As a strong-willed non-monogamous woman, there is nothing I dislike more than the thought of “asking for permission” in a relationship. I don’t want anyone to have control over what I do or who I do it with besides me. However, I used to confuse being honest, considerate and thoughtful with asking a partner for permission.
For instance, if I was attracted to someone new, I felt that telling my partner about the attraction before I acted on it was the same as crawling to him, my tail between my legs, to ask if it was OK with him if I connected with the new person. I felt I had the right to do whatever I wanted to do within our partnership agreements. So, I would act on my attractions, then tell my partner about it after the fact.
But this often caused him to feel blindsided. Then, his inevitable emotional reaction would cause me to feel that he was trying to control me.
After years of engaging in a pattern like this, I finally realized that not sharing openly and honestly about attractions before I act on them hurts not only my partners, but also myself.
When you are subconsciously ashamed of your desires to connect with others outside of your partnership, it inhibits you from being open and upfront about your attractions. This shame and nervousness will, in turn, cause your partner to become energetically nervous about your new attractions.
Don’t let yourself be ashamed of who you are and what you want.
To truly honor your partner AND yourself, share your joy (and gently welcome his or her emotional reaction, whatever that might be) when new attractions come up for you. No need to cringe while doing so! You have a right to your feelings and to being 100% yourself.
If you are at ease with your feelings, your partner will most likely respond to them with grace, even if not totally easy for them to hear. (If they don’t respond with grace, you and your partner might have a values mismatch, and it’s time to examine if your partnership is aligned.)
Saying, “I’m having a new connection and I want to acknowledge and hold space for your feelings about it,” shows a tremendous amount of consideration and love for your partner—and it’s not the same as asking for their permission!
Photo by James Hosler