The Polyamorous Misanthrope
Just for Fun
What is Polyamory?
Featuring Spice! -- The PolyFamily Web Comic
Polyamory for the Practical
Polyamory and Coping with Stress
If you're poly, you need to be better than average at coping with stress.
There. I've said it.
Yes, in some ways, poly is less stressful. (Parenting is often easier, for instance, and you tend to have more money).
However, in other ways, poly marriage is more stressful. There are more people, more needs, more wants, more chances that these needs and wants are not going to match up exactly. There is more emotional baggage from each individual past, extended families to deal with -- on and on it goes.
So, what to do? Go to monogamy? Celibacy?
Well, sure, if that's your heart's desire.
However, if your family is truly your heart's desire, as it is mine, you need to learn some stress management.
Here's some really basic stuff.
While all the standard de stressing techniques do work, do remember that they are temporary methods specifically designed to bring the heart rate down and to calm the fight or flight reflex. Once you have that in mind, it is a good idea to make sure that you're not applying fight or flight to things that don't, in fact mean your life is in danger. While bad things going wrong in your life really, really do feel bad, when the heart starts to pound, the brow furrows, the stomach knots up and the muscles tense, you're preparing to keep from being eaten by a lion or something, not deal with an irritating boss or relative who Just Won't Get It. Your body notices the power of the emotion and prepares to defend your life. It's trying to help, but it responds to the emotions, not the intellect.
Try this little exercise:
When you catch yourself getting into a fight or flight response, ask yourself, "Am I really in danger of dying here?"
(By the way, if your answer involves anything along the lines of, "Yes, because I'll wish I were dead", you really need to interrupt that train of thought. Thoughts of suicide stress you out because you really are in danger of dying. Forcing yourself to stop those trains of thoughts are a Good Thing.)
Chances are good that if you're in an argument with your boss, or your bank account is overdrawn, or you have a really bad argument with your spice, your life is not actually in danger. Yes, losing your job, bouncing checks or having someone you love walk out is very painful. Not trying to say it isn't. However, if you can interrupt the fight or flight thing (just the heart pounding intensity, NOT all emotion!), you're more likely to cope with the painful situation in a way that will reduce future pain.
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