Being open can be a balance game of sorts. My best experiences are always when I am in a good place emotionally and physically. I suppose that should be true of any relationship you are in, however when you are dealing with more than one person, the range of emotions is wider. I am learning to center myself and refocus on things that make me happy whenever I feel that the emotions are getting the best of me.
My early adult years involved a lot of roles where I played therapist to my friends. It slowly evolved into me becoming a punching bag to many of those near me. I found myself alone, exhausted, and drained as a result. Although I did it to myself, there are days when I find myself lamenting having to close the door to so many people who just could not understand that my sole role in their lives was not to listen to the negativity and drama that they had created. These of course were lessons that I needed to learn. Finding the strength to kindly, but firmly decline listening to the problems of my friends was not easy, and challenges me at times today, especially with family.
I find that I am often guilty of trying to predict the feelings or emotional responses that the people in my life may have, and then adjust my behaviour accordingly. It is a habit I am trying hard to break. Often I have to verbally tell myself to take a step back and remember that my feelings matter just as much as everyone else’s. It is an interesting conundrum to be in. I am nearly 30 and I still have troubles validating my own feelings. Finding the strength to say that I am having a bad moment, and then to explain that it will pass challenges the pillar of strength I attempt to embody.
I wonder if people in monogamous relationships take as much time to soul search and really discover who they are and how best to communicate. It was something I took for granted in monogamy as I have said many times. As I just assumed, I was a good communicator because I did the opposite of how I was raised (as most children do), and then found myself horribly unhappy and isolated. Now that I face myself, and a variety of people on an ongoing basis there is not opportunity to become stagnant. I constantly am being challenged and offered so many chances to really communicate with those around me. Freedom of expression is a real gift, and having a strong emotional IQ, is the only way openness could be successful.
As I said, it can be a tricky balance game. By allowing yourself to feel emotions, and react with acceptance, love and support, while at the same time acknowledging that not all feelings are OK. That your partner is not a punching bag for your emotional negativity, and finding that point where you share more positives and joys than you do the bad. And with multiple partners this is a critical point. None of your partners, or friends for that matter should be the bearer of all your emotional upsets, each one needs to experience good times, in order to give a shit long enough to stick around for the bad.