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Polyamory for the Practical

The Polyamorous Misanthrope

Welcome to the The Polyamorous Misanthrope, in which myself, the Goddess of Java, or some guest columnist will rant, rave and otherwise edify on some poly subject. If you have an idea for a column or a rant on spike, contact me and we'll talk it over.

It's the Little Things

If you're poly, one of the things you sometimes deal with is doing what you can to help people feel comfortable in multiple relationships. Sometimes, one person or another feels insecure... It happens, and doesn't have to be a huge hairy deal.

One of the things that can help is the "little things". These are the, "I'm thinking about you and care about you" gestures.

What brings it to mind is my own life. I have a boyfriend who... Well, the man is an extrovert the likes of which God has never seen. He's got a lot of people in his life, and I don't just mean sexual relationships, but many, many friendships and responsibilities that take his time and energy. I am quite introverted, so am the opposite, for the most part, and I tend to channel my interests and relationships into fewer areas/people than he does. It could cause a woman to wonder, "How much do I really mean to him?"

Except for the little things.

We work near each other. This morning, as I was making coffee (hey, Superman was a mild-mannered reporter. I can be a mild-mannered secretary, right?), he shows up in my office to give me a hug and a kiss. A totally simple gesture - he didn't spend more than three minutes at my office. But, it meant a great deal.

We do things like this in our relationships all the time. The thing is to make sure that it's an individual thing. These "little things" vary from person to person. I like having doors opened for me, and chairs held for me and all the courtly little things. There are people that do not. I have a love that really enjoys it when I curl on up a cushion at his feet and rest my head on his knee when he's sitting in a chair. I have another love who would find that gesture uncomfortable. It's a matter of really getting to know your loves and what makes them feel loved.

So, why do these little gestures mean so much?

They prove you're doing something very important - paying attention to the person you love. It means that you've taken the time to learn what little things mean something and that you've taken the time to do it.

A book I highly recommend is 1001 Ways To Be Romantic, by Gregory Godek. Mr. Godek goes into detail about the individuality of making the little gestures and gives a lot of ideas. (It does seem to be a bit flowers and chocolate oriented, mind, but the part about paying attention to your love and what pleases your love is a good one).

So what sorts of things make good "little gestures"? (These are a list of random things that friends and loves like. Remember what I said about this being pretty individual. Paying attention is tantamount).

  • Saying "I love you". Hey, short and obvious!
  • Footrubs
  • Kissing a love on the back of the neck as you walk by and he's bent over a video game
  • Bringing a love a cup of coffee or tea in the morning
  • Love notes left in odd places
  • Love notes in general. Ain't email grand?
  • Little trinkets that might have individual meaning between you and a love

This isn't and shouldn't be a mechanical thing. I am loathe to give out a lot of examples, because it is individual and unique to every person. The important part is to let your loves know in small ways from time to time that you are thinking about them - letting them know you care.

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