PQ 10.2 — Does the agreement offer a path to success?
The trouble with a lot of couples who are newly opening up is that they’re threat sensitive.
It’s natural to want to protect what you have. But when we focus solely on failure states (like breaking up over changes that come with the introduction of a new partner, etc), we don’t define what success is.
While change can be scary, it’s important to leave room for relationships to grow and become deeper. After all, it’s a rare person who will invest in others (long or short term) without the possibility of a path to promotion.
And if you don’t have a goal to move towards, how can you ever hope to achieve positive things? So it’s important to not only define failure states but success states as well.
Of course keeping in mind that when we define things too strictly, we don’t leave room for people to be who they are.
Your ideal success states will vary depending on who you are, your life, your particular needs – but will likely be informed by your core values.
Taking my own life as an example, my highest value seems to be choice. This means I value my independence and my autonomy. And that I value relationships with others in which they retain their own. So my ideal poly web is lush and full of connections but also one where everyone involved has a lot of freedom and a lot of fun.
A lot of fun. (Guess I value fun, too.)
Valuing choice so highly and autonomy so highly makes me particularly ill suited for formal polyfidelity, a relationship style that involves more than two partners but are closed to new ones.
But for others? A polyfidelitous triad, square, or moresome might be just the thing.
Anyway, it’s something to keep in mind. Rather than focusing on possible destructive forces, it might be good to try a different tactic: Looking for opportunities to be constructive in building the sorts of relationships you’d like to have. And charting a possible path for getting there.
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.