When I read More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, I found the end of chapter polyamory questions particularly thought-provoking. It occurred to me that I could probably write an essay for the blog on each one.
That is precisely what I aim to do. This post will serve as the index. I’ll put more polyamory questions here as I reach each successive chapter, and once I’ve posted the “answer,” I’ll link to it on this entry. I can’t guarantee I’ll always behave and answer in a straightforward manner, but I’ll at least use them as writing prompts.
This is going to be an interesting undertaking, that’s for sure. There are a lot of freaking chapter-end polyamory questions in the book. I also plan on working them in around anything else I feel like writing and posting here in the interim.
Without any further ado, here are the questions!
Polyamory Questions (from More than Two)
Have I ever felt romantic love for more than one person at the same time?
Do I feel there can be only one “true” love or one “real” soulmate?
How important is my desire for multiple romantic relationships?
What do I want from my romantic life? Am I open to multiple sexual relationships, romantic relationships, or both? If I want more than one lover, what degree of closeness and intimacy do I expect, and what do I offer?
How important is transparency to me? If I have more than one lover, am I happy with them knowing about each other? If they have other lovers, am I happy knowing them?
How do I define commitment? Is it possible for me to commit to more than one person at a time, and if so, what would those commitments look like?
If I am already in a relationship, does my desire for others come from my dissatisfaction or unhappiness with my current relationship? If I were in a relationship that met my needs, would I still want multiple partners?
What are my needs in relationships? Are they attached to specific people? That is, do I need these things generally, or do I need them just from certain people?
What configurations am I open to? Am I looking for a particular configuration because I’m afraid that others might be more scary or more threatening?
Am I flexible in what I’m looking for?
If my relationship changes, is that okay?
Can I accommodate change, even unexpected change or change I don’t like?
When I visualize the kind of relationship I want, how much space does it leave for new partners to shape the relationship to their needs?
Am I focusing on an idealized fantasy more than on making organic connections with real people?
What happens if I connect with someone in a way that differs from how I want my poly relationship to look? What message does that send to someone who doesn’t fit neatly into my dreams?
(Ch. 3 questions are all asked in the context of ones to ask to evaluate whether your choices are ethical.)
Have I disclosed all relevant information to everyone affected by my decision?
Have I sought input from everyone affected? Have I obtained their consent where my decision overlaps their personal boundaries?
Does my decision impose obligations or expectations on others without their input or consent?
Am I seeking to have my needs met at the expense of the well-being of others?
Am I imposing consequences that will make others feel unsafe saying no to me?
Am I offering others the same consideration I expect from them?
Why do I have romantic relationships? What do I get out of them?
What do I consider essential, indispensable elements of a relationship?
Are there specific kinds of relationships that I know I’m looking for? Kinds that I know I don’t want?
What do I bring to the table for others?
What makes me feel cherished, loved and secure?
What makes me feel afraid in relationships? Why?
In what ways do I protect myself from being hurt? Do those strategies help or hinder my search for connection?
Why do I have relationships with other people? (see also 4.1)
What needs do I have from my partners, in terms of time, emotional availability, commitment, communication and intimacy?
What does “commitment” mean to me, and why? (see also 1.6)
When I think about the future, what does it look like? Is there room for change and growth? (see also 2.4 and 2.5)
How much do I value personal autonomy, transparency, cohabitation, having and raising children, shared finances, community, tradition, the opinions of my friends and family, adhering to social norms?
What values are the most important to me in myself and in others?
Are the choices I make in alignment with these values?
Who are my mirrors? Whom do I rely on to call me on my mistakes?
How do I respond to criticism from people close to me?
How do I evaluate my choices when the effects of my actions are impossible to predict?
What do I expect of others, and why?
Do I use words the same way my partners do? Do I often find myself in discussions about the meanings of words?
If I have a problem with someone’s behavior, do I discuss the problem with that person?
If my partners have a problem with someone else’s behavior, do I encourage them to bring it up with that person?
Do I communicate passively or directly?
Do I look for hidden meanings in other people’s words? Do I bury my real meaning?
Do I communicate authentically in ways that make me vulnerable?
In what ways do I actively listen to my partners?
How do I directly ask for what I need?
What can I do to be more direct in my communication?
If I hear a hidden meaning in a statement or a question, do I ask for clarification before acting on my assumptions?
Do I perceive criticism in my partner’s statements even if they aren’t directly critical?
What do I do to check in with my partners?
How well do I listen to my partners?
What do I do to make sure it’s safe for my partners to communicate with me, and to let them know it’s safe?
Does my communication show that I take responsibility for my actions and emotions?