A asks “I’ve spent all of December with my partner, but now that the new year has hit, I’m getting busy again. They are complaining that we don’t have any time booked together. I love them, but I need to focus on my work and I would like to have some time to focus on myself and I am worried that I will hurt their feelings by saying that I need time away from them.”
B asks “I have this problem with my employer: they have me scheduled to work during an event where there is a person who triggers me heavily. I don’t want to work it, but nobody else is available and I am worried that they won’t listen to me.”
C asks “I am interested in exploring kink and poly, but my partner is mired in very traditional views and I don’t think they would be open to exploring it.”
D asks “There is a person whom I have a heavy crush on, they are an amazing person and we have some heavy flirtation, but they are married and monogamous and I don’t want to mess with that dynamic.”
Does this sound like a problem you are having? These are all real problems which people asked me for help with this week and I am noticing a distinct pattern with each of these things:
1- I have a problem
2- with person X
3- I want/do not want to do Y
4- I do not feel that person X will listen if I tell them that I want this thing.
Well everyone, the first thing I am going to do is ask: have you spoken to person X about this yet?
Each of those people above had a different answer, but each boiled down to a ‘not really’.
Well, hate to break it to you guys, but the fact that you are worried about communicating this problem to this person means that the conversation has an intrinsic value to you: you may feel as though the options are ‘yes’ or ‘no’ outcomes:
Yes, you can spend time to yourself or no, you can’t.
Yes you can skip that shift or no, you must work it.
Yes, you can explore kink or no, we can only be vanilla.
Yes, you can mess with that dynamic or no, you can’t.
Well hate to burst your bubble, but the reality is that nothing ever comes down to a yes or no in these cases.
Everything is a maybe.
When you go to communicate your wants and needs with someone, you will be sitting down to a negotiation where both parties will be trying to find a good middle ground:
A: Your partner will be trying to find ways to spend more time with you, but will also need to see that you have other priorities which also need to be focused on.
B: Your employer has a responsibility to look after your mental health and if you are a good worker, they will be looking to find a good middle ground which while not perfect, will mean that both sides can walk away from the table with a workable solution.
C: Your partner may be willing or even eager to explore this side of life. They may be open to you exploring it all, so long as you keep certain aspects of your existing relationship just for you.
D: You are the exception here: your problem is not with the other person, your problem seems to be with yourself. You need to sit and have a good, hard talk with yourself about where your lines lie: where is the meeting point between your ethics and your wants? Once you have figured that out, you then also need to communicate this to the person whom you are flirting with.
In none of these examples is there a binary yes or no option. In each case, person X is going to be trying to get the things that they want as well: whether that is finding someone else to cover for your shift or whether it is the opportunity to explore things with you.
But I’m worried that they will have a negative reaction.
And that’s a risk you have to take: Your job here is not to protect their feelings, it is not to sugar coat things, censure yourself or to put your wants and needs to one side.
Your job here (and it is a job) is to communicate your needs and enter into the talk about what you want and need and what the other person wants and needs.
It is the next step where you enter into negotiating, but the initial step is to communicate.
If you’ve ever asked for a raise at work, you will know that the process takes a while, but the very first step is to talk to your manager and explain to them that you need a raise.
Be prepared to explain why you need it, why you feel you should get it, but step 1 is “I have this need.”
‘Communicate, communicate, communicate’ is a phrase which is handed out left, right and centre in the kink and poly circles. Why? Because it works. Communicate your wants, communicate your needs, communicate to find a happy middle ground.
However, in my opinion it should end with ‘and then stop.’ With some of these problems, I will admit that there is no happy middle ground. Sometimes person X refuses to budge, sometimes your employer sees you as an expendable cog in the machine, sometimes your partner is too insecure to explore things, etc etc etc.
So know your limits and respect yourself: know where your line is where you are going to stand up from the table and walk away: your first priority is for your own mental, physical and emotional health. If person X refuses to at least try to find a middle ground, they do not respect those priorities, so if it’s something you are able to do, remember that you can in fact cut the chord.
It is not always easy, it is usually a scary thing, but know that you have the right to say ‘In that case, I quit’, ‘in that case, I cannot continue this relationship’ and so on.
Ask for what you want, but be prepared to hear ‘no’, then know where your boundaries are and know when you will walk away.
Ok guys and gals, that’s all from me in this post: be foolish, happy, wild, sexy & naughty together.