When I moved away from Denver to a small town in the middle of nowhere Kansas I had to register to vote in my new state of residence. When I did so I went from democrat to undeclared, not because I had suddenly gotten swayed by the republicans but that I felt like I didn’t really align with mainstream politics on either side. Perhaps my views were generally too radical or anti or interesting that they didn’t seem to fit in with either party and I didn’t want to be associated one way or the other.
I say this, because this not fitting in thing is also how I feel about the whole monogamy v. polyamory debate.
If someone were to ask me, I really find myself fitting in well with either ways of being, but there can be good (and bad) ideas on both sides.
What draws me back to concepts of polyamory and consensual non-monogamy is not the actual practice of it, but the theory, the root of philosophy– which to me is that each relationship that a person is in with another person should be unique and designed together– instead of following some sort of standard script you essentially write the story together. That’s what lures me.
From a practical standpoint, there isn’t really enough time, resources or interest for me in consensual non-monogamy. I think having close friendships and one intimate secure romantic relationship (when and if I find it) will be plenty for me, but I’m certainly open to ideas on how to have healthy, happy, meaningful connections and growth.
Hence why I keep coming back to books on consensual non monogamy… not because I want to be in an open relationship necessarily but because I have found that people in the poly world give much better relationship advice regardless of how one practices their romantic connections.
I think this is a pretty accurate assessment after reading the book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Non Monogamy by Jessica Fern.
Fern starts by talking about the different types of secure and insecure attachment styles that people typically fall into and the dimensions of those attachments in relationship to boundaries, actions, ways of being etc.
From there, she takes us through concepts on consensual non-monogamy and why understanding attachment theory is important in these (and really all types of) relationships.
In the third section, Fern gives practical tips and suggestions for creating better security in relationships but also, what I found to be the most important, security with the self.
This was one of those books that I think anyone, regardless of whether they’re monogamous, single, polyamorous etc. could benefit from reading to better understand themselves, how they attach and get actual methods for creating better security.
There were some key takeaways for me:
It’s healthier to turn toward conflict–no matter how healthy the relationship there will be times of disharmony. “It’s not that we have ruptures, it’s how we repair them (192).” Realizing that there’s a problem and solving the problem, that the relationship is more important than the problem itself.
“…for adults, a securely attached romantic relationship takes approximately two years to really solidify.” (139) Like, damn, okay, that’s way longer than I would have guessed, which I think just highlights how we’ve all sort of lost patience with each other but perhaps that’s a topic for another day.
“In monogamy, if two people do not align in their desires to be attached at a secure level or one person is unable or unwilling to step into secure functioning then the relationship usually ends…”(146). Oh, well, when you put it this way this certainly makes so much sense.
Overall, I found the book useful, though I’m left wanting more and I can’t quite place what it is exactly I’m wanting. I do like how she suggests we take what we need and leave the rest, I guess that’s sort of what I do already as someone undeclared in politics and in love.
Want to buy the book? Here’s the link to Polysecure.
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