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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


Healthy Relationships

One of the things I've learned, as we've gone through these months, is about the relative state of the health of our relationships with one another.  It was crystal clear, when everything came crashing down back in that September to January passage, that we had some relationship issues, and that we needed to start looking carefully at our  emotional and intimate underpinnings and start working to fix what what was broken.

There's a real store of information about what works and what doesn't work between intimate partners.  A simple Internet search will yield a wealth of information, and while some of it is contradictory, the fact remains that there are clear theories and tested practices that can enhance and improve the quality of our personal relating.

We've been working on a whole number of issues and dysfunctions -- both as individuals and as partners.  It seems that, as I work to recover and heal, I am becoming aware of problems that have been woven through the fabric of our lives together over the years.  Becoming aware gives me the opportunity to make the choices about "fixing" the broken places and learning new and healthier ways of being together with my loves.

This recovery process is just chock-full of "inventories," and so it has become commonplace for us to take inventories of our lives in one context or another.  This is no different.  I am slowly working my way along, looking at all the various facets of this oh-so-important part of our lives together.  Jack Rinella, author of a number of books about our lifestyle, provides a good, concise checklist in a blog post called Liberation:

"signs that indicate a relationship is healthy: honesty, openness, empowerment, liberation, authenticity, enjoyment, peace, affection, understanding, and stability."

 Here's an overview of where I am; of what I've discovered so far --

honesty -- BDSM lifestyle partners, like us, are supposed to be experts at being honest with each other, and I think we believed we had this handled through all the years we've been together.  I've found that there were plenty of places where I wasn't entirely truthful with Him -- about what I thought, what I needed, what I feared, what I wanted, and who I really was.  I got very far down the path of saying "yes" when I meant "no," and vice versa.  Sometimes, I simply went along to get along, and in doing that, I hurt myself and our relationship.  I am working, through rehab and therapy, to learn better ways to talk with Him; better ways to listen and respond to the things He shares with me.  In what I say and what I do, I am working hard at being as honest as I can be. 

openness -- Open arms, open doors, open eyes, open heart -- openness makes me available and vulnerable.  I have, over the years, become habitual and unconscious about closing myself off as a way to protect myself.  Increasingly, I've chosen to respond in ways that cut off conflict and avoided confrontation.  I would welcome the easy and happy feelings, but would close off when anything difficult or painful arose.

empowerment -- In the best relationships, partners empower each other to be the best they can be.  This is as true in BDSM relationships as in the more mainstream sort of partnering.  Even as we play with the balance of power between us, we ought to be working to lift our partner up within the context of our loving.  I missed the mark here, especially at the end.  I let myself be frightened and pushed into a codependent and enabling role, and in doing that I abandoned my responsibilities to be the best I could be, and I was therefore incapable of supporting Him in being His best self.  What a tangled up mess it got to be.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that I do know how to use my power to build us up and make us stronger -- it is time now to brush those skills off and put myself back to that work. 

liberation -- When He and I are at our best, we set each other free.  Together, we are perfect.  Together our unique sexual orientations complement and affirm each other.  The fact that we live as strangers in a much more "ordinary" world fades to insignificance when we are in tune with each other.  The connection we share tells us that we are really good, right, and perfect just as we are.  When I let myself go to battle with Him, lose my faith in "us," I lose my center and I find myself locked down -- too afraid to move or risk or grow.  I want to go forward with courage and optimism.  I am tired of being afraid all of the time.  I can choose.

authenticity --  I am really, truly, authentically His.  It isn't about trappings or rules or protocols or rituals.  It isn't about what anyone else does or thinks.  It doesn't have its genesis in His issuing orders and commands, it has nothing at all to do with whether I wear His collar; it is not about how much pain I can endure, it isn't about how long my chore list might be.  It is, simply about remembering to live out the truth that I know.  I believe that when I am authentically the woman I was born to be, He will respond with absolute authenticity from His own reality. 

enjoyment --  I knew this once.  This thing we do is supposed to be fun.  It is meant to bring us pleasure and joy.  We were created for joy and it is within our grasp because we are lucky enough to have found each other.  I let myself get screwed down in my mind; mired in anger and frustration and a sense of hopelessness.  I lost sight of all that is good and wonderful about our love for each other, and I came to believe that it was all horrible and ugly and miserable.  That was not the truth and it is not the truth.  I will live in joy.

peace --  He has been, over the years, the safe harbor for my heart.  When life seemed stormy and scary, I could always curl up in His embrace and rest easy.  Then I stopped feeling safe, and I lost my refuge.  I am determined to learn again to see the goodness, the strength, the love that He brings to my life, and sail back into the peace that I find in being His.

affection -- He loves me.  I love Him.  Through all my long life, there has never been anyone that I have felt so at one with.  He smiles and makes me happy.  He touches me and brings me home to my own body.  It is a wonderful, beautiful, rare gift. 

understanding --To understand someone is a layered skill.  To hear.  To see.  To feel.  To recognize.  To acknowledge.  In these last years, I've fallen into patterns that made it seem "right" to dismiss Him as "just drunk."  I've tended to disregard and disrespect Him because, in my mind, I saw Him as unreliable and undependable and unavailable.  Now that He has committed to the hard work of changing, being sober, meeting life cleanly, I have the corollary obligation of affirming the change and honoring Him with the respect and regard He deserves.

stability -- Stability gives us a place to stand.  I can settle down, be that reliable, dependable, predictable, rock solid partner for Him.  Just as I hope to find safety and security in His love for me, I need to give Him those gifts in return.  If I can find that stability, then I believe we will find, in each other, as sense of calm and security.

We have the tools, and we have the foundation to build a strong and healthy love together.  We've been good with each other before -- for lots and lots of years.  We nearly got washed away in the tide of addiction, fear, frustration, blame and anger.  Instead, we were saved by some sort of magic that we only vaguely comprehend.  We've been given another chance, and I intend to not waste it.  I want us to grow old wrapped up around each other.  The work is well begun.  We are moving forward.



  1. You are indeed moving forward....and its so good to read :) Such a lot of very powerful stuff in this post. It reminded me of a line from a tutor in an emotional intelligence class I attended when she said how most of it was simple and someone asked how she could say that because they didn't think it was easy at all. She responded that simple and easy are two different things, and the simplest of things are often far from easy. They are the things we intuitively know to be true, yet they are the things we often lose sight of how to perform. Much within our relationships with each other are like that aren't they?

    Today, as I read this, my heart smiles for you all.

    With much love and hugs.


  2. Long post, must have taken you much time and much thought.

    Good that you are feeling a sense of progress. Life is really an adventure, isn't it! As long as we remember that, we can tolerate a good deal of adversity. Adventure usually comes with difficult, scary patches and interesting, hopeful patches too. Right now you are in a hopeful patch.

    Adventure means meeting new challenges and finding ways to overcome them. Without the difficult patches we would not learn new things, and that learning gives us satisfaction.

  3. There's so much here - valuable, life-affirming, positive stuff. And I'm so very glad.

    I'm glad because things are improving, you lived through the darkness and are making your way into the light. Our worst fears were NOT realized.

    And I'm also glad, because reading recent entries, I'm seeing that you've all embarked on a journey, and you know it's a journey, and there's no end point at which time you can say the journey is done. It cheers and reassures me to know that you get it, and are aware that there are no easy fixes. That this healing and wholeness and health and peace that I so fervently wished for you all, takes hard work. And it's on-going.

    And I'm blessed to read your words, and gain insight into my own life and times, my relationships with others. You honor us all with your sharing, and you poke at uncomfortable places that I'd rather not stir up. And you challenge me. How, after seeing the tremendous courage and strength you've all shown, can I refuse to let myself be a little uncomfortable? Surely you have all traveled to the metaphorical gates of hell and back, so how can I refuse to examine my own life as I walk with you along this journey toward light and life?

    I may not like everything I see, but I thank you so much for helping me to see. In spite of the icky things I encounter inside myself, I am still glad and continue, as always, to send you encouragement and support.


  4. I've been away for a while, minimal computer access. This is excellent, insightful, honest and helpful both for you and for your readers, including me. Interestingly enough, it fits right in with some reading I've been doing in a totally different context. I'm now in the process of integrating them.


    Over the years of my sobriety, I've seen many people that have not done the work and therefore, not made the progress that you all have. I honor you for that.


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