So I read this amazing article, and basically agreed with every word. http://sexgeek.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/10-realistic-rules-for-good-non-monogamous-relationships/
There are those among The Poly that claim There Are No Rules. That whatever work for you and your ‘mours, is totally fine. In general, I agree with this. We are on a journey, each of us. Individually and as families. And we begin on that journey at whatever point we begin.
As the article states, polyamory could be viewed as a state of consciousness. There are nearly infinite permutations of polyamory. One might argue there are as many ways to do poly as there are people, or couplings, or families. The variations are incomprehensible. And that’s what they’re trying to say. That there is NO One Right Way. And that’s fine.
These rules for doing poly well? Really do apply. As Raven Kaldera states in the beginning, these are not training-wheels relationships. Do not try out your emotional IQ in a poly relationship!
I also see comments which support and validate my own position. I’ve become ADAMANT that these ten skills are really REQUIREMENTS. What happens when you really really like someone, but they don’t pass muster? You’ll suffer some really difficult feelings, or they will make efforts to learn these skills. And the breakup/nullification you undergo as you realize their skills aren’t sufficient? WAY easier than a year or a decade or a date attempting to swat away the drama hornets.
Some anecdotes: When she says “know thyself”? And to be able to assess yourself brutally honestly? This is really crucial. I am fond of saying that if you don’t enjoy emotional processing, poly probably isn’t for you. There really is a lot of it, all the time.
Big giant emphasis? Go for content, not form. This one struck me as really crucial. I’ve learned to focus more on the content than the structure of a (proposed) relationship, and it has served me very well.
ALSO HOLY CRAP BE NICE. This needs speaking and writing down? After all of that self-examination, embracing your assets and liabilities, leaning into shadow, and you’re still a miserable jerk that acts like everyone’s one thought away from abandoning you? That looks a lot like a CHOICE to be miserable.
One final note. Cunning Minx mentioned recently that it really all does come down to partner choice. If you are partnered with folks that have a sturdy emotional process and a giant dose of communication skills, everything can be gravy.
There are reasons folks take to the internet and attempt to share best practices.