I have witnessed and experienced transitions from monogamy and to non-monogamy, such a transition, I believe, magnifies the various types of transitions we go through in life, regardless of the type of erotic lives we lead.How Do Our Transitions Start?
In our transitions, something big happens. We get fired. A death occurs. We come out. We have a vision for a new way of being. We graduate. We start or stop doing drugs. Something happens. Those who move to consensual non-monogamy, experience or envision a new way of being that goes against many things: society’s perceptions, upbringing, gender and racial “norms”…. Making transitions that go against many of the ways you once lived your life is not particular to consensual non-monogamy. The nature of transitions is to move away from what is known to something new.
The conflict between how we once perceived the world and how we now see the world as a result of some lesson is the beginning of transition. No one escapes that part of change. The conflict is not to bring you pain. The conflict is what makes you move on to a new world.Why Does the Transition from Monogamy to Consensual-Non-Monogamy Hurt or Feel Very Complicated?
All transitions involve complications. In the act of moving from reality to another, we have to envision what rules, morals, ways of being, behaviors, and thoughts are no longer appropriate. Have you ever had to adjust to a new job or boss? Have you ever “kinda” compared a past relationship to a new one? Do you remember how some of the things you did with or for your past boss were expected and appreciated; then your new boss changed a lot of the duties you use to hold? Some of the duties you are happy to get rid of while other duties you enjoyed, you did well, and you miss.
You may get a similar experience when you have a new lover. How you did oral sex was perfect. You had it down to a science. Then, when you started to perform oral sex with your new lover, he or she was like, “What the f@#K?” Our first reaction may be to go backwards. We may seek to find a new job or reconnect with the old lover. Many of us would rather have old familiarity, even it was bad for us, than go through the pain and uncertainty of change.
Consensual non-monogamy (or any change in our erotic world) is a change that will touch EVERY aspect of our being. We are confronted by demons in our change. We face past abuse, childhood hurts, unspoken fears, spiritual confusion to opening up…. We face vulnerability and exposure. There is no “correct” way of navigating transitions, so expect your lover to transition differently than you do, in a different way, with a different pace.
Creativity and Self Actualization in Consensual Non-MonogamyIn our erotic transitions (in all of our transitions), incorporating creativity is a must and greater self-actualization is a goal. Taking the time to imagine and reflect is at the heart of my assertion. In other words, I believe we use our dreams and imagination to form creative solutions to our problems tduring our transitions, and we reflect to continuously improve as human beings.
Take a moment to dream and to imagine what your life will be in a non-monogamous relationship or your new reality. What will you love about the change? What will you need to watch out for? What feeling will you have that “tell” you that you’re in the right situation? How will you have to be different to be a good member of a non-monogamous relationship? Use your imagination to answer these questions? Use your imagination to answer in unexpected ways, ways which push you and challenge you.
Reflection is the key to improving and becoming the best you can be. To successfully move form monogamy, you may want to reflect on the effects past relationships have on your present behavior. You want to reflect on how you treated your lover on occasions when your feelings clouded the discussions you made and the manner in which you spoke. You may want to reflect on moments when you should have listened more and talked less or when you should have apologized instead of been defensive. Reflect on how your body feels when you exhibit your worst behavior so that you can take your body’s clues on when it is a bad time to discuss challenging info. For example, when I am about to lose control, I can feel the tension in my chest and neck grow. The tension grows as my voice becomes angrier. Now, I try (not always successful) to stop talking when I feel the tension in my body growing because I know my body is telling me that I am not ready for the conversation or transition.
Transitions from MonogamyOur erotic transitions are transitions that are magnified because they touch our whole being as I stated earlier. Our transitions from monogamy, in my opinion, can be a metaphor for our transitions from accepting only one part of ourselves to accepting our whole being. Having sex with or caring for more than one lover is an opening up. To expose ourselves to more people is exposing ourselves to greater possible rejection. The act is also opening up ourselves to more possibile opportunities to feel passion, caring, and new ways of knowing.
Moving to consensual non-monogamy is really not that different from all the transitions that come our way. The coming of some of our transitions are out of our control. The transition to non-monogamy is a choice we make. It may be a necessary choice for some of us, but we choose to act out non-monogamy. The transition will not be successful for many people. Those of us who make successful transitions to non-monogamy will not always be on a rose-scented, well-worn path. Actually, you probably will be blazing a trail that very few people will go or want to follow. Use creativity and self-reflection to deal with the reality of the transitions you take. Relying on pure fantasy is creative, but without reflection, you most likely will be hurting yourself and those around you. In my personally designed coaching sessions, we will use creativity and reflection to enjoy and move successfully through many of your most difficult life transitions. I believe in you.
Dr. Nwachi Tafari,
Director of the Consensual Non-Monogamy Community, Inc.