What’ve You Got To Lose?

December 1st, 2011

A journal entry from earlier this week:

The longer you’ve been around, the more you have to lose. As wife, before girlfriends exist, you have everything. All the love, time, attention, interest. Then comes girlfriend, and love multiplies, but time and attention are divided, and if you’re lucky, interest gets multiplied by the extra energy. Sometimes, though, NRE can make it feel like she gets more and you get less. It can take time to rebalance.

The cycle continues for girlfriend. You get all you can until second girlfriend arrives. Then, by the needs of reality, time and attention are further divided, love is multiplied, and interest fluctuates, hopefully ending up in the positive direction. As more partners are added, balance gets harder to maintain, and needs and wants are weighed more carefully.

One ripple causes waves throughout, and if it starts as a wave, storms can appear. Tidal pools of spiraling emotions, pulling everyone down until someone catches a life-preserver and pulls the rest back up.

So, how do you survive the divisions? By enjoying that which is multiplied. By believing the benefits outweigh the cost. By being heard, even when you don’t get everything you want. By being gracious, compassionate, compersive and by compromising. Life is a state of constant change, you have to keep up and ask for the love and support you need to do so.

 

This is relevant in two, completely opposite directions in my life right now. One, hubby is down to just me. This makes the time he has to spend with me greater, though my availability has not truly changed. It may, if needed, or as schedules naturally morph over time and situation. But he and I must find a new balance, as he will be home for time I’ve previously spent alone, and he may find a desire for more of my time than he currently has.

Two, he is up to a wife and four girlfriends, and his wife is changing to day shifts next week. For a while now, most of the time divided by him, has been time she is usually at work. Now, though, it won’t be, and I imagine she is feeling the sting sharper for the amount of time she now has available and the huge chunks of it already scheduled with us. So, we look for balance, not only of time between the five of us, but of place, to give her space in her home.

We don’t have answers for any of this, yet. But we are all committed to making it work. For the love we all share, and the community we are creating together, makes us all stronger and better, and fills our lives with incredible joy.

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Lessons in Negotiation

December 30th, 2010

These last few weeks have provided many lessons in Negotiation. First as an observer and then as an active participant. I watched several new people learn their first lessons in trying to fence with him, and in trying to assist one of them, became part of the scene. Bear with me and I’ll tell you all about what I ended up agreeing to do. So, what have I learned?

No wishing for more wishes. This seems simple enough, most of us remember Robin Williams’ genie quoting this to Aladdin. But in the heat of the moment, when you don’t have any better ideas. A blank check, while dangerous, seems simple enough. You must, however, remember to stipulate, that it cannot be cashed in for more blank checks, otherwise, a single scene at his whim becomes many more.

Don’t forget your limits. Not that you might forget your limits such as they are, but always remember to include them in a negotiation. Whether it is telling a new partner what your limits are, or stipulating that the above blank check(s) cannot violate them. It is all well and good to push your limits when you want to, but make sure you want to.

Be specific. At all points of the negotiation, be clear and precise. What are you offering, what are you getting, what are the terms and the rules and the boundaries. “Test me!” might be a fun thing for an excited student to shout, but it behooves one to specify what they want to be tested on. “School girl outfit” can mean different things to different people. “Skirts” come in many different lengths and styles. “Tied together” sounds fun, but do you really want to leave the binding material up to his imagination? Stockings, hose, fishnets, knee-highs, socks all very important distinctions in how much leg is covered or uncovered.

Offer something of value. Different people value different things from different people. Some people value sex. Some people value service. Some people value suffering. Some value the passing of knowledge. Learn what it is that will be of value and find ways to offer it.

Be creative and then be even more creative. Don’t offer things you have already given or things he already has. Offer something new, offer something bigger, offer something more interesting. Start with new and interesting offers, and then push them one step further. And don’t be afraid to make them well rounded – paint the full picture, not just the center of it. Bootblacking is good, but bootblacking while naked and kneeling is better, and bootblacking while naked and kneeling followed by some boot worship is even more interesting.

Don’t let other people negotiate for you. Stay in control of your side of the negotiation. Keep your wits about you and keep your mouth moving. If you want to be happy with what is agreed to, stay actively engaged in the discussion. Stick up for yourself and stand your ground when you have to. You do not have to agree to everything they say, keep seeking compromises that work for both parties. Unless agreements to the contrary are already in place, you can always say no, and most times even then.

Be reasonable and trust the other people in the negotiation. If you have a real problem with something, explain it, trust that they care about you and will listen. (If you don’t trust them or they don’t care about you, well, that’s another entry entirely.) Then, negotiate to find a way to make it work for everyone. Try not to just say no, that is impossible. Look for solutions that benefit everyone. Most problems are only little bumps in the road.

Be flexible and open minded. Understand that everything is not going to go the way you want it to. Understand that your definitions may not be the same as his definitions. Accept that sometimes comfort zones are meant to be left behind, it is how you can grow. I am incredibly curious, sometimes I have to let the curiosity override the fear.

Relax and enjoy it. Negotiation is where you get to learn about the other person. You get to see how their mind works, what they like and don’t like, how they feel, what their state is. You get to know them, and get to share yourself with them. You are not going to get it all right, but you’re not going to get it all wrong,either. But if you’re both/all happy when it is over, then everyone wins. Keep talking until you’re happy.

So, I promised to let you know what I got myself into. A new friend was starting a negotiation with him, and I was offering some advice. When he was presented with that fact, he suggested that since I was trying to help out, perhaps I should join the negotiation. Her fate and mine became intertwined. We spent most of the rest of the night negotiating. When it was all said and done, we had quite the scene lined up:

Three of us, dressed as school girls (clothing was one of the largest parts of the negotiation) – Japanese, American and British, respectively (I hear there may be a chalkboard hung high up on the wall for sentence writing). We may not say no for the entire night (creativity will be flowing). The evening will start with bootblacking, and we will be available at any time for massage. At his leisure, he may put us in the dog cage (with a violet wand kit nearby), or bind us all together (quite possibly with saran wrap, followed by ice and then hot wax). And at some point during the evening, there will be a Japanese song and dance (whaddya mean I have to dance when I’m sober?) in front of an audience of undetermined size (our voluntary third musketeer is joyfully plotting choreography to the song chosen last night).

It shall be a Very interesting evening. I can hardly wait.

What are you thoughts on Negotiation? What traps have you fallen into?

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Negotiating with Loved Ones, or What Poly Means to Me

February 4th, 2010

Maybe I should officially switch to Thursday post, it seems to work better for me lately.

Poly relationships, I have said before, are balanced largely on communication. Also important are consideration, compromise, and compersion. Sorry about the alliteration, but it works for me. Negotiating relationships and boundaries is an important part of maintaining balance and happiness for all partners. Every relationship is different, what works for one, may not work for another, and what worked last month may not work this month. People change and grow and relationships have to do the same to keep up.

In any relationship, you have to have consideration for your partner, for their feelings, for their triggers and for their foibles. Mindfulness, to me, is next to godliness. And compromise follows right along behind. Being willing to give and take to keep the balance. But also remembering that you have to do both, one-sidedness is not compromise. Compersion is hardest, being happy for what your partner has with their other partners, instead of our normal human reaction of jealousy.

I admit, I’m not always mindful. I sometimes do not want to compromise. And for some people, I just have a hard time even approaching compersion. That is okay, I grow, I learn and I keep moving forward. I keep trying, I keep loving and I keep communicating as best I can.

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