You Asked... We Answer....
"I was wondering if there were tips or resources I could get steered towards that would help me trust what my spouse has said she is OK with? Specifically, that she is OK with my multi-amoury. I am paralyzed at the fear of hurting her emotionally."
I just want to start by saying this is a very common scenario experienced by many couples to engage in non-monogamy. There are many good resources and podcasts out there, including books such as More Than Two, (Eve Rickert & Franklin Veaux), and Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy (by Jessica Fern & Eve Rickert). But, really when we ask if our spouse is “ok” with it, we are really talking about TRUST. Do we trust that our partners are okay with what we are doing. Well, another word for trust, is Confidence. Are we confident that our partner is ok with it?
When we are in any type of relationship trust is ultimately the most important factor.
The question becomes how do we build trust? To build trust we must first establish boundaries. Boundaries in non-monogamy are usually centred around communication, sexual and emotional intimacy, and expectations.
To start, let us explore expectations. Firstly, we must be fully open and transparent about our expectations for engaging in non-monogamy. Some questions that we might ask include what are we looking for? What do we hope to gain? Why are we engaging in non-monogamy? To build a secure foundation of trust and confidence we must be transparent and open about our expectations for engaging in this behaviour.
Secondly, these expectations start to become boundaries. Boundaries are what allow everybody to have confidence in this situation. If everybody follows the rules of the road, we are then confident to drive. If we are clear about our expectations and non-monogamy, then our partners can know what to expect, with the limits of interaction will be, and as long as we meet those boundaries our partners will become more confident and we will build trust.
Thirdly, we have to communicate our expectations and our boundaries. We also have to respect the boundaries that our partner may place on our non-monogamous endeavors. For example, many non-monogamous people prefer to only play using protection. Our partners may expect us to use protection when we are sleeping with other people, thus this expectation becomes a boundary, and as long as the boundary is acknowledged, and protection is used, everybody will be confident in the situation.
Fourthly, we must have continuous conversations around expectations and boundaries. It is noted that people who engage in non-monogamous relationships often have changing boundaries that evolve over time. For example, the boundary around protection may be modified if it is a closed system. Or perhaps a couple starts with no sleepovers and eventually decides to allow one-night sleepovers if someone has to travel to a different city. Just as aftercare is very important in BDSM, after these experiences take place it is important to sit down with our partners and discuss how everyone is feeling about the current situation. Having constant conversations, or individuals can raise concerns, suggestions, or comments, will ensure that boundaries and expectations are adequately observed, and trust and confidence in the process will increase.
However if communication starts to break down, feedback is not sought after, boundaries are violated or eroded, then trust and confidence will start to decrease.
Come heal, grow and create together
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