ON-DEMAND

All You Need to Know About Solo Poly

Calendar
Streamed
Monday, July 23, 2018

What is solo-polyamory? How does it differ? What does ethical non-monogamy look like when you don’t have a primary partner?

Video transcript

Anyway hey. So I'm Q Wilson. I am one of the many awesome educators, AKA pleasure professionals here at O.school. I identify as a ton of different things. Some big pieces of my identity are being queer, being a person of color, ethically non-monogamous, and also solo polyamorous. And there's bunches of other things and I'm sure we'll pop up into things and I'll let you know. But all of those come together to shape how I view the world and what my experiences are. My world is very much unapologetically queer and so I like to hold space for other queers of all varieties and queer experiences to come and have a good time. Talk share, be amongst peers and friends and that's why I really like doing what I'm doing with O.school. So I get to make that space. If I'm using language that is unfamiliar to you, by all means, please ask me about the language. I'm happy to use that moment to catch everybody up and put everybody on the same page. So hopefully you'll be brave. If you've never done a chat room before, because internet trolls really are a thing and who wants internet trolls when you're trying to talk or find out stuff about sex and intimacy and like the good shit in life? So we have troll fighters, they're called moderators, and they're amazing. Chew is my moderator for today. So if you've never been into a chat room because you don't want to get into some sort of newbie thing, this is not that kind of space. This is a space for asking those questions, having conversations with folks. Yesterday when I went I think I did what, squirting was my topic yesterday, and my chat room got just outta control. They were amazing and sharing all kinds of really amazing, personal, vulnerable things. So it's a great space for that and I want you to take advantage of it. Also that's how you get to ask me actual questions that you may have. What else do I want you to know? I am not originally from the west coast. I like in Oakland, California right now. I am from Columbia, South Carolina. I was a queer baby there, all the things. I have only been in the Bay, eight years I think. This year it'll be eight years. So this is a very new bubble and it's a very unique bubble. And I think being someone who's not born and raised here and coming into this bubble with the knowledge that outside of this beautiful, amazing, sex-positive, kink aware, all of the things that are fun and juicy in life this bubble is really unique and really amazing. But outside of this, people don't have that. So I love being able to share all of the stuff I've learned because ultimately I want you to not have bad sex in your life. No one should be having bad sex any more. This is a free site with really awesome, amazing folks who talk about all kinds of things. So it's free. Did I mention that? It's kinda awesome. So other things to note. I am a wiggler. I have ADHD, I try not to. I'm also slightly Italian with my hands. That's a thing. I'm passionate about the things I share. I'm part of the Kink, Leather, BDSM community. That's where I figured out that sex was my kink and it was a struggle to figure that out and come to terms with that when you're dealing with being in a community that's all about some pretty bad ass things. Like people... From an outside perspective of the community you may not know that people study the things that they do. They apprentice and get mentored. So people learn it, and it's a really, like people take their skill sets very seriously, it's a big deal. And I realized, like my skill set, the thing I really love to study, reading books, practical stuff, was sex. So I love being able to share accurate, non-judgemental, trauma informed information with you. And yeah, this site kinda makes that very much possible. And I get to be at home rockin' it. And you guys get to be wherever you are, because we don't get this kind of education, at least not in the States, we don't get this kind of education in schools. So many schools, my school, my district, my state I believe, I'm pretty sure South Carolina overall was abstinence only. So we don't get any of this. We're not taught that it's a good thing to learn to advocate for your own pleasure. The more you know about your own pleasure or investigate it then you start to face judgment and ridicule in some ways. And so this is not that space. This is that space to talk about those things and ask me questions, ask all the things, because gee whiz, if I'd known what I know now, dude, it woulda been so on, so on. Anyway let me check my chat here. Hi Steph. Steph is sayin' that's super cool. Hey Mimi, thanks for the emails. Let's see, I'm so glad you're back. Ah, Mimi's becoming like my favorite. I get so much positive feedback from Mimi being in my chats. It's kind of amazing. I feel like I've got my own private little cheerleader. Mecky was saying... Oh wait Mecky and, so Mecky is one of the folks in the chat and they were talking back with Harry. And Harry's my human that made a beautiful piece of jewelry. Jewelry Yeah squirting was last night. "That stream was fire," says Mimi. Mimi was here yesterday for that stream and it was kind of amazing. I love to share information that's in the chat, but sometimes it gets going in a way and folks are talking to one another that I love that they're having that conversation. I love that I get to be literally a fly on the wall and look at that conversation. What they don't know is I'm mining it for information to use the next time I do. So all of your information, all the things that you share with me are invaluable to me. They help me see things outside of my own, my own experiences, which are pretty fucking fabulous. And I recognize and own that I have a bit of privilege in that. Of things I do not have privilege in, so many of them. I do have privilege in a couple ways, and particularly when it comes to sex and sexuality. I am a person who is assigned female at birth. So I recognize and understand what kind of issues could be coming up for someone who is less gender nonconforming, someone who presents as fem or a cis woman. Any of the flirting I'm doing, any of the things I do, I know in my brain, what I need to do to help that person understand that I'm friends not foe and they're safe. And I've learned, that's the trauma informed piece for me. So like I kinda have like a playbook in a way. I know what's going on, because those things happened to me. And I know we sit and talk about things, about what happened, how people treat us and things like that. So I don't want to make that the thing that happens for them. I want them to have a really good time. So when I thinking about how I move through the world, trauma informed, that really, really helps. So I get privilege in that because I know ahead a time. Being masculine presenting and also being a person of color and a person of size I could potentially pose a threat to folks on sight. However, comma, in the circles that I run in people know that I have a great deal of manners. I value personal experience being a good thing of me. I'm a service-oriented human. Whatever I can do to make that happy for you happen, let me know, I wanna do it. So people know that I'm a safe person to be around. So therefore I do have some privilege around a lot of this. So my experiences will be very different in some ways. I've had connections and access to folks that other people don't. And I get to, sort of, I have a much bigger group of folks I get to interact with and practice and do these things with. And the cool thing about it is, all of those folks are like me as well. We have that space, we hold that space for each other to be awkward as we try to navigate how we're going to learn to approach people. How are we gonna learn to talk to folks. So that's one of the big things about any of this. Yes, I we're actually gonna talk about solo polyamory. I just got off on a little tangent, sorry about that. So getting back to solo polyamory. So most people have heard of polyamory in and of itself. It's a different way to have relationships. I grew up thinking that, cheating was okay. In my family, yeah folks I'm tellin'... In my family it seems to be the normal thing to cheat on the person you were with. Various relatives did it. And as a kid, watching this growing up, I'm like wow, this causes all the chaos, but no one seems to be offering any sort of other ideas. So it's okay for this to happen, because everyone's still talking to everyone, even if they're yelling or whatever. So that seemed to be the norm to me growing up. And of course at that moment, I didn't think of it that way. It was just a thing that happened. It was really, really normal. My entire family normalized cheating. So imagine, I grow up, and I start dating, and when I'm getting to more like serious relationships, longer term relationships, I turned into what I would call a serial monogamist. I loved having the long-term relationships, I loved being with the person I was with. And I would meet someone else, have this amazing connection and start to feel this new energy again, and be like well, the thing is, you're supposed to find the right person. Obviously if I feel this way now about this person, then this person I'm with is not the right person, so I need to go with this person. The timing for that was bad and wrong. I usually had already slept with the other person, before I ended the other relationship. That's cheating, that's cheating. Serial monogamy and cheating, are not what polyamory or solo polyamory are about, at all. It's not polyamory if everyone's not aware of what's going on. If everyone's not aware that things are happening, that people are being seen, that's not polyamory. So with a couple of different things I wanna start off with. Sex positive is a term that we'll hear sometimes, 'cause I say that myself, because I consider myself to be sex positive. Things that I want to bullet point about sex positive. Everybody who identifies as sex positive may not be public about that. They may not be public about their sex lives at all. Some of us are because we get to share information on this platform, and it's kinda rad, and I want people to know that you can do it, especially as a little brown kid. We're not always shown a multitude of ways to live. So I choose to be out about being sex positive. Not everybody who is sex positive is queer. People who identify as sex positive, not everybody who identifies... Being sex positive, identifying as sex positive does not mean that someone is into everything, not at all. It's just the way that they view things. Being sex positive to me, means that you value, you respect the right a person has to have whatever kinda sex they want, with whomever they want to have it, however they want to have that. And to not have to do that, that they can do that without fear and without apology, without having to apologize to anybody for their choices and decisions. That is sex positive. I don't need people to be poly, kinky, anything like that. That's not what my sex positive is. My sex positive is, I believe in your right to do the thing that you wanna do. Your thing may not be my thing, but I respect your right to have that. So when I'm talking about sex positive, that's what I'm talking about. When we're talking about non-monogamy in general, for me non-monogamy is a really good umbrella. So polyamory and non-monogamy are both big sort of umbrella terms. Non-monogamy to me is a bit broader for, in definitions, it allows more space. And as someone who has a very queer life and a ton of different queer lovers, I want to be able to not put or force a relationship into dynamic of any sort. I want it to be whatever it's going to be. So I don't necessarily have to be in love with that person to have a connection. It can be an intimate connection without it being a romantic connection. So I have intimate friends. So non-monogamy, polyamory, having more than one relationship that you're involved in. Some people do that in the hierarchical fashion. They have a primary relationship and then all other relationships follow that and some people don't. Some people don't like hierarchal stuff, so they do non-hierarchal or what they call relationship anarchy to some degree. Letting, just letting everything decide where it's gonna go and being okay with that. All of this within the framework of being, kind, thoughtful, conscious, communicative, and honest. You must be able to respect the humanity of the other folks involved in relationships with people you are in with. So if they have other relationships, you can't throw temper tantrums about that. You can, and it will generally mean that you won't have anybody to date. Nobody wants that. It is a struggle to find time and all the things, so the last thing anyone wants is to have more upheaval. So being able to respect other relationships and dynamics, being able to communicate openly and honestly. You don't have to date the other person's person. You don't have to really like them all that much either. But you should be able to sit down and talk about things around scheduling and timing and especially when you're looking at seeing someone who has a primary partner and perhaps has kids. There's lots of scheduling and stuff around that. So being open to all of that, being honest about feelings, time, everything. It's a lotta talking. But it doesn't have to be all talking about the relationship. So when your looking at all of that and talking about and thinking about so what's different in being polyamorous and solo poly? So to me the biggest distinction is, as someone who is solo poly, I want to... I don't want a primary relationship. I like, it's kind of like being single-ish. I enjoy seeing people that have other people in their lives, because I don't want to be the one and only. I have tried that. And the other thing to remember, or I want to note about solo polyamory, it can be by choice or by circumstance. It's not necessarily that it is a force of any sort. For me it is a choice. I did long-term relationships, long-term monogamous relationships for a very long time. I'm older than I look and I've had three really long-term, substantially long-term relationships. Talking engagement ring long-term relationships. And after combining lives, finances, everything else, when those things dissolved, it was a lot to deal with. And I value my autonomy now. I value my space now. So for me, I feel like I can still date folks and not have to do it in a primary way. I don't like that. I don't like any sort of relationship dynamic for me that is that traditional sort of escalator type of relationship. And when I say that it is, you meet someone, you really like each other, things are going well, us spending more and more time together, then you move in together, perhaps marriage. That escalating of things, like hitting all of the traditional benchmarks of being a couple. I don't think you need to necessarily need to be a couple and engaging in an escalator sort of thing. You can see each other and it doesn't have to be, you can still benchmark your milestones anyway you choose. And it doesn't have to be in the most traditional ways. Traditionally we've been like been with each other, done that path, but you can still do that, mark those moments and those milestones without it having to be more of an escalator type thing. What are some things that you guys wanted to know about? What were you expecting to hear about doing this stream? How can I help your brain, help my brain. 'Cause I can talk about this and I'm going to talk about this, I just wanna make sure I'm at least hitting on some of the things that you folks might wanna hear. So I'll start with, I was looking at an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Elizabeth Sheff, whom I've met before and they're a pretty rad human, wrote an article on being solo poly and just thinking about it in the terms of or in the range of that, solo polyamory, it's kind of a fluid category. It covers a variety of different relationships that can be anywhere from like the perpetual like bachelor type person or someone who's not ready to settle down yet. Solo polyamory can be that. For a lot of solo poly folks like I was saying, a lot of it has to do with autonomy. Many solo folks identify that way because they're not really motivated towards merging in any sort of way the infrastructure that which they live. So they appreciate being able to have their own space. And by have their own space, it doesn't necessarily mean that they live alone either. Many people who practice solo polyamory live with friends, live with relatives, because that is a more dependable set up. It's not as fluctuating perhaps. So it's something that can be a bit more solid without that sort of added piece of living with the person that you may be having, when things are good they're good, when they're bad they're awful. So having their space not be about those romantic sort of ties, but more about getting things done. For some solo polyamory folks it is that they are dating themselves in a way. And I don't think this is a bad thing. I think everyone should date themselves for at least a little while. We don't really know a whole lot about ourselves until later on. We're taught from very early on that we are supposed to find the right partner of the opposite sex and settle down and do the things in all of that. And nowhere in those, how life goes movies, or the rom-com sort of setups, nowhere does it say that the person, it's rare that we someone say, I'm gonna take a moment for myself. I'm gonna step away from all of this and really investigate who I am. There's nothing wrong with that. You absolute have, I think you do yourself, we do ourselves a disservice by not doing that, because that's why we don't figure out a bunch of things until much later in life. We've been so busy trying to do what we can to reach the benchmarks that we're supposed to be going as a human in our societies, that we don't really often take a moment to sit back and evaluate what do we want? How does that feel? Is this the path we wanna go on? My mom, bless her heart, she never got a chance to live a life that wasn't attached to kids. She was in school, she was a parent. Graduated, had me, had my sister, he her life has always been someone else's, and she never really got a chance to live her life. And I'm like, when you put yourself as primary, you take the opportunity to get to know who you are and what it is you want in life. Will it be an easy thing? Nope. But it's really nice, because there are things that you do. Like one of the things I'm really fortunate, I used to be a salesperson that traveled and sometimes I was going by myself as opposed to with a co-worker. So I learned to take myself out to dinner. I would ask the concierge at the hotel, who had the best sushi in town. I would even do this in landlocked places, so I was livin' on the edge. Learning to take myself out to dinner, spending time enjoying cocktails by myself and not like downing the bottle but just like having a cocktail, sipping it, thinking about the world, I don't know. Those are really wonderful moments that I look back on and I wonder, what could I have learned about myself had I been encouraged to do that much sooner in life? So some solo poly because they're dating themselves. They are focusing on their life, building who they are and what they're gonna be. They're still making decisions. So Steph was saying that "you mention you were engaged, "which is intense. "Was it hard to realize you were solo poly, "the journey from a monogamous mindset to now?" Purple Love, hey nice to see you, was saying that they are totally dating themselves right now. They proceed with caution with folks who have jumped from relationship to relationship. And Steph is saying, that is a red flag, I agree. And I would agree. If you've seen somebody just like, jump from relationship to relationship and especially if it's the other person is always at fault about that, that's probably somebody who hasn't really examined who they are and what they need and or want and are not really willing to take responsibility for their own actions. And Steph was saying or was asking was it hard to realize that you were solo poly, a journey from a monogamous mindset to now? Actually it wasn't hard. It was painful,it was outright painful, because that meant that I went through several relationships that were really... I think sometimes we are told like we need to find this person, we're on this quest to magically find the right person we're supposed to be with and we're faced with this sort of concept that there's a scarcity around the people that we need or want or would be good for us. So we're grasping at things I think sometimes, and so we get into relationships that aren't the best fit for us, 'cause we're trying to make it fit, because it's supposed to fit. So for me it was more about learning that I'm worth taking time with. It is more about learning more about myself than anything else. It was kind of hard and I'm better for it now. I call it having growth spurts when I do things like that and something happens and it's just like downright painful. There's nothing like having to split up again, with splitting households of furniture, all that sort of stuff. Starting over. Often times, after a while, I'm just like all I want is my clothes and my computer and I'm out. You can have everything else. Because it just got to be too much in that regard. The non-monogamy to where I am now, non-monogamy has been a part of my life for almost 20 years and it started in college with a girlfriend of mine. And she introduced me to the concept. I took to it like a fish in water and I did everything bad and wrong to begin with. I cheated, because cheating, in polyamory if you're not communicating with your partner, just because you have an open dynamic, that doesn't make it okay to just do things. So if you're not willing to talk, that's probably not the route you wanna go. Anyway, I did it all wrong. Broke some things had some fire happen in my life and I learned to be more about me, take a little bit more time. And it was the first time, after that relation, that was the first time I had been single in more than a decade, like 15 years. It was the first time I'd been single in 15 years. So I took the opportunity to not attach myself, not to U-haul it with anyone and letting other people know that from the beginning. It's like hi, what I am available for is this, this, and this. What I'm not available for is a partnering. I'm not available for moving in together, joining finances, that's not where I'm at, that's not what I wanna do. And even though you say these sorts of things, if you are a solo polyamorous person and you are trying to be on point with all of the things, I front load like a mofo. I let people know about all of the other relationships I have. I am tested twice a year for STIs. I am happy to share my status on things. I wanna give you all the information that you need to make an informed decision for yourself and anyone else in your life that might be effected by me being in your life. But I don't wanna shack up anymore. It's just not for me. I went from being non-monogamous for a very long time and being with a person, one person, then I just went non-monogamous and not having a primary partner. And then I had a moment and went back for like a two year thing I think, where I had a primary-ish, a live-in situation and it didn't work, it doesn't work for me. I need to not have to... I need to have my space to be myself and not have that be encroached upon in some way. Do I wanna spend time with my people? Absolutely. Do I spend time with my people? Yes I do. It's difficult sometimes, because some of the people I care for and care about clear across the country. So travel becomes a thing and finances become a thing. But also technology is really, really awesome in that if there are people that I wanna see and talk to, we can see and talk to each other using a buncha different apps and you learn how to navigate that. But yeah, it didn't take too long. And to realize that I wanted to not be a primary for other people was also another thing. I want people to have other relationships. It is a think about dating me now. I don't wanna date someone if they don't have other people in their lives, preferably more than one other person. I want there to be a great distribution of things as far as like support goes, because I can't do it for everyone else. I struggle. And part of that has to do with how I move through the world. I am a black man by appearance to most people who don't know me. I'm gender non-conforming. I am a person of color, person of size, trans-masculine. So I struggle to exist. The things that are triggering for me on a day to day basis are very different than some of the things that other people might encounter. So I don't have the space, I don't have the bandwidth for it and I would much rather tell someone that up front and let them know it doesn't effect like my love and care for a person, it's just that I can't be that primary source of things, because sometimes I'm struggling in a way that no one else can help me with and I just have to deal on my own. So I may not have the capacity or bandwidth at that point. So I prefer for folks to have multiple people when I'm dating them. Purple Love was saying, "I grew up an only child, "so I'm used to doing things by myself. "When it comes to doing things by myself, "I ask the question if in a few months or a year, "I'll regret not doing this thing. "And if the answer is yes, I'll do it." That seems like a pretty reasonable thing. I like that. Someone, I can't remember who it was, I wanna say it might have been Ko, but I'm not sure who talked, who said something to me about future me. And they were like, would future you be happy about this decision? And sometimes you just kinda go, no future me would not be. And sometimes that's a good or bad. But just thinking about, would you be excited or regret that you didn't do this thing. Who knows? Most people, Purple Love was also saying that "most people don't care if you're by yourself. "I sometimes let folks at events know I'm there by myself "and sometimes they take me under their wing." Yeah, and I think we have this idea that if you go somewhere by yourself, then you are unloved or you don't have friends. And that's not it. Sometimes your friends are just not into the coolest things that you're into and you don't really need them. So you can go by yourself, it's totally okay. I've gone to concerts by myself and had a great time. And that's another thing, we're taught that we're supposed to partner up, that we're supposed to have this other person with us, and we're made feel bad if we're like, I need space. People are like, what do you mean you need space? Sometimes people need space. I know I do. Harry was saying, "Yeah that sounds like a Ko." I'm gonna blame it on Ko for this one. So we're taught that we're supposed to partner up. And if you have ever felt that desire to not be partnered and then felt shamed for it, 'cause we pick on, it's like that whole couple privilege it this, even with polyamory, people are more willing to accept or a relationship is more valid or justified if it is a couple. If there's a primary relationship it doesn't matter. Then it's like oh well this one is more important. They're kinda like the norm. We're supposed to be doing all these things, so coupling up and doing all of that and if you don't, then you need to settle down, you're being irresponsible and all these other things, when that may not be the case at all. You may just enjoy having your own space. You may just enjoy living your life the way it is. I love having, inviting my loves into my space for periods of time, but they have to go after awhile. That's how I go. I don't want to do that, I don't wanna live together with someone anymore, because it was such a difficult, I mean loved doing it and it becomes taxing for me after awhile. So I can come back to each of my people with renewed, refreshed, I have my own corner to retreat to if something's going on and it's my safety net, so I appreciate that. Steph is saying, "ha ha, I think it's great "to share as much as possible up front." Yes, I am a front loader like nobody's business. I probably give too much information if that's possible, but I'd rather have people know all of the things before they even try to start navigating anything with me, so they can be fully, fully aware. One of the biggest things, meeting people who are outside of my Kink, Leather, BDSM, or sex positive world and I meet someone who is more not so much into the queer world or my world as much. And so one of the newer questions I ask folks is like, how do you feel about dating a sex worker? And just watching people ponder that question is kind of interesting. And I let people know when I give all the information, if after having the information it is too much for you, it's not something you want, or something you can handle, saying no I can't do this, that is perfectly acceptable. I'm not gonna be mad about that. I will appreciate you being aware enough of yourself, to know in advance that this isn't gonna be the thing for you. So awareness of oneself is a really important part of being polyamorous, non-monogamous, being solo polyamorous. Anything of things, some of the most important pieces are gonna be communication and self-awareness. So starting to do your own work. Looking to see what you like, what you want, advocating for your pleasure, but also knowing where your blind spots may be, what your weak spots may be, what your learning edges are. Those are important, because if you can say to someone up front these are the things I know about myself. This is what I wanna work on, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you have a much better foundation. You've already built a foundation or you already know in advance that this person cannot handle these particular parts. So you can have a different dynamic that maybe you were thinking you wanted to have originally. You can still have a dynamic, but recognizing that not all those pieces are gonna be a part of that relationship. And that's kind of where poly is, it does to me works really, really well is that I don't need any of my people to be all of the things for me. I love and valuable the people in my life and I appreciate the pieces they can offer me and that makes me happy. So I enjoy the pieces and I don't have an expectation that they will be able to do that. That's not my expectation. So I'm not attached to that sort of outcome. I am more focused on the time we spend together and the things we do together that are happy, pleasurable, enjoyable, fun for both of us. So that works for me. Let's see. Oh, Harry was saying, "clear boundaries are so critical." Absolutely, clear boundaries are critical. If it's not, if it's not a fuck yes, it's a no. Or oh my gosh, I have a new lover that says yes please, melts me every time. It's like, okay, game on, let's do this whatever it is. So I really appreciate that. And boundaries are really, really important. And here's the thing, for people who are assigned female at birth, we're not generally taught to have boundaries. We're told to accept things as is. You're gonna have to do somethings for your husband that you may or may not like. You're married, this is what you do, this what it means to be a wife. So we're not taught to have our own boundaries really. I love when I see younger kids who have families that are teaching them that they have boundaries. The Girl Scouts starting to talk about not forcing your kid to hug people. That's a huge one. Like we do that all the time. Go hug your Aunt Bunny who made you that thing. And the kid doesn't want to and they like force them over there and the kid's just traumatized. We violate each other's boundaries from the get go. And so we set that foundation and we're not taught that we can and we should have boundaries. And if you're good with your, not even if you're good with, if you will establish your boundaries, you state boundaries, and someone violates your boundaries, no. Back away as slowly and carefully, as quickly and carefully as you can. Maybe it's just a matter of they didn't quite understand. If you're willing to talk with them, you think their a great person and given them that, you know everybody gets one, like Peter Griffin, everybody gets one. Give 'em that one, talk about it, and if you wanna go forward then that's fine. But for some folks, especially if it's something where you're just connecting with someone and you establish a boundary and they immediately run over it, they're probably gonna continue to do that the entire time you let them. So if you set up a boundary and they violate it, decide for yourself whether that something you really wanna deal with or not. Purple was saying, "I'm struggling with setting "boundary around my time. "I am seeing someone who wants to see a lot, see my a lot "and I struggling to set boundaries around this." I'm a fan of saying, okay, it's hard. Oh 'cause nobody wants to have that conversation 'cause you know the other person wants to have a lot of your attention and your time and you'd love to if you could, but you've got work, you've got to go shopping, you've gotta do all the other things, and you may have other people. So having that conversation sooner rather than later and being honest but gentle, honest and kind. When we have to have these vulnerable, hard conversations, because no one wants to like hurt anyone's feelings, that's fair and that's valid. Putting it off or not telling them is unfair. You're setting someone up to fail. You're setting someone up to potentially cause you and themselves harm. Think about that. If you're not being honest, they don't know. They're acting on outdated information so when they do something that further exacerbates something or it crosses into something even worse or it just snowballs, you didn't give them the information. You didn't give them the opportunity to make that decision. We don't wanna hurt people's feelings, we never do. That's a thing and I get that. Being honest and kind in being honest, is okay. It's much better. Set that boundary. It may be hard, but it's important, because if you don't, you're gonna start to resent that person. You're gonna resent the pull on your time and they're not respecting it when you're not actually stating clearly. And if they continue to do it then, you have another conversation around what that means for you. Think about what you're going to do if that continues to be a violation. If they continue to push for more time. Think ahead of what you want to do about that, so that you can say, well if this continues, then I'm going to have to do this thing or this thing. Steph was saying something to Purple. "Being as someone who is working on not being so clingy "and co-dependent, I'm learning to respect my alone time "and other's alone time as well. "An honest convo might suffer a bit, "but help in the long-term." Yes, I absolutely agree with that Steph. That's the thing. It may suck. And I know that for folks who've heard that they are clingy or needy, you're trying not to and then you respond in the same way is because you're not actually saying the things. And if you know that about yourself already, trying to wrap you brain around and work within your mind that you know it's not about you. The clingy, needy thing, sometimes it feeds into itself. Your little brain hamsters get going, those little voices, the little things are like well obviously they're not responding because of this or this or this and by the time they talk to you again, you've completely created this other thing in your brain that's not actually happening. So if you're one of those people that feels like or has been told you're clingy or needy, don't panic. When something is said or not said, try not to panic. It's just a conversation. It may not be anything about you personally and don't take it personally. Talk about the things, respond, ask questions, it's okay. And don't preemptively try to like block the thing. Have the conversation. Yeah, it's gonna be uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for both people. Anybody in the conversation's gonna be uncomfortable. Try to hold space for each other to talk and be fully present. Don't cut each other off when you're talking. If you're that person that's feeling oh my God, oh my God, this is the end, this is the end, stop that. Stop it, that's not what the conversation's about. It's a conversation. Take a few deep breaths. Let them speak. Let them finish everything they wanna say, 'cause you can't possibly know, you can't guess. So give 'em a minute, it's okay, just have the conversation. Purple was saying, hold on. Purple was saying, "I thought you were gonna say "Girl Scouts was teaching their scouts "how to assert their boundaries." Not necessarily, well maybe in a way I think they are and what they're doing is a larger campaign, education awareness campaign for the larger masses in that stop doing this. Stop making kids have to hug people. Because sometimes that's how things get started. We now know we were aware before that things were the way they were, but now that all of the world and all of the men are fully aware that, yes indeed, there are pervy uncles, there are pervy doctors and they have been touching people. So forcing someone, especially a child to be physically touched or touch someone, you don't know why they don't want to. You should respect their space, their autonomy. It's their body. I think one of the greatest things we can teach kids as they are growing is that that is your body and you have every right to it. You have every right to say no to it, to other people touching it and having people violate your space. I think the sooner we start teaching kids that, I think we'll start to empower more children to say, to be more vocal and to advocate for their own safety. So anyway, off tangent. Steph was like, "Oh my God, brain hamsters. "Oh my God, this is on point Q." Yes, that's what I call 'em is brain hamsters, 'cause I can't think of anything else. They're like little brain weasels, brain hamsters. I like hamsters better. Weasels look a little, their war dance is all crazy. But hamsters an a little wheel they just keep going. And that's what happens for us sometimes is that no matter what we're doing, those societal pressures, our peer group pressures, the pressure we put on ourselves is tremendous. So when you're looking at something like polyamory and then adding to that being a solo polyamory person, you are just adding on the layers of, whew, I gotta process. So one of the things I've been really, really trying to do is to find spaces where other people help me pull out the brain hamsters. That's where I met Harry. The brain hamsters were all over the place. We all had brain hamsters and they were all having a party and it was kind of insane. But kind of awesome to take that time for myself to have people who we consciously created a space where it was a container for us to be very vulnerable and be very supportive. And we don't have that, I think as a whole in the U.S., particularly if you're assigned female at birth. The other part of that is, you're taught to be competitive as females instead of supportive. And it's not until we're much older again, that we realize oh crap, that wasn't the best path to go with my friends. So finding spaces as you're starting to grow and you're starting to investigate who you are where people understand that. And that's one of the things that's kind of, it's interesting as a person who is from South Carolina, person of color, queer, of size, all of the things, I grew up in the projects in the inner city. Yes, it's inner city South Carolina, not inner city New York. I get it, but still. So things that I learned about had nothing to do with the things I learned as I got older. And learning about holding those spaces for ourselves and each other to just heal and talk and try to build and figure out where we're going, especially if you're squishy, soft person like myself. To see me wandering around, people think I'm a badass and I'm huge. I'm a giant, giant teddy bear behind all of the, a giant, giant, squishy teddy bear. And so finding space where it's okay for me to be my squishy teddy bear self and not be worried about, 'cause I was also a nerd who was also beat up all the time as a kid, so not being worried about someone's ulterior motive, knowing that people see me as the person that I am and wanna support me in that growth. So it's super important when you're looking at going to something that is a non-traditional sort of relationship makeup that you find your people, look for your people. The internet is a great source for that sort of thing. Find some folks on Facebook, Or find some groups in Facebook. Try checking out MeetUp and find local folks near you to just sort of spend time with. You don't necessarily have to like spill your guts the very first time you meet people, but see how they interact with one another. See if that's the space for you. And also don't be afraid, particularly if you are a person who traditionally wouldn't have chosen this sort of path. Give it a chance. There are things that come out of my mouth nowadays, that I'm like, damn, what the hell did I just say. It sounds very like woo-tastic and spiritual and that freaks me out because that's not the path that I was thinking in my life. And recognizing that getting in touch with who I am and what I want in life, setting those boundaries and those parameters for myself is super important and also it's my job. No one else is gonna do it for me. And if wanna make, if I want my world to be a particular way, I actually have to do it. I was facilitating a workshop this past weekend and someone was saying that they didn't understand why we couldn't have a society where we just supported everyone and everyone was kind and respected each other and da, da, da, da, da and I let this human go on with their moment and I took a deep breath and I said, and since we know that's not going to happen, what do we do now? You know the stories are a lie, the rom-com piece of life that you're gonna find this perfect person. If you find your perfect person, mad props to you. This is not a diss in any way. If you are monogamous and you are happy, yes go for it. I mean I know people who've been married, same person 30, 40 years and they rock as human beings. This is no way a slight to any other sort of relationship dynamic, not at all, not all. But if it's something you wanna try, make sure you start to investigate and support you. It's important that you are happy in all of this, that you start to know what it is that feeds you. A lotta times we don't know that, we're not taught that. I did not know a bunch of things I know now. And it can be kinda scary, especially if you are a person of color who, often what we're gonna find are we are the only face in the room. I would like to hope, I know that for me I'm super fortunate and when I'm in those spaces, I'm totally supported. People go out of their way, or I already know by the description, the website, language, wording, that my presence is welcomed and people let me know that. I don't feel out of place so much as uncomfortable because I'm stretching my own, I'm pushing my own edges and growing a bit. So when I find spaces where I'm like oh God I probably could run away now, and I'm like okay this isn't so bad. And then I start to do the thing. My discomfort usually is just a growing pain. So I'm really lucky that I don't have to worry about the optics behind like I'm a person of color coming into this space. Being in the Bay area, many, many people are cognizant of that and they try their very best to make sure that that is not an issue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Still, challenge yourself. If a non-traditional relationship is what might work for you, try it. If you are in a relationship and you want to open it up, slow and steady. And if you're using, if you think that by opening up your relationship you're going to save it, I would encourage you to find a therapist, one of your own and one as couple, because changing the dynamic may not. If a relationship is not solid in and of itself, opening it up is probably not going to be helpful in saving it. To open up your relationship, there's a lot of communication, talking, and there will be mistakes. If you set up boundaries and they're violated, that's even worse. That just compounds it. So looking at this way to try to help save your relationship is probably not the best plan. If you are with someone and they wanna open up the relationship and you don't, and they're like you're not an evolved human being, you're just being scared, you're not normal, those are all gas-lighting, bad things to say, and you need to evaluate, I think, in my opinion, perhaps evaluating that dynamic and that connection and seeing if that's something healthy for you at all. 'Cause if someone else is trying to force you into a non-monogamous, open sort of relationship and that's not where you wanna be and they're making you feel small, bad, or whatever about it, that says a lot more about them than it does about you and maybe you wanna talk to somebody about that. I can be found, oh damn, we're almost outta time. So if you're trying to find me on the internet. Twitter I have two accounts. One is not safe for work. That one is _qtip_. The one that's safe for work is qwilsonca, like California. And on Facebook I am Qwilson. If you'd like to send me an email, which I love reading, I really do. So I'm gonna set aside time today to respond to emails I got yesterday, so yay. If you wanna email me it's Q@dirtyblaqboi.com that's the letter Q at dirty, black is spelled b-l-a-q, boy is b-o-i dot com, dirtyblaqboi, Q@dirtyblaqboi.com. So again, you guys have made my day so very easy. This is a Monday and I didn't even get through half of the things that I had as notes, so I'll definitely do this again. I appreciate everyone's feedback and the conversations and support of each other in the chat rooms. I really appreciate that. Thank to whomever's been tipping. Chew you rock, you're awesome, thanks for being my backup and being the body guard and the bouncer at the door. And thanks for talking to each other. And I will see you, no not tomorrow, I'm back on Wednesday. And if you go to the calendar here on the O.school site, you can see what I'm doing. Or if you're following me on any of the electronic formats I put up my schedule for the week. See you guys later, have a good one.

All You Need to Know About Solo Poly

Date
Mon
Jul 23, 2018
|
1:00 pm
|
Calendar
Monday, July 23, 2018
|
1:00 pm

What is solo-polyamory? How does it differ? What does ethical non-monogamy look like when you don’t have a primary partner?

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