
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
1y ago
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Blue and Green are in a relationship. Blue does something that hurts Green. Blue apologizes to Green, makes amends, and changes their behavior. Green accepts the apology but digs at the original issue whenever it comes up for them. What’s going on here? Well, it turns out that accepting an apology involves a lot more than saying the words “I accept your apology.” Indeed, forgiveness is a choice and it requires action on the part of the wronged party.  “But that’s not fair!” we cry in unison, “the burden should be borne by the person who caused harm ..read more
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Negotiating New Relationships
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
1y ago
Whether you’re brand new to non-monogamy or a seasoned practitioner, negotiating the scope and terms of a new relationship can feel daunting. What should you discuss up front? How do you reconcile mis-matches? How do you communicate what you do and do not want? I hate to regurgitate the word “communicate” over and over, but that’s what so much of this boils down to.  When getting to know someone, I have a laundry list of fundamental incompatibilities , but every component of that list has a gray area into which I need to figure out how I fit or if I even do. The same goes for whomever I’m ..read more
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What Do I Ask A Potential New Partner?
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
2y ago
Traditional dating within a monogamous framework has somewhat of a script to work with . . . Do you have/want children? Are you a smoker? What’s your attitude towards therapy? Did you vote for Trump? Twice? Most of us know ourselves well enough to know what will render a prospective partner fundamentally incompatible and asking the right questions helps determine who will and will not be making it through to the next round. However, folks dating again for the first time within an intentionally non-monogamous structure often find themselves fumbling for the right questions to ask. Even folks wh ..read more
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Polysaturation: Do I Have Enough To Give?
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
2y ago
I appreciate the concept of polysaturation, a piece of wordplay I both admire for its cleverness and find useful in the discussion of non-monogamy, but I prefer to consider being spread too thin overall since the bandwidth I have for a relationship of any sort is entirely dependent on what else is going on in my life. Chronic illness Career/work Parenting Community engagements & commitments Writing projects Household maintenance Self-improvement Hobbies These things take time, energy, and other finite resources. Sometimes an extended lull in my personal mayhem inspires me to go on a date ..read more
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Guest Blog: Is Dating Harder for Men in Non-Monogamy?
Poly With a Big Heart
by Adam
2y ago
Non-monogamy makes dating harder for men! No. Let me reiterate that: no, it doesn’t. This is directed squarely at the largely cishet men so many of us have come across complaining about how non-monogamy makes dating more difficult for men. And, to a lesser extent, their well-intentioned partners trying to help (e.g. posting in ENM groups to “promote” their man <cringe>) since they’re “such a great guy!” Stop it. Please. Non-monogamy does not make dating harder for men. At most? Non-monogamy makes dating trickier in general. Something about reducing the dating pool down to maybe 5-10% of ..read more
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Privacy is a Fundamental Right in Relationships
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
2y ago
Privacy. That thing where you get to choose how much of your personal life is on display, yeah? Privacy is pretty critical to one’s emotional well-being and sense of safety. We depend on those close to us to keep our confidence, and there is a reasonable expectation of privacy when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in intimate moments with a close connection, friend, or partner. But there’s an unfortunate approach to privacy by many in the greater non-monogamous community. I see a lot of questionable behavior being championed and supported that, to me, flies in the face of reasonable expecta ..read more
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Descriptive Hierarchy is a Misnomer
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
2y ago
Hierarchy gets a bad rap in the non-monogamous community for a number of reasons. It’s often the product of a formerly monogamous couple opening up and wanting to mitigate fear and insecurity by limiting what can happen outside of their relationship. Many times, the “primary” couple make agreements within their dyad that infringe upon each other’s autonomy as well as the privacy and agency of any other partners they become involved with. This type of hierarchy exists on a vast spectrum, but for many reasons, prioritizing the original couple to the detriment of all other relationships doesn’t f ..read more
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Guest Blog: Finite Resources in Relationships
Poly With a Big Heart
by Adam
2y ago
Love is abundant and not a zero sum game. That is, loving others will never reduce what’s available for others. We experience this all the time with friends, children, siblings, etc. It truly is an infinite resource.  But while love is an infinite resource, our lives are full of others that are. Regardless of your relationship structure, you’re going to have to decide how to allocate them in a way that works for you and those you care about. Time, money and energy are three of the most common ones people struggle with. Society tells us that once you find “The One,” your resources should l ..read more
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Five Whole Years
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
2y ago
I rode in the passenger seat of one of my partners’ cars this evening, travelling to our next destination from a small gathering of fully vaccinated friends to an outdoor patio where we could write for this blog, which I’ve been feeling lots of angst about because I’ve been so happy lately. That may be an odd thing to feel angsty about, but I generally do my best writing for this blog when I’m going through something hard. I just . . . haven’t been. I mean I have, but it’s not relationship-based so it’s not good blog fodder. I could tell you about the guy who told me I was shitty for cancellin ..read more
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Your Doctor Needs To Know
Poly With a Big Heart
by Rusty
2y ago
In 2016, when I was 40 freaking years old and a divorced mother of three, I had a doctor tell me I should not consent to having barrier-free sex with anyone who didn’t have to pay to get rid of me [cringe]. She said this to me as we were wrapping up my annual exam and my semiannual STI panel, during which I’d mentioned having made the decision to stop using barriers with a sexual partner of mine. I spent about five seconds in a state of speechlessness and then asked her if she was open to some feedback on that opinion. She indicated she was, which was fortunate, because she was going to hear w ..read more
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