“Ugh,” he says. “Another post that basically says ‘communicate.'”
“Lemme guess,” I say. “It also says that without saying what that communication looks like, in even general terms?”
“Yup,” he says. “Not to mention… communication isn’t everything.”
“It definitely has its limits,” I say. “Take you and me. We have a great relationship. But do we really communicate that well? Not really. We try. We’re pretty good at communicating with one another, but there are always gaps and misunderstandings. Communication isn’t what really makes this work.”
“What you said just then? That’s sacrosanct,” he says.
“I think you mean heretical,” I correct him. “I think you’re trying to say that I just committed heresy with what I said.”
“It’s an unpopular thought, but I think vulnerability, integrity, and shared values are more important than communication. That’s why we work,” I say.
He smiles. “I dare you to write about that.”
It’s telling that I first transcribed that conversation in 2017 — and it’s only just now, in 2021, that I’m getting the wherewithal and the courage to put together a post that I intend to publish in public. And really only because I’m making a concerted effort to go through my folder of old drafts and either finish them or delete them (more on that project later in a future post, once I — hopefully — finish it).
Because this is hard to admit. Difficult to talk about.
Look, I really think there’s something to be said for communicating. Not perfectly or anything, mind you. But well enough.
Communicating well enough? That’s of vital importance.
But good communication alone isn’t what makes a happy relationship. After a certain point, there are other factors that come into play — whether you’re actually compatible and want the same things. And whether you have compatible definitions of what a good person is (values overlap) and are both working towards that in an honest way (integrity).
For more reframes and tools to maintain healthy relationships of all kinds, please see Dealing with Difficult Metamours, a guide to troubleshooting challenging polyamorous dynamics as well as guidance on how to not create them in the first place.