EPISODE 11: 10: Is it difficult for you that I know?

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Show Notes

What does consensual non-monogamy look like in the real world? We’ll hear about how a young marriage left behind a big what if. Plus an inside look at an open marriage with pro-skateboarder and podcast host Jason Ellis. And of course, we’re all hands on deck with our experts Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Dr. Ian Kerner, and Dr. Martha Kauppi to talk about what a relationship needs in order for non-monogamy to work.

Sarah Elise Abramson

https://www.instagram.com/slow_toast2

Jason Ellis

https://open.spotify.com/show/1GRwIeEnWJuoZIMq6HdGMB

https://www.instagram.com/wolfmate

Dr. Ian Kerner

https://www.iankerner.com/

Dr. Ian Kerner’s best-selling book, She Comes First

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0060538260/

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

https://www.sexandpsychology.com

https://open.spotify.com/show/6DCIGjOUaenoKdY71N7NqI

Martha Kauppi

https://www.instituteforrelationalintimacy.com/

Transcript


Straw media, a Jay women to
get if it's ten years. Yeah,

welcome to conversations with friends and strangers. I'm Maggie, I'm the Lam in

the show we take a closer look
at the complicated relationships in the Hulu series

conversations with friends. Will meet some
of the cast and crew, chat with

experts and share our own kind of
sexy, kind of uncomfortable, but relatable

stories about the messy relationships we find
ourselves in. Episode Ten is our character's

first attempt at truly consensual nonmonogamy,
because everything's out in the open and that

got us thinking. What does consensual
nonmonogamy look like in the real world?

Wait, conversations with friends isn't a
DOCU series. We'll hear about how a

young marriage left behind a big what
if. Then we'll get an inside look

at an open marriage with pro skate
border and podcast host Jason Ellis. And

of course we're all hands on deck
with experts. Justin Leigh Miller, Ian

Kerner and Martha Cowpy to talk about
what a relationship needs in order for no

monogamy to work. It needs pet
chickens that lay fresh eggs every morning.

Not exactly, but that would be
nice. For now, let's recap.

So this episode, episode ten,
big episode, big episode. Melissa wants

to talk to Francis. Yeah,
the dread in her face when she sees

that email. It's oof. They
externalized this conversation in the series, so

Frances actually go is over to their
house. Just terrifying. I could never

do that. No Way. In
some ways it feels like the affair is

a sign of life for Nick and
Melissa sees that Francis is having a positive

effect on him. He's happier,
and so she's willing to try and make

it work. They all have dinner
together with Bobby. It's awkward, but

there's a little humor. Their selfaware, and Melissa shares with Francis that she

also has an alcoholic father, which
kind of signals to Francis that their relationship

is no longer just their's. Yeah, no longer, here's a nick.

That's a good point. Speaking of
Frances is alcoholic father, he's still not

answering her calls and she still has
no money. Nick and Francis Start having

conversations about children. They're saying I
love us, doing sex. They go

out on a fancy dinner and Valerie
wants to publish Francis's short story in a

literary magazine, but she gets a
weird voicemail from her dad. It's kind

of scary. It turns out he's
okay, kind of, but he's also

not really okay. And meanwhile bobby
is dealing with her own family drama.

Yeah, they have, both both
of them have. Both Bobby and Frances

have family drama going on at the
same time. They go out with some

friends and they have a great conversation
about monogamy, spontaneous consent, and then

Bobby and Francis Kiss sweetly. This
episode has their first attempt at truly consensual

nonmonogamy, because everyone is finally on
the same page, Adam the open,

and so that got us thinking.
What does consensual nomonogamy look like in the

real world? Consensual nominogamy and polyamory, interest in them is on the rise.

We see this in Google searches popular
media depictions. People are increasingly interested

in understanding what it might be like
to be able to be in a sexual

and romantic relationship with more than one
person at a time. If we're going

to talk about consensual nomenogamy, we
have to bring back Doctor Justin Leah Miller.

Now, despite the fact that interest
is growing, not that many people

have actually tried consensual nominogamy in real
life. The best available data we have

suggested about one in five North Americans
have ever been in some type of sexually

open relationship and only about five percent
are currently practicing it in some form or

another. So there's a pretty big
gap between people's fantasy about this, they're

interest in it, and the actual
reality of it. So what is holding

people back from exploring these alternatives to
monogamy? Well, for starters, there's

not really a model for how to
do it. They've never seen anyone in

their own life practicing this style of
relationship and there's so much uncertainty with just

having one relationship as it is,
so when you start adding multiple relationships into

the mix, the complexity of that
is something that a lot of people just

think don't feel equipped to explore on
their own, and that's where I think

we need more relationship education that exposes
people to different models of having relationships,

of the people can choose the kind
of relationship that is right for them,

and a lack of awareness about different
kinds of relationships can lead to some big

what ifs. I was spending time
with a friend the other day while we

were working on the show. Her
name Sarah Abramson. She's an amazing photographer

and artist, and she was telling
me a story about when she was married.

We got married when I was twenty, okay, out a mutual friend's

house, and after we got married
my parents bought us our first house.

They were married for three years,
but together for longer, and there was

a lot of love there. And
when I was married to him I felt

like I had found my tribe with
his family. Like his parents are like

punk royalty, like his mom lived
with sit in Nancy in New York and

his dad was in the screamers and
his aunt was the bass player. But

black flag and like. These were
my people and I loved having them as

a family. I talked to his
mom like once a month, probably.

So what happened all those years ago
and how does it relate to our story?

Well, back in San Pedro,
where Sarah's from, there's a big

music scene and I started developing feelings
for this girl named Jessica who was the

lead singer of a couple bands there, and she was like that person who's

the center of attention every party,
super loud, Super Fun and she was

incredibly talented. It to I thought
she was the coolest person I'd ever met.

Like that's just how I felt about
her, and that was like the

general consensus among all our Pedro friends, like just because really cool, like

she's the person you go to when
you want to have fun. Yeah,

I can see how that would be
massively alluring. And when I met Alex,

I mean he wasn't that, but
he was like dirty and grungy and

punk and like as we matured and
he got like a real job computer programming

and would go to work and like
Nice clothes and, let you know,

he changed a lot and I don't
think that we changed in the same way.

Like when you're in a relationship,
especially a marriage, I think it's

really hard to grow in unison with
someone like you have to make a conscious

effort to do so and like communicate
a lot about it, which obviously we

weren't doing. Yeah, because I
think like people are going to grow,

but they're going to grow probably at
different paces. So like you're going to

go through one gross spurt and then
they're going to go through another one.

And you guys are going to be
constantly HMM. So back then, Sarah

was having these very intense feelings not
only for someone else but for another girl,

and it was like tearing me apart, like I felt so guilty and

I thought that if I could have
feelings for not only another person but a

girl, that must admit I didn't
love him as much as I thought I

did, and I like worked up
the courage to have a talk with them

and like okay. To this day
he is the best man I have ever

known and probably will ever know.
He's so smart, stupid smart, but

never makes you feel stupid, very
intuitive, like veries Zen. He's done

a fuck kind of yoga, but
he just like knew like an he sat

down next to me and he was
like you don't want to grow old with

me anymore, do you? And
I just I broke down crying and we

talked and then he moved out the
next day. Not long after she ended

up dating Jessica, but it wasn't
really what she had imagined. My relationship

with her was very toxic. My
relationship with Alex, my ex husband,

was we literally never fought ever.
But it sounds like Jessica was like a

representation of like the experimentation and exploration
you still felt like you needed to do

because you were a really young person, like two thousand one hundred and twenty

two at this point, right.
Yeah, that's a very good insight.

I would have to agree to that. Yeah, she was like party animal

crazy. We literally got each other's
names tattooed on each other after being together

for like two weeks. SMART decisions, I mean it is like it's intense,

it's like that feeling of him though
a high. Right, totally.

Yeah, new, new relationship energy. It's hard to compete with. Yeah,

as Sarah's gotten older and wiser and
see more possibilities in relationship structures,

she reflects on that experience from a
new perspective. If I had known about

open marriages and and things like that, I think we would probably still be

married, because he, I'm sure
he would have agreed to anything that I

wanted to do, because that's just
the kind of guy he is. A

good one. Yeah, and a
loyal one. I broke this man's heart

and he was not ever mad at
me or showed any animosity towards me a

single time. He even told me
that I was brave for doing what I

was doing, which like, is
almost worse. Now, more than ten

years later, he's living in Maui
with his girlfriend, and the last time

he was in town, Sarah saw
I'm over coffee and I basically was kind

of asking, like why, why
we can't be friends, like it's been

so long now, like isn't your
girlfriend over it or whatever, and he

basically said no, and he's like
do you really think we could only be

friends, and I was like no, yeah, and then when we hugged

goodbye, half joking, half completely
serious, I was like call me when

you guys were but, like I
even if they do break up every like,

why would he ever get me a
second chance? You know? Well,

that remains to be seen. That's
not a judgment that you can make,

right, and I'm not like I
really try to live my life,

not like waiting for Alex to be
single again, but there is a small

part of me that is doing that. It's funny to have your ex husband

as a what if? Yeah,
right. Sarah takes really beautiful photos and

publishes a very cool art scene called
slow toast. Will Link Her instagram in

the show notes so you can check
it out. Even though there's a big

what if in Sarah Story. There's
no knowing whether or not an open marriage

would have really worked for them.
Right, we can't really go back in

time because consensual nonmonogamy just isn't the
right choice for everybody. Patriarchy aside,

I do think that's some people just
prefer to be with one person. Great,

so they're both legitimate. Yeah,
but monogamy has somehow become the default

commitment. Should be based on desire
and choice and honesty. Okay, would

if we just put pirious side for
a second. I just don't think it's

im possible to love more than one
person. There are some who consider it

to be a more evolved relationship style, if you will, but I don't

think that it's the case that it's
inherently better or superior to monogamy. Monogamy,

consensual no monogamy can both be great. They're just both right for different

kinds of people, and I think
where we run into problems is when people

try to pursue a relationship style that
is just not right for them because they

feel pressure to be in a particular
type of relationship, something that happens from

time to time. Justin says,
is that one partner will be very interested

in exploring new things and the other
goes along with the idea even though it's

not really what they want, and
we would call this sort of coerced nonmonogamy.

And that's not a good reason to
open up your relationship and people shouldn't

be pressured to do things that they
don't want to do. But we do

know that this sometimes happens because let's
say you've been in a relationship for many

years and you have this valued,
treasured connection with this other person and you

don't want to give up that relationship, but that person also wants to have

other relationship. So sometimes people are
willing to agree to open up the relationship

despite the fact that that just is
not what they want at all. And

in those situations it often doesn't turn
out well because it just wasn't a mutually

agreed upon thing in terms of wanting
to go into it in the first place.

Ideally, Dr Lee Miller says,
a couple the size to approach opening

up their relationship from a point of
strength. So opening up the relationship because

you already have great communication patterns and
you're already on the same page. That's

when things tend to go well,
but when it's not that mutual, that's

where problems arise. Justin says in
their work they make a very clear distinction

between nonconsensual nonmonogamy, AK cheating or
someone isn't being totally upfront about who they're

being sexually romantically involved with, and
our favorite word, consensual nonmonogamy, where

everyone is on the same page and
in agreement. Says he loves you and

and I don't know, I don't
know if he still loves me, which

is the things are best between us
now things have been better. We make

this pretty clear distinction between them,
but those things can overlap. For example,

somebody who's in a polyamerous relationship can
cheat if they break their agreement that

they have with their partner, and
somebody who is cheating can morph into having

a consensually no monogamous relationship by coming
out about what it is that they're doing

and everybody gets on the same page
about it. Now, is that a

healthy model or a good model for
how to enter the world of consensual no

monogamy? Probably not right, because
it's starting with this foundation of deceit where

people didn't know what was up front, and the hall mark of consensual no

monogamy is that everybody's on the same
page and they want the same things and

there's honesty and truth, and so
I wouldn't say that that's a necessarily common

path to say the world of polyamory
or consensual no monogamy. It does happen

sometimes, but I think it would
be a very risky way to go.

So how about we take a quick
break and when we come back, open

a window into a real life relationship
that started from a point of honesty where

both partners agreed from day one that
a monogamous relationship was not what they wanted.

Welcome back. Today on the show
we're looking at what consensual nonmonogamy looks

like in real life and to clarify, there are a lot of different shapes

a relationship that is consensually non monogamous
can take. Here's Dr Justin Leigh Miller.

I use the term consensual no monogamy
as sort of the broad umbrella term

for anybody WHO's in a relationship that
is sexually and romantically open, where they

can have more than one partner at
once. POLYAMORY is one of those forms

and in Polyamory, you have multiple
sexual and or romantic partner simultaneously and there's

usually love bonds between multiple partners.
But polyamory can look incredibly diverse. I've

done some research on polyamory. We
actually surveyed over three thousand polyamorous people and

ask them about their relationships and it's
just fascinating to look at the structures that

these relationships take. But consensual nominogamy
can also include swinging, where people swap

or exchange partners temporarily. Can also
include what we call cuckolding, where it's

kind of like a threesome, where
there's a couple and then another person who

comes in and one partner is watching
their partner have sex with another person but

they're not physically involved in it.
Then there can also just be the open

relationships or monogamish relationships, where there's
a primary relationship and there's some amount of

freedom to pursue other sexual connections.
So the world of consensual nominogamy is incredibly

broad and polyamory is just one of
many types within it. So I want

to talk about this for a second. Okay, so one of those terms

is polycule, and what is a
polycule? Polycule is any type of form

of polyamory of people that have some
sort of relationship with each other. It

can be romantic and that sexual,
or sexual not romantic, or just a

group of people that some of them
are being polyamorous with each other. And

I don't understand why it's called polycule
and not polly pocket. Yeah, seems

like a really big missed opportunity.
It is, and I've been thinking about

it a lot and I've been doing
some research. I found another person who

calls it a polypocket and they are
polly. I am not. So I

feel that I can't force terms when
it's something they don't practice. I'm considering

just so I can say polly pocket. So I'm going to say polly pocket.

And what situations are you going to
say polly pocket? Probably any situation

that I can okay, good to
know. Sometimes partners agree that nonmonogamy is

ideal and they agree right up front. We both told each other that we

thought that an open relationship made sense
and somebody just leaving with one person for

the rest of their lives. She
didn't seem possible and I agreed to that.

This is Jason Ellis. I guess
I'm a professional skateboarder who does radio

and now podcasting, and maybe I
had a couple of profiles and stuff,

but I'm really just a podcast there
and a skateboarder. He and his wife

have an open marriage and he identifies
as bisexual or Pan Sexual. The terminology

with bisexuality versus Pan Sexuality is pretty
individualized and we're not going to get into

the specifics here, but let's just
say Jason has sex with all sorts.

At first it was more of a
team as it, where both of us

would either meet a go or a
guy and and play around and it was

always kind of fun and we used
to drink from this first thought, and

so that made it easier, because
it's usually pretty messy. It would the

girls not really into into her or
or vice versa, or the guys not

into me, like it was always
it was never really a perfect fit.

It was always that was okay,
but I don't really want to do that

again with that person because of this, this and this, and I'm like,

after a couple of years of just
like what do we act like?

It's like a ten percent where you
hook up and you go, yeah,

here's my number, we should do
that again, it's not even sent.

Oh my God, we made a
mistake, but they were fun stories.

But I think in the we got
it got, you know, it got

I don't know, sometimes it was
I feel there's like resentment building because if

somebody likes me or they like her
and they don't really like me, then

we're not gonna like kick them out, like it's still going to happen and

it's kind of like wow, this
is this kind of hurts a little bit.

Over the years, things morphed and
they moved into different ways to explore

the openness of their relationship. Like
I also became a lot more gay since

I was in a relationship with my
wife. She kind of showed me grinder

and all that kind of stuff,
and it end up being a more common

occurrence to go off individually to have
sexual experiences, though they weren't always happening

with the same frequency. The guys
that she hooked up with, they were

very rare and if it did happen, if they were too emotionally connected to

her. I got jealous and then
it was okay for me to sleep with

guys because we were not emotionally connecting. You know, I wasn't looking for

love, I was looking for sex, obviously, which I'm trying to get

you off as well, but it's
purely that. And then, through therapy,

I started to realize that that's not
really a great way to do things

and that I have a few childhood
problems that are making me okay with this

scenario and I should probably evolved or
stop. And then it became like if

I hook up with a guy,
I like him, he's my friend and

I trust him and we sleep with
each other as well. And then it

only recently like right, and we've
actually had like problems with it, because

all I do is get sucked off
by gay guys and she doesn't do anything,

and it's not fair. But Jason, sleeping with women was a point

of jealousy to some Gol was talking
to me and in my wife was like

yeah, you can go sleep with
her, and then she saw text messages

of me talking to her in a
nice way and annoyther and I feel like

that was the same thing that happened
to me and I didn't want to take

I wouldn't stand for I was like
that guy, hot EMOJI's no way like

check this guy. There's no harder. You can clock my wife and she

can't Emoji her and then from this, you know, because I need that,

it's going to break. Will going
to it was either I was gonna

completely stop or ruling a break up, or it was just like I hate

it. I hated my life again
because it was I knew it was breaking

my wife's hot. So, but
they didn't break up. Instead, they

did what people in healthy relationships do. They made jokes. No, well,

maybe, but that's not what I
mean. I mean they talked about

it. We've been talking a lot
lately and I'm really bad at that.

I'm reluctant to want to do that. I'm I'm a terrible communicator. Even

with therapy, I still just like
no, doesn's wrong. So she has

to like squeeze it out of me. And the agreed that requiring their sexual

expiration be devoid of intimacy or romance
may not be realistic and they needed to

try and be okay with that.
I was like, look, some of

those guys that said you hot EMOJI's
if you want to sleep with him,

and they like get all lovey dovey
and they want to take you to dinner

and Shit, you should be allowed
to do that, like, I don't,

I know. I know that it's
different, like you're not going to

meet in a hotel room and just
go and then when you're done, you

leave like and if he text you, like he's thinking about you, I'm

happy thinking about like if you're going
to have sex with somebody and you know

they really like you and they trying
to give you everything they that they have,

who am I? It's just it's
it goes both ways, but it's

a process. At the moment that
we talked to Jason, they were one

of those phases where they were still
figuring it out, feelings were getting hurt

and they were working through it together, and I can tell you that,

yes, that's what we're doing,
but I can also tell you honestly that

it hurts, like I'm not I've
already had scenarios of how they're going to

talk to each other and how they're
going to have sex. That boms me

out, like I'll do it to
myself. It hasn't even happened and I've

already done it to myself. HMM. So it sounds like you guys are

constantly in a process of like reevaluating
and and communicating. Is that? Would

you say? That's right? Yeah, because it changes. Things have changed.

We're not into the same things that
we were into. I feel like

people we've kind of FAM different needs
that can be met and I don't know

what you know. Okay, as
insecure as I am and confident, it

hurts, but I think it's kind
of healthy because, yeah, I feel

bad about it, but I think
it's good for me because I'm doing it

and if I and when I see
it, when she does it to me,

it makes it more obvious what I'm
doing and how I better watch my

fucking peas and ques when it comes
to that stuff. Now, I think

it goes without saying that Jason Story
is a great example of how a couple

in a consensually nonmanogamous relationship has to
stay in constant communication, even when it's

hard or uncomfortable, and having someone
neutral like a therapist on board is really

helpful. All kinds of complicated human
situations actually do occur in real life.

Here's Dr Martha Cowpy, and you
know, my job as a therapist is

to help people sort out what happened, why it happened and what they want

for themselves moving forward. So that's
to me the crucial question is what do

you want for yourself and are you
willing to do what's required to get from

where you are right now to wear
whatever it is that you actually want for

yourself? And of what they want? As a consensually open relationship, it's

going to involve becoming really good at
knowing what they want from sort of an

internal sense of knowing, sharing that
with a partner or partners, even if

it's hard for the partners to hear, which is basically what we heard in

decent story, and also being able
to access curiosity instead of getting reactive when

somebody else wants to say something that's
important to them that maybe it's hard for

you to hear. So all of
that requires quite a bit of getting grounded,

being kind of embodied in yourself,
able to hold and get in touch

with your own reality, but also
at the same time holding somebody else's reality

as important and valid, even though
there may be some disagreements, and then

gradually a process can unfold from that
where people can decide what's right for them.

Both awareness and communication are so important. So if monogamy isn't working for

you, I think it's important to
remember it's not the only way to have

a loving and meaningful really chip.
Sometimes we enter into a relationship with that

understanding from the onset and other times
it's something that comes up later, maybe

because of differences in sexual desires or
personalities. You know, I think these

days I'm seeing couples who are willing
to acknowledge those discrepancies. They don't want

to cheat, nor do they want
to give up on having a sex like

this is Dr Ian Karner. I've
seen a lot of couples that may be

signing up for what they hope is
going to be monogamy. Maybe they think

that they've found their person, or
they have found their person, but there's

something about the sex that isn't working. So I'm really finding that more and

more couples are willing to kind of, for lack of lack of a better

word, sort of outsource the sex
and really engage in some sort of consensual

nonmonogamy, and very often it can
be very successful. So I admire couples

who, you know, are willing
to really just look at the issues head

on and say, we don't want
to go underground with this, we don't

want to cheat, but there's really
a problem here. But let's not throw

the baby out with the bath water
and are really willing to venture into nonmonogamy

and in fact that often brings couples
much closer because that really does require communication

and intimacy and trust. So I
have a lot of respect for a lot

of people who are on their relationship
journeys and are really opting for nonmonogamy instead

of a sexless relationship or instead of
potentially cheating. I really like the phrase

outsourcing the sex, say inspect Ye's. It's a little like supply chain management.

Of where I got that word exactly. It's fantastic. But jealousy does

seem to come up a lot and
it's really good at fighting against our desire

to see the person or people we
love happy. Yeah, I mean I

think things like non monogamy or Polyam
or it can be very unpredictable and I

think we want to have a lot
of I guess the term is called compersion,

you know, when we have a
true desire for our partners to experience

happiness. But things can happen and
you know, in surprising ways. Again,

I was working with a couple and
they very consensually opened up their relationship.

But this was a heterosexual partner and
the male partner found that he wasn't

able to sexually perform and I he
was just like having a lot of unpredictability

with his sexual function and he was
the one who was sort of leading the

charge on this and meanwhile his partner
could have taken it or lead it,

we've left it and was going along
for the ride, but she was just

having this like total sexual liberation and
he was just filled with frustration and disappointment

and he did get really jealous.
He got really jealous that she was having

kind of all of these wild sexual
experiences and he wasn't. Sounds a little

familiar right? Yeah, a little
bit. That couple that he mentioned made

the decision together to open up their
marriage and it's a different path than Melissa

and nick took in conversations with friends. Yeah, obviously that that other couple

was in therapy together and I wonder
how common sex and relationship therapy is in

Ireland. We didn't actually ask any
of the Irish folks we talked to about

it. I know from my obsession
with Belfast that they're definitely that's still very

very churchy. They're, you know, very Catholic, because I assume that

people are not as open sexually as
they are in Los Angeles, for example.

Yeah, I mean I don't think
sex therapy is as popular anywhere in

the world as much as it is
in Los Angeles. I. New York,

you know, maybe Miami, maybe
Miami. I see a lot of

situations where couples have come in and
they're like in sexless relationships or one partner's

not having as much fun as they
want to be having. Rather than really

wanting to, rather than being willing
to really, you know, work on

it, they'll often just go straight
to let's, you know, open up

the relationship. And non monogamy is
something that's really in the Zeit geist right

now. So I feel like a
lot of people are sort of quickly going

to that and sometimes skipping this step
of hey, can we solve this within

our relationship, where our agreement originally
was really about monogamy. So I really

find that it works when couples can
share communicate those values early on in a

relationship where there are opportunities, you
know, sometimes a couple years later,

to update sort of you know,
where are we in the relationship and maybe,

you know, introduce the idea there, but I think nonmonogamy really doesn't

work as much when you're trying to
solve some kind of problem that exists in

the relationship and they're hoping that if
you go to nonmonogamy that somehow that will

help with the relationship issue. Like
I can't tell you how many couples I

work with where they're like, you
know, we're best friends, we love

each other's friends and families, we
go on trips together, like we want

to be in each other's lives forever, but we just don't have sex and

so we're going to try and you
know, kind of do some nonmonogamy to

satisfy sexual needs. And you know, very often those are the situations that

can lead to jealousy, those are
the situations that can lead to dissatisfaction and

distrust because for many of us it
is really hard to split sort of the

sex from the intimacy side of things
when coming up with a non monogamy agreement.

And says he likes to start slowly
and incrementally. Ideally, the couples

who can do this well have his
few you rules and as few limitations as

possible. I mean I was once
recently working with a couple in a nonmonogamy

agreement and they asked, can we
share some of our email correspondence with you,

and I was like sure, and
I printed it out and it was

like a hundred page contract, I
swear there were just like so many contingencies

for every possible situation and they haven't
even started yet. I was like,

I don't think we're starting on the
right foot here because ideally, like we

just want as much trust as possible
and as few rules as possible and we

want to like just know that we
have each other's backs and that we are,

you know, really prioritize in our
relationship and not doing things that we

know would really be, you know, outside of our partners comfort zone.

So, you know, a lot
of couples are interested in exploring nonmonogamy.

I think it's very important for each
partner to be honest about why they want

to do it and will often start
like really slowly and do so in a

way that well, maybe we could
say, well, that didn't work,

or let's try this, without feeling
like we've taken the relationship over like an

existential cliff. Well, where they
lawyers? By any chance, they should

have been. They're actually struggling artists. They might have been. They each

have a career in law. But
yeah, I guess there was, you

know, in that, in that. What is it? There's just there's

a lot of fear, there's a
lot of anxiety, there's a lot of

potential distrust that I don't think couples
that need pages and pages of rules are

necessarily going to succeed in monogamy.
You know, some of the couples that

I've seen do it best, or
just the ones who are like look,

do your thing, I don't need
to know. Sometimes I'm with two partners

and one part they both agree on
it. In one partners like, but

I really want to share, I
really want to talk because it's truly going

to be bring us closer together to
share all the other the experiences were having.

The other partners sometimes like Hey,
just do your thing, I really

don't need to know. It's great
you're doing it, I love you,

go do it, but I really
just don't really want to know. So

that's another thing to get on the
same page about how you're gonna communicate about

the experiences that you've never had any
extent to which you're going to communicate or

how deep you're going to go in
that communication. Yeah, especially when there's

no guide book to it. Guess
what, there actually is a kind of

guide book, and the person who
noticed the lack of tools was none other

than Dr Martha Kelpy. So she
wrote a book called Polyamory, a clinical

tool kit for therapists and their clients, which is directed out of d audience

and her goal was to help train
therapists to be more competent and confident working

with consensual non monogamy and also to
give couples or individuals or groups of people

who are engaged in open relationships of
any kind a little help if they aren't

able to find a good therapist or
if they need some more resources to support

their personal growth. And a lot
of people don't have access to therapy for

one reason or another. Either they
can't find a therapist it's polyamory friendly,

or they can't afford it or what
have you. So anyone anywhere can get

a copy of the book and find
some guidance. So I have a unique

viewpoint of a therapist and also a
human who knows a lot of people in

open relationships and I've seen people come
through some very tough situations and I also

do bunk a whole lot of myths
that come up commonly, even in books

that are about polyamory and favorable about
polyamory. For example, she talks about

what happens when you have a difference
of opinion with your partner, about opening

up your relationship, and how would
you begin to think through that and how

would you work with it? What
do you do with all of those emotions

that you're experiencing? How do you
handle new relationship energy? That kind of

thing. And an addition, the
book has twenty five worksheets and it so

those can be used by regular humans
who would be helped by the worksheets,

or they can be used by therapists
in their practice to help support the work

that they're doing. There's definitely hope
for the relationship between our characters and conversations

with friends, but they should probably
get a therapist or pick up a be

of Martha's book. We will link
it in the show notes, or both

read therapies. It's not a word
I think there's now it's how to show.

This show is hosted and produced by
me. Maggie bowls and me.

No, I'm Gadweiser. It's written
and edited by me, with assisted editing

by NWAM. Our supervising producer is
Ryan Tillotson, with help from Tyler Nielsen,

Frank Driscoll, Nick Bailey and the
entire Straw hut team. Theme Music

is by Maggie Glass and square fish, and big thanks to Aria a shy,

Lauren Thorpe, xavior Salas and the
Hulu team show on
Conversations With Friends & Strangers
Welcome to Conversations With Friends and Strangers! Join Maggie & Noam as they take a closer look at the complicated relationships in the Hulu series, Conversati... View More

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