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What the Heck is Polyamory?

    Have you ever dreamed of being with multiple partners simultaneously?

    Polyamory is supposed to bring more love to our relationships. So why does it often turn into the nightmare of polyagony?

    In this episode we explore the different styles of polyamory, we reflect on Jessica Fern’s book Polysecure, and we share our personal stories of polyamorous relationships. 
    Our free handout is available for download here as you listen in: https://relationshipalkemy.com/free-downloads/

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    Video Version

    Hi. Welcome back to our podcast RelationshipAlkemy. I’m Jordan Bessaignet.

    I’m Olivier Bessaignet.

    And today we have a super fun, juicy topic to be real when our topic is not fun and juicy. But today we are going to be talking about what the heck is polyamory?

    It is a very interesting, I would say, Etchy. Topic, depending on who. It’s a complex, long topic and we’re just starting to unpack it. We’re just going to do we could call it polyamory 101.

    Yeah. Polyamory 101.

    Yeah. Just starting to unpack it.

    Just starting to unwrap the ribbon, basically.

    So we want to share a little bit about our own experience with polyamory. But recently we bought this book called Poly Secure. And this is the next level, like the most recent level on unpacking polyamory. And I love the way she’s a therapist. She links it to the attachment theory, which we talked about a couple of weeks ago. So that was the premise people ask about polyamory can be polyagony. Right. You heard of that term polyagony is when polyamory turns into agony. Right. And so talking about the attachment styles is very important as a premise for polyamory. So why even talk about this? Why even go into this topic? Am I not enough? I know usually it’s a woman saying that I should be enough for you.

    So before we dive into this topic, I think it would be a good thing to define what polyamory even is.

    Yeah.

    And this is the fun part because I didn’t know there are so many different titles for how within the spectrum of polyamory there is a spectrum spectrum. And it’s been really fascinating to dive into which we’ll get into those topics later. But what the heck is polyamory?

    So I know the way Jessica Fern frames it. She calls it consensual, non monogamy. Non monogamy, which means I mean, I love when people say, oh, I’m just exploring polyamory. And I’m like, okay, so that’s a complex communication style. So they know each other. And you’ve talked to. No, not yet. Okay. So not everybody consenting to what’s happening. So it’s not polyamory. It’s just called fucking around. And that’s just fine. Everybody has the right to fuck around if they want or cheat around if they want. But then they have to be okay to suffer the consequences of people figuring out that they’ve been lying or withholding the truth or the full reality of what’s happening. And so cheating or having multiple relationships, whether they are sexual or emotional, without all the partners knowing about it, is not anything near polyamory because it’s not consensual. Does that make sense?

    Yeah. So what I’m hearing is if you are sleeping with someone and your partner doesn’t know, that is not consensual polyamory.

    It’s not consensual, therefore it’s not polyamory.

    You heard it here, folks.

    Okay. So that’s the first layer. It’s the first premise.

    Yeah. So we all have to understand that before we start talking into this. But now that we know what polyamory isn’t, let’s dive into what polyamory is or what it can be.

    So when we create relationships, there could be emotional attachments and sexual attachment as well. Right? So if I feel an emotional attachment or sexual and or sexual attachment with somebody, that means I’m in intimate relationship with that person, and that’s two people. Now, if I create something similar with a third person and everybody knows what’s going on and they all agree to it, then it’s called non monogamy, which polyamory is part of. So the general term of polyamory.

    Yeah. So just to get real literal here, Polly is Latin root for many. Amory is coming from Amaris, which means love. So it literally means many loves.

    I love it. That’s pretty simple. Many lovers, but all consensual.

    But all consensual, folks. So what I love about Polly secure, and the way Jessica Fern breaks it down is she comes up with this beautiful Quadrant system because when we started, we actually didn’t read the book. We listened to it on our drives to Tahoe. But when we first started listening this book, I felt so overwhelmed, like, oh, my goodness, there is so many words here that I’ve never heard before.

    Me neither, actually.

    So let’s dive into the chart.

    Oh, you want to see it? Okay, let’s show you the chart. So what I love, the genius of Jessica Fern, is that she put it on two axis. So first, the different types of consensual non monogamy. Okay, that’s the name of the chart. Just a reminder, chining is not consensual. So one access is high sexual exclusivity versus low sexual exclusivity on the bottom.

    And that’s the vertical axis, just in case you’re listening to this and you can’t see the handout.

    And then the second access is horizontal, high emotional exclusivity on the left hand side. So it’s called monoamorous. And on right hand side is low emotional exclusivity, which is polyamorous. So the high sexual exclusivity is monosexual, and the low sexual exclusivity is. Did I forget something fully sexual?

    Exactly. Yeah. Makes more sense when we say high sexual exclusivity, we’re referring to there is a sexual container between two people, and it is exclusive to only those in the container. So henceforth monosexual. And then when we say low sexual exclusivity, we’re referring to those in a container where they might be having sexual relationshipalkemy with multiple people. And then when we say the other access, such as the horizontal access, the high emotional exclusivity, that means that they’re relating to intimacy through an emotional emotions. Therefore attachment, therefore attachment and high emotional exclusivity looks like they’re relating with maybe one person. They have a site container.

    Well.

    Just the one side of the spectrum. And then the other side of the spectrum would be low emotional exclusivity. And it is a spectrum. So you can fall anywhere on the spectrum. There’s a range of it. And with both the sexual exclusivity and the emotional exclusivity.

    Right.

    So just to give some premise on what it looks like.

    Yeah. So if everybody knows what’s going on, which is the premise, then if a man chooses to have two girlfriends or if a woman chooses to have a girlfriend and a boyfriend or two boyfriends, it’s like having two partners. Right. That would be the high emotional exclusivity. And now the other spectrum is we can be high exclusivity on the sexual parts but not re being attached, which means you can come and go and ask you at six months, it’s fine, live your life.

    So let’s get into some of the terms here. In the one Quadrant, the upper left Quadrant, we have the terms monogamy, monogamy and Poly Fidelity.

    Right. So if we’re a completely exclusive emotional sexually, we’re just one person. We’re monogamous right. Now, if we do the same with a third person, then it’s Poly Fidelity and in between. In between we have monagamish. Right.

    Yeah.

    So how do you relate to that? What would you opt?

    Yeah. So relationships in the upper left hand Quadrant tend to have a higher emotional exclusivity and a higher sexual exclusivity. So obviously, monogamy would be first and foremost, we are entirely monogamous. We rely on each other for our emotional needs to be met and also for our sexual needs to be met. And then the fun part of that is Poly Fidelity of where you’re still having the sexual exclusivity with maybe one other person, but it is in partnership. This is the important part of the two partners or maybe three, who knows how many? But they have a sexual container and an emotional container. Yeah. There’s the one in between that which would be monogamish, which is, I guess, how we would define our relationship.

    Yeah. So we know that we’re exclusive with each other. And so if we open to a third person, how do we want them to be exclusive with us? That’s really the question. So my experience with Paul Amory is. Yeah. When I was living in the Bay, at some point, I had literally two girlfriends. One actually was living in Colorado. And so I would fly out there like one week per month, or she would fly in one week per month, and then I would engage with the other one the rest of the month. And at first it was equal. And then the woman from Colorado, at some point, she said, well, if you’re seeing her more than you see me, then I’m not in. So it’s to see like the. Yeah, it could be very sensitive, right?

    Yeah.

    So there’s no rule in terms of how it’s supposed to look like, but it’s all about communicating slowly and sensitively so that all the sensitivities are heard and taken accounted for.

    Yeah. I think that’s the premise of polyamory. In my experience, the slowness. It’s interesting because when you have multiple partners or multiple people involved, in a relationship or many relationships. It’s already hard with one person. It’s already a lot with one person. And you want to be sensitive to your partner and your partner’s needs to be sensitive to your needs. And I think the fun part of polyamory is all the little pauses, like it’s not in my experience. It’s not a rushed experience. Like you have to bring things up and you have to talk about it.

    So how does it look like? It looks like I was with the woman in Colorado and the woman in California actually was with somebody. So we spent an hour and a half on the phone, the two of us with the two of them unpacking. Unpacking. Everything unpacking. So what does it mean in terms of what are we okay with and what are we not okay with in terms of the time we spend together? The emotional closeness that we’re okay with, the exchange of fluids. So can we kiss? When it comes to sexual intimacy, what is the protection that we’re comfortable with? I personally have a hard time with condoms. So I like to move into this conversation saying I would like to not use condoms, which means we only need to be tested. We only need to be transparent about we haven’t had any other that’s the sexual exclusivity, sexual contact with anybody for more than three weeks or the two months for the test to be accurate. So that’s a long, complex, transparent and edgy conversation for each person, each partner to share their truth and then going around and see how others resonate with that and the next person and see how all the other resonates, what they agree to, what they don’t agree to.

    Funny, it sounds like a six hour conversation.

    It was a 90 minutes.

    Got it done in 90 minutes.

    But not more than one time. More than one time. It had to be a recurring conversation. And yeah, we even sat down, the four of us in the room together and I guess and hold space for each other. And we didn’t want to get sexual the four of us together. But.

    Depending on square going on.

    Right. Just to make a difference between another term down there, which is swinging. Swinging is.

    On the low sexual exclusivity, and it’s on the highly emotional exclusivity, horizontal access. So swinging, you tend to see that between partners, there’s a couple and they are highly emotionally exclusive with each other. But they like to have sex with other couples in this case or other people.

    Yes. But usually they don’t fall enough.

    Yeah. That’s why it’s on the high emotional exclusivity, because they’re together already.

    Right. But when they engage with the other couple, usually it’s on the sexual part and not so much on the emotional part. So usually there’s not an entanglement with the first couple from the first couple. With the second couple, it’s purely sexual. It’s usually purely sexual. That’s usually what swinging refers to, which is not what I’m describing. I’m describing Repoli Fidelity because we were highly emotionally involved with each other. And so we were debating the sexual exclusivity. And so for the time that it went on, it was only the four of us. There was no sexual activity outside of the four of us.

    Poly Fidelity folks.

    So I think that was Poly Fidelity. We used to call it polyamory at the time. That was in 2015.

    We knew there are so many terms to describe polyamory.

    So one thing that is very essential to polyamory and consensual non monogamy, I think, is conversion.

    What’s conversion?

    So conversion is a term that describes when my partner is exchanging love, being loved and loving somebody else, and I’m happy with it. That fills me up with content and love as well, which is the opposite of jealousy, I guess.

    Yeah. I like to think of conversion like a cat because it has the word her in it. And I think of, like, when you’re seeing your partner have their needs fulfilled from someone else, whether they’re emotional needs, sexual needs, whatever needs they have, and you can feel happy like a cat, you feel compassion for.

    It beautiful. So it’s like my partner is going out or in front of me having a strong emotional moment and or sexual moments. And that fills my heart.

    Your heart is filled with joy and love. And I’ve heard some people even describe this term as, like, they can even feel like the joy and ecstasy that their partner might be feeling in that moment, and it makes their heart or their body fill with fireworks.

    Yeah. When I fall in love and when I’m in love, usually my heart expands. And I love everyone. Like, I’m walking down the streets like, wow, this man or this woman or this couple are so lovely. Right. I see everybody with pink glasses. I see the world with pink glasses. And so when I’m in love, I tend to also see others and see other women, for example, with the eyes of loving eyes. Now there’s a choice to engage or not engage, but that sensation, that feeling can extend to conversion, which is when I see my partner receiving love and going through those feelings as well, then that fills up my heart. Right. And so for me, it’s at this easy predisposition. I’m not saying everybody should have it, or it’s definitely a range where conversion comes easy for me. And the thing that will definitely kill it is if I feel excluded in some way and something is happening without my consent or without my involvement. Not necessarily involvement, but feeling part of it, feeling belonging to it, feeling included in it. That’s why for me, the communication is so important.

    Yeah. Can you give us a quick example of what inclusion would look like?

    Yeah.

    What is exclusion.

    So, for example, at the time I was engaging with that woman, and she wanted to go with her other partner to workshop. Okay. And we had a long conversation. I was at all. And my thing is, it was like, when you are the workshop, what is important for me is that you include me. So you’re going to be sitting with that man. And I don’t want everybody to think that you guys are just the two of you guys, and you’re just a couple. And I don’t exist. So if you can just introduce yourself by saying, I’m with my lover today, and my brother’s friend is at home as well, and I will come back to him. So putting her intention out in that kind of transparency and, of course, the other person being okay with it, then I felt completely included. And I gave her my blessing to go and spend a week with that man at a workshop.

    Right.

    A Township workshop. Very intensely emotional and sexual. So in our relationship, for example, it would be. I know the way you said it yourself, if our relationship is watered and nurtured, then I’m good. How do you express it? Say it again.

    Yeah. I said, as long as our relationship is watered and fed and fed.

    Okay. Watered and fed.

    But I just want to speak on my experience conversion real quick, which is interesting because I find it easy with some people to experience conversion than with other people. That feels completely, like, so hard. Like, jealousy comes up or negative opinions or judgments. And this can be, like, the fun part.

    Okay.

    It’s not necessarily fun, but I guess I think of it as fun because it reveals to me deeper needs that I didn’t know that I had perfect. So, for example, there was this one woman that you were interested in, and you brought her up to me, and you shared like, oh, I’m interested in this woman. How do you feel about that? And I immediately felt like a hard no, like, hit the brakes, like, skirt, skirt. What’s going on? And I began to have, like, yeah, my body. I just felt, like, super tight in my body, and it’s kind of hard to breathe. And I was like, definitely feeling, like, the little anger, the anger control guy was controlling the brain for a second. I was like, okay. And I was allowing those feelings to come up, and it’s like, Whoa. The introspection that this provided me is the fun part, I would say, because I got to know myself more through the experience. I was like, thinking to myself, like, oh, my goodness. Like, why am I having such a hard time with this? Why am I feeling these intense emotions? And what is it about this particular woman?

    Because we have conversations before about other people.

    Yeah. And I was totally fine. And so I was like, what is it about this one woman? And it took me, I think, a week or so to sit and come to the root of it.

    Before you reveal what it is. I think it’s such a key important thing.

    Right.

    Because that woman clearly showed that she was interested. I was like, oh, I’m starting to feel butterflies about it. And so I started opening up to her, and we kept talking for a week or ten days before anything happened. Right. So we had to unpack us before going to her or anybody else about it.

    And this type of polyamory, which I didn’t know until listening to this book, would be considered like hierarchical polyamory, because in hierarchical, I can’t pronounce that. Right. Hierarchical polyamory. There’s one relationship, and I love the way that this woman describes it in her book. It’s called the nest partnership, and the nest partnership is the primary relationship. And all the other partnerships outside of that are, like, not on the same level. And it sounds terrible when I say that. But what’s interesting about hierarchical polyamory is there is an opportunity for your partner to have vetoes and to have a case.

    Right.

    So this is where the checking in part goes, because then you and your partner that are in the nest partnership. So, for example, Olivier and I, you know, we bring it up to each other. And what about this person? And for both, Olivier has the chance to say, like, no, I don’t feel comfortable with that, or I have the chance to say, no, I don’t feel comfortable with that. And the beautiful opportunity here is that you get to dive into you get to dive into why you don’t feel comfortable with it.

    Yes, we can talk about our call, but it all needs to be consensual.

    Yeah.

    Whatever you are, key or non jerky needs to be consensual. Right.

    Everything is pretty sure.

    What did you discover for yourself?

    Yeah. Through Olivier bringing up with his crush on this other woman, I discovered the reason that I felt so jealous and immediately angry is because this other woman had a child as well. And so I had this story in my head about how if you were to engage with that woman, you would start to become that child’s father figure. And that was an extreme no for me, it was like, no, you have a child already. Like, this is our family. And it’s really interesting that that was revealed to me because it makes sense, as I say it, but I didn’t realize how strong of a need that was for me. And then it also brought up other fears of you possibly getting another woman pregnant, and then you would have two families, and then we could not be married anymore.

    Yeah.

    So it was really interesting. I liked the prompt, like, what would be the worst thing that would happen? And so my worst fear was that you would get that other woman pregnant, and then you’d have another family. And that really revealed to me a rule that we needed for our container of polyamory, which was any other woman that you would potentially sleep with would need to be on birth control of some sort and not condoms or the fertility awareness method, because that’s how I got pregnant. So it would have to be using birth control. However, that looked like for that woman.

    Yeah.

    It was a really revealing experience, which, by the way, folks, Olivier never went and had sex with this woman. It was all conversation.

    Yeah. We didn’t even talk to her.

    Yeah. We didn’t even get to the next step of.

    Like, talking to the other person because we need to be on the same wavelength before we do that. And what I love that’s revealed that depending on your stage of life, okay. Maybe you’re a parent, maybe you’re not a parent yet. Maybe you’re divorced. Maybe even if you’re not involved in family life yet and you’re interested about somebody who is, then you need to consider that you need to relook into what you’re getting involved with. Right. So it’s such also a practice of putting ourselves in somebody else’s shoes to see all the consequences and ramifications that might come out from choosing to get involved with that person or that type of relationship. So it demands a lot of responsibility.

    Yeah. And it demands a lot of open conversation and transparency. I think this is the fun part of polyamory. Is there’s just such a unique slowness to it and transparency, like anytime something comes up, it needs to be brought up between the people involved. So that way it starts off as, like, one tiny speed bump, but then that little speed bump can turn into a mountain.

    Oh, yeah.

    And really quickly, it can turn into a mountain. So the fun part of polyamory, for me at least, is the transparency and the communication and the self discovery that it brings to me.

    So that’s why I love about you, my job, because I know a lot of people would say that’s the excruciating part.

    Right.

    And the fact that you see it for you, like all this conversation means it’s juicy and connecting, then it brings us more together because I’m on the same paradigm. But for somebody who’s having all this transparency and communication could mean it’s already excruciating just to go into that.

    Right.

    The same events can mean different things depending on different people. Then you’re going into a rabbit hole of excruciating pain.

    Yeah.

    And for us, it brought us even more together because it was so emotional intimate to expose ourselves in this way to each other.

    So another interesting term that I heard while reading this book, once again, Poly Secure by Jessica Fern, was Poly intimate. And it’s so funny, like, listening to all these terms, because my brain goes like, oh, I’m that one. And then it hears another one. It’s like, oh, but I’m also this one. And then it’s like, oh, but wait, I’m this one over here. And when I heard the term Poly intimate, and the way that Jessica Fern describes it is there is almost no sexual intimacy. It’s purely emotional intimacy. And I remember I paused the book, and I was like, wait, isn’t that what I am with all of my friends?

    Yeah.

    And it’s like, oh, wait, maybe we’re all party into it.

    Well, it would mean also maybe writing love letters to each other, flirting a lot, but not going into anything sexual.

    Which is how I am with my son.

    Yeah. Okay.

    Yeah. It was really interesting hearing that term. And it was something I wanted to understand more of, like, for me that didn’t even register as being polyamorous because it’s like such a norm for me in my day to day life. But I had to acknowledge that for other people, they’re not necessarily sharing intimacy with emotional intimacy with multiple people in the mainstream world.

    It’s kind of very rare.

    Yeah.

    We choose to be in a community that’s very open emotionally, and so we have a lot of emotional ties with other people that we don’t consider being part of ours.

    Which is really fun and juicy to be involved in this community in this way, but also really confusing at times because it’s like, is this person flirting with me?

    Yeah.

    Do they want to sleep with me? Are we just flirting because flirting is fun. Like, which one is it? Yeah, it brings its own nuances here.

    And therefore we start edgey conversation.

    And then we start edging conversation.

    And how do you start an edgy conversation? You say, well, I would like to have an edgy conversation with you.

    Yeah. Just lay it out there. I would like to talk about something that might be a little bit more edgier, but Olivier and I have gotten to the point where we just say, I have a crush on this person. What do you think?

    Yeah. So for us, this expiration brings more emotional connection to each other.

    Yeah. And it’s really interesting. I’ve tried polyamory before, and it was messy. How come? It was messy? So I had my boyfriend, and then his best friend wanted to be a part of our relationship when we were all together, but not necessarily be in relationship with me.

    Yeah.

    It was confusing.

    So it was on a sexual basis more than emotional basis.

    But it was also emotional. And we were like, so they were already best friends. So we were all hanging out, like, super hard hanging. And he expressed like, yeah, I would love to share sexual intimacy. So we already had the emotional intimacy from being friends and then wanted to take it a step further. I was like, yeah, I’d love to share sexual intimacy. And my partner at the time was interested in him and would have loved to have a separate container between him. And then he was also interested in me. But the other guy who was not my partner was more interested in joining us intimately, emotionally and sexually. When we were all together, there was no open conversations or transparency, and it got messy.

    Well, that’s the thing. So when the energy is up, we all sit down together and we all land and we breathe together, and we look at each other in the eyes and we talk slowly and we unpack. What is my desire? So, yeah, what is my desire? What is my fears?

    Yeah, we didn’t do it, but it was fun while it lasted.

    So, for example, one of the rules that we have together, it’s not something that we say everybody should have, but if you want to steal it from us, that works as well. If somebody is interested in me, let’s say I go at a party and she’s doing whatever she’s doing at the party or she’s not there yet, she’s coming later, whatever. If that person is hitting on me, it’s my responsibility. They have no idea, right? They don’t necessarily have any idea of what’s happening in my life. So it’s my responsibility. It’s your responsibility to tell them, hey, I feel some interesting energy with you. It feels like frozen. Are you flirting with me? Just so you know, for anything to go any further, you need to talk to Jordan first. So the other person needs to talk to my partner first. They need to go through my partner to have access to me. And if anybody is interested with Jordan, it’s going to be Jordan’s responsibility. Because if something is happening and I see it on the other side of the room or the party or whatever, and nobody’s coming to me, I’m like, I’m going to feel excluded.

    Okay? So I’m expecting my partner at some point to take a pause and say, I really like you, but I got to tell you something and take them by the hand and come sit with me and say, we’re having a lot of fun and we have to include you with this. Just so you know, you need to go through Liva to get to me, right? So that would be the healthy attachment way to bring to open up to polyamory. Anything that doesn’t look like that for us, it’s going to get sensitive. So it’s going to be hard for me to be in conversion if they go for it without including me. And how does it look for me to be included? They take their hand, sit with me, and unpack it, and I need to have a conversation with that person and for that person to look me in the eyes. Okay, man or woman, look me in the eyes and tell me, I see you here. I see you. I know you’re here. I acknowledge your presence, and I’m interested in your wife or your girlfriend, but I’m paying my respects and acknowledging your presence before anything happens.

    Then I’m good. I feel a part of it. I have conversion. You guys do whatever you want to do. If you want to include me or not include me, I’m fine with it. So that’s how we work. But you can steal it. If you recommend you steal it.

    Highly recommend. Polyamory can get messy so quickly.

    So that’s one of our first rule is that the first rule we have, it needs to look like that. And the second one is things need to go at the pace of the slowest person. All right, so if they start to speed up and really get excited by each other, they need to go at my pace. Right? Or whoever is the least comfortable. Like if somebody says, okay, it’s edgy for me, it’s hard for me, but I’m still on board because I’m curious to explore this, and I see how happy this is excited this makes you, then I still want to be a part of it, but then the whole thing needs to go at their pace. If it becomes obviously controlling, then we can unpack that as well. But before, it’s usually control. So remember what we said, control is an expression of anxiety. So if somebody’s controlling, that means they’re anxious. So we need to acknowledge them and see if there’s a possibility. Possibility. What would they need to feel less anxious. Okay, so that’s our second rule.

    And honestly, that’s the only two rules. I feel like we have the birth control rule then.

    Now we have the birth control. Yeah, it makes sense. I would not go absolutely. It was obvious to me as well, but we need to talk about it to be on the same page. So why all that? It’s to really be sensitive with attachments. All right, so attachment is so essential to our wellbeing, because it’s linked to our survival as a kid, it’s linked to our survival. And in this society, it’s also linked to our emotional survival. Well, refer to the other podcast about it, because we talked about it intensively as a premise. So the conversation needs to unfold in a way that’s sensitive to attachments. And remember the attachment styles that could be avoidance or anxious or chaotic. So you guys need to know what your tendency is, what the other person’s tendency is so that you know what you need, you know what they need so that we can all come together on the safe territory.

    And I think that’s the really beautiful thing about Poly secure is they really dive into attachment theory and they explain how attachments play into polyamory. And I had never heard it through that lens before, and it just made so much sense to me. Like, well, of course, when you are diving into polyamory, there has to be secure attachment.

    That’s the first thing. Yeah.

    Otherwise it’s just going to be mountain after mountain and you’re hitting walls and you’re only like two weeks into this and you or your partner or the other person. They’re, like, in excruciating pain or they’re crying or just secure attachment is a must for polyamory. Yeah, that’s my belief.

    So the way we do it is that first we anchored a secured feather. Right. So we have this tether. Okay, thank you. Tether. We’re anchoring layers of secure tether before we can open up to anybody else. But if you are not in the same situation than we are committed with a kid and everything, maybe you’re a free electron. Like, you can bond with any way. Yeah. But then you need to be aware of your way is not everybody’s way. You need to respect that. And so you need to go slow to understand what their configuration is, their rules, and the way they operate is so that you can include yourself in and out securely. Safely for yourself and for them. Yeah.

    It’s really interesting. Like, looking back on the history of our relationship, of, like, we started off dating each other in openness, which we were like, no strings attached. We’re just exploring sexuality and intimacy together. And you’re free to do that with whomever you want. And I’m also free to do that with whomever I want. And then it’s funny, because although we were open, we were so, like, in love with each other that we never explored anything else because it was just like, oh, I’m deep diving into this person, and it’s so yummy and juicy, and I would just want to keep exploring with this person. And then it’s interesting because at that time, just having the label of open made me feel, like, so much better because at that time, I was in a space of fear, of commitment. And so that title of, like, yeah, we’re open, but we’re also deep diving and exploring with each other. It made me feel, like, just more settled in our relationship, I guess. And then once we got pregnant.

    Yes, that was it.

    Which was also an interesting conversation that we had because in my early pregnancy, I did not want to have sex.

    Yeah.

    I didn’t even want to be touched. I was, like, throwing up. It was really hard for me physically. And then you’re like, oh, my goodness, what about my emotional sexual needs?

    I was re steaming because we just went from having sex three times a day to almost nothing for months. I was like, what?

    Yeah.

    So at some point, I reconsidered, like, maybe I need to take on a lover. But I sat down.

    What was the conclusion that you came to?

    I settled down for being conscious about this attachment needs, and that is very important. And so I considered being pregnant, being a child, being a big transition and a transition that needed to feel safe. And so for you and for me, nothing is set in stone, and pregnancy has a time limit. I went to I switched my mindsets from craving. This needs to. Okay, there’s no urgency. Let’s establish trust and a very positive foundation for this new life, which is like raising kids. It’s going to go, like, for at least 20 years. Right.

    At least 20 years.

    More than my needs for a couple of months. I consider that the long term. No, the creating the foundation. Right. And from this foundation, then exploring from that, yeah.

    Anything can arise. Which brought us to after we had Cedar and things settled down and my curiosity came back and it’s like, oh, okay, what about this person? And then we moved from that closed container monogamous container to a different container, which we’re in now, which I don’t even know how to describe it from all these terms, but I like to use the word monogamish because we are monogamous. We have high emotional exclusivity and a medium sexual exclusivity, I would say with each other because this could look like bringing someone into our sexual container that could look like us having sex with other people that are not each other. And that’s the space we’re in now. However, we have not actually done very much exploring because we have between our child and our businesses, we’re full. We’re very full with our life fully.

    Memory requires a lot of time and attention, slowness communication. And so if you have an impulse that’s not enough to go into polyamory, in my sense, and for me, I’m not interested. Everybody can be different. You know, it’s like everybody have their own range on emotional exclusivity, emotional involvement, and sexual involvement. And for me, I don’t know how to be sexual if I’m not involved emotionally. So the other person or persons that we would bring in, I would need to feel something for them. Right. Whether it’s your way or my way coming from you or coming from me. So I personally need that high emotional involvement, not necessarily exclusivity, but involvement. The exclusivity pertains to attachment, to feel secure in our attachment. So we can say, okay, we are securing our attachment, and then now we can have anybody coming in or out without exclusivity because we don’t need the attachment with the other person. So everybody is different on that scale.

    Yeah. It’s really interesting, like diving deeper into what it is exactly, that you want, your desires, your fears. I think that’s the juicy part of polyamory, and then, of course, the actual polyamory part.

    So we are only halfway through the book, so I want to do another episode. I want us to go through the rest of the book and then do another episode, but I just want to touch quickly on if you can’t pronounce it, how can I pronounce it polyamory? In my experience, it was a term that has been used with flexibility. So it was not necessarily a veto. It could become a veto, but it was mostly to voice or to share the degree of attachment we have with which person. If I feel more attached with you, I would say you’re my primary, and then somebody am I engaged with? I might say, well, you’re more of my secondary in terms of seeing each other just a few days every other month. So for me, it was more than the veto parts because that’s what she refers to. And I’ve experienced polyamory talking about hierarchy without what she explains in the book, that rigid kind of way.

    Yeah. I don’t think of it as, like, rigidity, but I also do see it as like, because we are more securely attached. My needs would be taking it into more consideration in the sense of, like, checking in with me before, even in the case of how we do it of like, oh, I’m interested in this person. How do you feel about that? Yeah, that’s how I see it more. And it’s really interesting. I guess the way she describes it is I take it as more rigid, but pretty rigid. Yeah. When I think about it, it’s like more flexibility and.

    Really interesting. For example, back in 2015, I first dated that woman from Colorado before I engaged with the one in California. And we had a long conversation about our degree of engagement with each other. And I remember going on the walk for another 2 hours and talking about that primary, secondary. And I came to the conclusion and I told her, well, you know, I feel more in terms of the way I feel attached or connected to you as you being more of a secondary, although I don’t have a primary yet. So it was my way to express that I was involved emotionally and sexually, but I had room for a stronger relationship.

    Right.

    So I use this language to kind of describe my involvement.

    Makes sense. Yeah, I think that’s the key part because a lot of people, when they hear a hierarchical, it’s like, wait, you’re my primary. Does that mean I value you?

    Right.

    Yeah, it goes into value like, oh, if you’re my primary, then you’re my number one and my secondary, they don’t really mean that much to me. And that’s not the case necessarily. Yeah, although it can be, but that’s not the case. So I just want to wrap this up quickly with a couple of questions. Oh, yeah. I put it on my Instagram asking if anyone had questions about polyamory, and I got a couple and we have time for three. The first one is, how do couples feel their relationship changed after introducing polyamory and we can only speak for ourselves? I can’t really share about other couples because I am not other couples. But for us, we did start off with the open container, closed our container, and then brought a different type of polyamorous container back. And for us, it just makes us feel more connected to each other because there’s these prospects for deeper self reflection and introspection involved. And then I can come and share that with my partner and he can come share that with me, vice versa. And it becomes something that we, like, navigate together. And that brings, like, more juiciness, more yumminess.

    And, like, even just talking because, you know, there’s, like, different scenarios of like, well, I want a girlfriend who might not necessarily be a part of a threesome with us, but like my own separate girlfriend. And we’ve talked about that. But then we’ve also talked about bringing someone into our sexual container in the sense of a threesome. And all of it is like, super juicy, super yummy. And it’s like, wow, I feel so connected to you. And it’s exciting to just experience the connection and the potency of our connection of like, wow, we’re talking about something super edgy. And it makes me feel like, juicy.

    Yeah. Because we go slow and because we’re very sensitive with each other, then it is exciting instead of excruciating. So another couple could go through the same thing, but it’s going too fast and therefore it’s excruciating. So how do couples feel their relationships changed?

    Depends on what they go through. And my invitation is to just take things super slow, always have conversations started off with a conversation, and it’s making sure that there’s secure attachment there and follow your emotions.

    I have what you said. When you are thinking of that other person, you felt anger. Anger means boundaries. Angers. Anger is the gateway to strengthening our boundaries. And you felt a little bit of jealousy, which is how secure are my close relationships, right.

    Yeah. So the second question we have is why does the thought of our person sharing such intimate space with someone hurt?

    So, yeah, that’s about conversion and attachments. There are different level of secure attachment. There’s secure attachment yourself and then with somebody else. So both need to happen, in my sense, before feeling comfortable with opening with somebody else.

    Yeah. And I think the secure attachment to yourself is something that’s often overlooked because you need to have a certain level of secure attachment. I don’t know how to say it, but in my experience, talking with other people and with myself oftentimes what’s brought up most is like self worth.

    Yeah.

    And if you have self esteem things that you’re working through or if you’re developing your own relationship to yourself, now may not be the time to bring polyamory into your relationship. And I like, also there’s like, different levels of hurt, because if this is edgy and it’s like, oh, that kind of stings. But I’m going to lean into it and see what else is there, then that would be like a go ahead sign. But if you’re thinking of bringing polyamory into your relationship and it’s causing excruciating pain, that’s 100% completely valid. And polyamory might not be for you. But I also want to invite you to look at the deeper questions that are arising. Why do you feel pain at the thought of your partner being with someone else. Exactly what is it there? Is it a feeling of exclusion, like with you, Olivier? Or is it like a feeling of, I’m not enough for this person which relates directly to your attachment with yourself? Is it jealousy? Which brings us to our next question of how to deal with jealousy.

    Yeah. So those painful feelings, they point to point directly, just like you said to your nervous system and to what’s happening with you. Right. So there’s a degree of being secure of yourself that is essential. And also, how much do I trust you, depending on what I know about you, what I’ve seen you do. Right. So if you have a tendency to not tell me everything, if you have a tendency to be impulsive and not being capable of slowing down, I’m going to start to feel hurt before anything happens, because I’m not sure that I’m going to be met with the level of transparency that I need to feel secure. And so therefore, I’m going to start to feel jealous. And jealousy is about is my love relationship secure?

    Yeah, I love that. I also heard someone describe it once of jealousy coming from a deeper way to look at jealousy is that your needs might not be met in your relationship. And so if you see your partner and maybe they have a lover, and in Spain, their lover is maybe your partner gets them flowers and you feel jealous, like, oh, why didn’t my partner get me flowers? You can always respond with a request of, I see that you are bringing your partner gifts. Would you mind bringing me a gift every once in a while? Because then there is that exclusivity there like, oh, you’re doing it for one person, but you’re not doing it for me.

    Balance. Yeah.

    Balance, equalizer, equality, which are all equality and balance needs, personally of mine. And you can always share it with your partner or your lover. Like, oh, this feeling came up for me, and this is why. But for me, too, it’s also an invitation to look once again at your attachment to yourself. Like, okay, I’m jealous that he’s with another woman and she doesn’t look the way I think it’s super hot. And what does that mean about me? There’s always the invitation there for self reflection. And I mean, jealousy is such an interesting emotion to sit with and like, what’s coming out of there?

    So I love this workbook from Kalama Claren called The Language of well, it comes from the book The Language of Emotions. So this is what she has. Jealousy arises in response to challenges that may threaten your connection to love, loyalty, or security in your relationshipalkemy. Now, there’s always two layers. There’s the layers that’s happening in the present moment with this person. Okay. So is the level of love, loyalty and security threatened with this person, or is it from the past? Because in my past, nothing to do with this person love, loyalty and security have been challenged and therefore I’m not resolved with it. And although it was under the carpet or under the radar, now it’s coming up because of the situation even though that person might be fully loyal and offering security as well. So there’s always two layers and so engaging in polyamory and in intimate relationshipalkemy to start with and therefore in polyamory only brings it up stronger. So folks all right.

    There you have it. What the heck is polyamory? I hope this answered your questions.

    Maybe it brought up more questions so we only have through the book and I want to come back and talk about more of what she talks about to unpack this topic.

    All right. Also just a reminder if you love this podcast so much, please give us a rating, five stars hopefully and leave us a little review that would really help us and of course share this podcast with anyone that you think it could benefit.

    Our page relationshipalkemy.com. You can go to the podcast tab to see the previous episodes and if you want to download and print this graph then you can also go to the free download tab, insert your email there and then you’ll be to download all the handouts for the podcast including this one.

    All righty, y’all be kind and be well and we’ll see you next time.

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