Author: Shrimp Teeth
Exploring queerness, polyamory, and sexuality
Polyamorous people fu*k up all the time, and that’s ok
Polyamorous people need to practice admitting they’re wrong.
We love talking about jealousy in ethical non-monogamy but we need to discuss overcoming failure too.
When we believe that we’re right, especially in conflict, we create opposition with our pals.
Being able to admit that you’re wrong, you failed, you didn’t handle a situation well, or you simply don’t know what to do puts you on the same team as your pal facing a joint challenge.
Our culture is so scared of failure. We act like we know everything, which is so far from the truth.
You’re not supposed to know how to handle your pals going on a first date with someone else, of course, you’re gonna fu*k up sometimes! It’s wild to expect to always be perfect.
Being wrong allows us to seek help, ask for support, or research more information. You can’t do everything on your own. You need other people to be there with you, and if you insist on always being right, you’re just gonna push your support system away.
Now don’t get me wrong, it can feel really bad to admit you fucked up. It feels horrible when you realize you’re completely unequipped to handle a situation. Especially if you’ve never addressed the shame/guilt that comes up with failing. But this is something you can learn.
I hear couples fight during peer support sessions and I usually let them go on for a few minutes to see how much they start blaming each other and insisting they’re right before redirecting the conversation.
Learning to put our egos aside, especially when we’re heated, takes time. The remedy is humility.
If you’re able to go into situations saying “I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m gonna try my best, and I’m willing to learn from the mistakes I will inevitably make” you’re on the right path.
You don’t need to always win, instead, accept that you will fail.
In the first years of polyamory, I often adopted an oppositional stance with my partner. Every time something went wrong we’d start hashing out who did what, who was actually right, etc. Our conversations went nowhere.
Over the years I’ve learned to focus on myself. I give myself room to fail. I take the time to journal and process, finding lessons where I can, realizing other times that I can just move on.
I let go of my desire to control and to be a perfectionist. I constantly fail at that too. That’s ok.
I give my pals the same grace. The more we realize that failure is inevitable, the less angry we get when our pals make mistakes, and the more we’re able to be at peace with ourselves.
Being wrong leads us to new understandings and we should embrace opportunities to learn better ways of being polyamorous.
Sam is a sex educator and artist who explores queerness, polyamory, and sexuality through their work. She’s passionate about exploring ways to broaden relationship structures to foster more connections between people. They use art and illustration as part of their education process.
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Get more from Sam by following the Shrimp Teeth Instagram and checking out Patreon.
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