As with many topics relating to non-monogamous relationships, this one also applies to monogamous ones. It’s just that complicated relationship structures usually involve much more… of everything. More needs, more wants, and more problems arising from unmet or unidentified needs/wants. Everyone should take time to look at what they want and/or need from their relationship(s) and they will find their lives are better for it. But how many of us actually add this to our weekly ‘to do’ lists? How many prioritise analysing their feelings?
There sometimes comes a time when, for whatever reason, we find ourselves alone. Whether it is time spent without a partner in our lives, a time when a partner is away or simply a night in with nothing to do, it’s somehow still quite hard to say “I’m going to use this time to analyse my own relationship needs and wants.” That may be because our mind comes up with a whole bunch of other (more fun) stuff we could be doing instead, because we’re scared to face looking at ourselves a bit more closely, or simply because we don’t know how to analyse our own feelings in that way. Relationship therapist Jeffery Saunders writes about the difficulties on his website:
“We are often embarrassed or ashamed of our needs, and so deny, ignore or avoid expressing them. We are held back by: fear of being judged for having a need; a belief that we only deserve needs to be met once we’ve met the needs of others; a fear of getting stuck in the feeling of the need if we acknowledge its presence; a fear of loss of some sort as payment for getting needs met.”
It is certainly a very tricky thing to do and fear is often a rather large barrier to overcome. However, rather frustratingly, I think I fit into the “just don’t know how” category. How do I know what I truly want? I have absolutely no idea where to begin in order to pinpoint that. I sat down to write this article and found myself at a loss for where to begin, so how could I start to relate the concept to myself? If anyone knows of any useful techniques for analysing needs, desires and emotional responses, I would love to hear from you. I’m a big fan of questionnaires, tests, exercises and box ticking as it makes things a lot easier for my cluttered mind to deal with!
With a list of needs and wants, we create order out of chaos. We already have a relationship dashboard filled with warning lights which will come on to remind us when something needs attention. Thing is, we have to read the manual to understand what it all means.
Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month six bloggers – ALBJ, An Open Book, More Than Nuclear, One Sub’s Mission, Post Modern Sleaze, and Rarely Wears Lipstick – will write about their views on one of them.
Image via brotherM‘s Flickr photostream.